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Switched on – Ryan O’Callaghan’s weekend streaming guide

Streaming Guide Feb 10

PRIME VIDEO

Prime Video released its new espionage comedy-drama Mr & Mrs Smith last Friday. The series, broadly inspired by the film of the same name introduces us to ‘John’ – played by series co-creator Donald Glover (Community, Atlanta and otherwise known for his music career as Childish Gambino) – and ‘Jane’ – portrayed by Maya Erskine (Man Seeking Woman, PEN15, Obi-Wan Kenobi) – two dropout agents who have no other options and agree to work for a mysterious digital figure they only know as ‘hihi’.

The two are set up with new identities, married to one another and sent on missions that not even they know the full extent of.

Mr & Mrs Smith isn’t a show afraid to take things slowly. It spends its first episode introducing the characters, their broad personalities and their initial discomfort around one another, while placing them in a mission they know little about.

There’s a tension to the missions in Mr & Mrs Smith in part because their goal is never clear. Erskine plays Jane as aloof, she’s quick to judge and fairly guarded. Glover’s John is seemingly more comfortable in his skin, though he is shown to be covering for his own flaws in some ways. There’s an interesting chemistry between the two that directs the show’s focus.

Mr & Mrs Smith is also well-shot, utilising some fascinating locations, some impressive set design, an interesting supporting cast and costuming to sell itself as a serious espionage series. Some scenes feel as if they compete with some of the better Bond entries. Mr & Mrs Smith is well worth your time.

BINGE

Monday brought new episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm to Binge. Larry David’s long running HBO series returns for what is reportedly its final season.

For those unfamiliar, Larry David is a writer and comedian most famous for co-creating Seinfeld. After producing an hour long special in 1999, Larry David launched Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2000. The series has David playing himself, a writer, comedian and producer who made a fortune off of Seinfeld and navigates through a series of encounters with Hollywood’s B-list, different networks and projects. The show has placed David in the Broadway show The Producers – in which Mel Brooks tries to ruin the show – and using a Seinfeld reunion to try and win back his ex-wife.

Season 12, surprisingly for this show, picks up on several plot points left at the end of Season 11. Larry David’s latest show Young Larry has proven a big success and launched the career of its lead actress Maria Sofia Estrada – Keyla Monterroso Mejia (Abbott Elementary, The Estate, Freeridge) – who he was forced to hire last season due to being indirectly responsible for her uncle’s death.

Larry is also still in a relationship with City Councillor Irma Kostroski – Tracey Ullman (The Tracey Ullman Show, Howards End, Death to 2020) – a woman he only started dating to repeal an ordinance he disagreed with.

Curb Your Enthusiasm has consistently retained its worldview over the years. It’s a show about spiralling misunderstandings and social conventions. In the first episode of Season 12 alone Larry manages to offend a hotel cleaner, a South African businessman who paid him for a personal appearance, and get himself arrested. With another nine episodes remaining in the season, it seems even after all these years Larry David is still finding new lows for his character.

DISNEY+

Wednesday also brought The Marvels to streaming. A sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel, The Marvels returns us to Carol Danvers as she continues her mission of aiding the Skrulls find a new home. When the villainous Kree uncover one of the ‘Quantum Bands’ they bond Carol to two other superheroes – Monica Rambeau and Ms Marvel. The three become entangled and begin switching places when they use their abilities.

With the Kree targeting places important to Carol and leaving carnage and destruction in their wake the three heroes are racing against the clock to stop the villains from destroying multiple planets.

The Marvels is a charming superhero movie. It moves at a quick pace, constantly changing the scenery and finding clever uses of its characters’ powers and entanglement, constantly shifting the action and causing problems for the heroes. Brie Larson (Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, Kong: Skull Island, Lessons in Chemistry) returns to her role as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, and she retains much of her stoic character. She’s put in the position of restoring her friendship with Monica Rambeau – Teyonah Parris (WandaVision, If Beale Street Could Talk, They Cloned Tyrone) – and trying to look after a teenager who idolises her in Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel – Iman Vellani (Ms Marvel) – while grappling with the mistakes of her past.

Zawe Ashton (Greta, Fresh Meat, Velvet Buzzsaw), Zenobia Shroff (The Big Sick, Soul, Madam Secretary) and Samuel L. Jackson (Unicorn Store, Shaft, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey) also star.

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