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A thriller about an American reporter on the Tokyo crime beat, Sissy Spacek and JK Simmons in an intriguing sci-fi … plus Lindsay Lohan in your new guilty pleasure, Lovestruck High
Pick of the week
This atmospheric, noir-ish thriller is loosely based on the real life of American journalist Jake Adelstein (Ansel Elgort) who worked the Tokyo crime beat in the 90s. We begin with Adelstein facing down a roomful of extremely threatening criminals, then rewind a couple of years to learn his origin story. He is the first foreigner on the paper and instantly gains the nickname “Mossad” as it’s assumed he’s a Jewish spy. His ambition leads him into conflict but he’s charismatic and tenacious. Michael Mann’s direction of the pilot does a fine job of communicating both Adelstein’s fish-out-of-water status and the pressure-cooker intensity of his environment. Immersive.
StarzPlay, from Sunday 15 May
Now & Then
Lots of people look for an excuse to wriggle out of high school reunions. For the group of frenemies in this pacy, slightly overheated, bilingual thriller, the stakes are higher than usual. “Attend, or I’ll tell the police what happened on graduation night”, says an anonymous text message. Set in Miami, it centres on events at a beach after graduation. The group – high on life, alcohol and ecstacy – decide on some late-night fun. What transpires will haunt them – but will they pay a price two decades on? Oscar-nominated Roma star Marina de Tavira and Rosie Perez are among the handsome ensemble cast.
Apple TV+, from Friday 20 May
The Future Diary
An odd and surprisingly effective dating show, The Future Diary is unscripted unreality but still attempts – and somehow succeeds – in establishing an affecting real-life narrative. The diary of the title is the pre-written story of Nakasone and Wakamatsu’s relationship, with cues to follow and outcomes already determined. Against all the odds, it sort of works – the emotion tends to override the formatting. In season two, a second male suitor is introduced and a love triangle develops. Who will Nakasone choose? And what does choice even mean in this context?
Netflix, from Tuesday 17 May
Imagine recreating the social and romantic dynamics of high school but in adulthood, with money at stake. Sounds positively nightmarish, right? Still, this competitive dating show aims to do exactly that, bringing together 15 UK contestants to play American teen drama archetypes in an impenetrable fog of pheromones and performative melodrama. Perhaps inevitably, Mean Girls star Lindsay Lohan narrates a show that has the potential to be the guiltiest of pleasures as the battle for Prom royalty commences.
Amazon Prime Video, from Wednesday 18 May
The Photographer: Murder in Pinamar
Some people really don’t want their photograph taken. Argentinian business magnate Alfredo Yabrán – whose various enterprises operated under the protective gaze of the country’s 1990s president, Carlos Menem – was one of these. So when news photographer José Luis Cabezas snapped the elusive tycoon on a beach in Argentina’s upmarket Pinamar coastal resort and dragged Yabrán into the light, he was setting in motion a deadly chain of events. Netflix’s latest fascinating true-crime offering is a story of how pulling a single thread can unravel a whole garment.
Netflix, from Thursday 19 May
Love, Death & Robots
The magnificently unpredictable fantasy animation anthology produced by Deadpool director Tim Miller returns for a third season – and perhaps the biggest compliment we can give it is to say that it’s still hard to know what to expect. After all, previous seasons have veered between manga, stop-motion, photorealism and much more besides. Up to now there’s been little sense of narrative continuity, but this time we are promised the return of at least one familiar story – the trio of post-apocalyptic robots. Tantalising. PH
Netflix, from Friday 21 May
Sissy Spacek and JK Simmons star in this intriguing drama about Irene and Franklin York, a couple who have discovered that a chamber in their yard leads to a deserted planet. It’s a secret they’ve guarded for years, but an enigmatic, anonymous man (Chai Hansen) arrives in their lives threatening disruption. Cleverly, what looks at first to be a slightly opaque sci-fi becomes much more than that – a meditation on love, loss and the way answers to life’s big questions aren’t always found in obvious places.
Amazon Prime Video, from Friday 21 May