This week we’re keeping busy with the new season of “Westworld” and a free mobile game that’s a must if you have a Netflix account.
The new season of ‘Westworld’ does what the show does best
If you don’t have a love-hate relationship with “Westworld,” then maybe we’re watching different shows. After a near-perfect first season that nailed a modern and savvy take on artificial intelligence, the show has morphed many times over, changing much of its setting, cast and themes in the process. What was once a slippery and philosophical exploration of the nature of human consciousness is now very much a big-budget action thriller about the fate of humankind under threat from robot overlords. I can’t say I like where “Westworld” has gone, but the first two episodes of season four, now available on HBO Max, do display what the show still does best: slick production design, believable futuristic aesthetics and an almost obsessive commitment to screwing with our heads.
‘Last Night in Soho’ will keep you guessing
Edgar Wright’s first narrative movie since the 2017 hit “Baby Driver” proved to be a major departure from his standard satirical and pop culture-loving approach to filmmaking. In place of comedy, Wright deploys the psychological thriller and horror genres to tell the tale of an aspiring modern fashion designer (Thomasin McKenzie) who moves to London to pursue her dream. At night, the character, Ellie, transports herself to the 1960s, where she embodies an aspiring singer played by Anya Taylor-Joy. The film has some clever twists, great cinematography and sharp writing that helps it effortlessly transition genres. “Last Night in Soho” debuted last year, but it’s on HBO Max as of this month.
Inside the culture shift at Netflix
Netflix’s problems run deeper than its recent growth slowdown. In a new feature published in partnership by New York Magazine and The Verge, reporter Zoë Schiffer details how the streaming giant’s corporate culture has changed dramatically since its early tech-first days, when it favored open feedback from employees across the company. Now that Netflix has grown into a Hollywood juggernaut, executives have reportedly become less transparent and partial to top-down control over what shows and movies it streams, despite growing concern from marginalized employees over the airing of transphobic content.
Give cute and clever Poinpy a try
The adorable Poinpy is a peculiar mobile puzzle game. It’s from indie designer Ojiro Fumoto, known best for his 2015 puzzle shooter Downwell, and publisher Devolver Digital, which has its hand in a vast majority of the biggest indie success stories of the last decade. But it’s also a Netflix game, meaning it’s free to play for subscribers on Android and iOS. The game is nice and straightforward, like many of the post-Angry Birds mobile hits of the early 2010s: Pull your finger down, and send the titular Poinpy flying upward. Yet the simplicity hides a surprising level of depth and some truly clever puzzle design, in addition to fantastic art and music. Definitely give Poinpy a try if you’ve got a Netflix account.
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