What's on: streaming shows and movies to watch from May 22 to 28

Hannah Gadsby's new stand-up comedy special for Netflix streams from May 26.

Hannah Gadsby's new stand-up comedy special for Netflix streams from May 26.


Netflix (from May 26)

Australian Hannah Gadsby's compelling, genre-bending stand-up comedy show Nanette earned her a 2019 Emmy Award for variety special writing. She's named her new TV special - her "difficult second album" - after one of her dogs. Recorded in Los Angeles, it will take viewers "from the dog park to the High Renaissance and back into an unnamed box." Rated M.


Amazon Prime 

From The Office and Parks and Recreation creator Greg Daniels, this comedy is about a person "uploaded" into a digital heaven who finds that his problems only multiply once there. It looks, if you squint, a bit like other recent shows in which protagonists are dead and ambivalent about it. It might be The Good Place, but less philosophical; or Forever, but less in control of its tone; or the Black Mirror episode "San Junipero", but, unfortunately, just not that good.

Upload uses a setting - an afterlife where pleasures come at a cost - we know can bear fruit and generate intrigue. But the only thing on the show's mind seems to be keeping its story going.

The most meaningful ambiguities come in the form of mystery around the story of Nathan (Robbie Amell), a fellow who seems to have been murdered for reasons that are obscure but not exactly compelling. Nathan, amiably blank, seems to have no overarching opinion about the situation in which he finds himself other than that it's unusual; Nora, his "angel," or designated customer-service representative (played by Andy Allo) seems to be falling for him, but it's unclear what, precisely, she's seeing. Rated M

First Man

Netflix (from May 23)

While we all know the 1969 Apollo 11 mission was successful, this 2019 film focuses on astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon. Ryan Gosling - an actor who can occasionally seem a little narcissistic on screen - gives a subtle, internalised performance as a family man who copes well under pressure. The film balances the spectacular and the intimate effectively. Rated M.

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich

Netflix (from May 26) 

This docuseries exposes the money, power and secrets behind the international sex trafficking ring that led to Jeffrey Epstein's 2019 arrest and eventual death in prison.

The four-part series features interviews with his victims, detailing their experiences on his private island - also known as "pedophile island" - and at his Palm Beach, Florida, residence. The trailer alone features nine women who have come forward to accuse Epstein of sexual abuse. It promises an in-depth look at the 2008 case in which Epstein avoided a life sentence by procuring a secret plea deal. Although federal officials identified 36 underage girls who Epstein had sexually abused and solicited for prostitution, he only served 13 months of jail time. In July 2019, Epstein was arrested once again on charges of sex trafficking of minors, but died in jail in August. His death was ruled a suicide. Rated MA.

High Life

Stan (from May 28)

Time Magazine called it "a chilly, ruminative film, brilliant if not exactly likable. But Robert Pattinson, the movie's thumping heart, is superb". He's the survivor of a mission to the outer reaches of the solar system. His ship's crew - death-row inmates - has vanished. As the mystery of what happened is revealed, he must protect his young daughter as they hurtle toward the oblivion of a black hole.

The House With a Clock in its Walls


Horror director Eli Roth (Cabin Fever) aims for more of a family audience with this OK 2018 comedy-fantasy film about an orphan sent to live with his uncle, who turns out to be a warlock. Based on the book by John Bellairs. Rated PG.


This story Hannah's 'difficult second album' first appeared on The Canberra Times.