With the lockdown proceeding, Netflix has done us all a favour by adding something - two things in fact - to their line up: After Life season 2 and Extraction.
Click here to check out the previous instalment in our Moustache Lockdown Streaming Survival Guide.
Firstly, After Life season 2...
Ricky Gervais returns as Tony Johnson, a man struggling to deal with the loss of his wife Lisa to cancer. As well as his grief, Tony must continue to face the crazy people living in his home town of Tambury, mostly through his work as a local journalist - some of whom are his colleagues. Thank god he's still got his dog Brandy to keep him company!
Season 2 pretty much picks up where things left off. Tony is doing a little better, he's still got this massive hole in his life, but at least he's not taking it out on those around him. Gervais continues to deliver what is easily the best performance of his career. He is able to be this very sad, depressed person, and yet is able to make us laugh uncontrollably - without mocking Tony or what he's going through. That's this show in a nutshell really; one minute you're laughing your arse off, and then you're wiping away tears the next. A perfect example of this comes in the form of the videos of Lisa - played by the wonderful Kerry Godliman - including the one in which she says goodbye.
Season 2 does suffer from a slight disadvantage however: Tony isn't quite the arsehole he once was. In season 1 Tony was pissed off with the whole world, he channelled his grief through anger, most famously in the first episode in which the boy at his nephew's school called him a "paedo" - undoubtedly one of the show's funniest moments. Tony being an arsehole gave the show its edge, and it was there right from the beginning. Without that, the show - which is over far too quickly anyway - takes a while to find direction.
The old saying goes: "there's nout so queer as folk", well that's definitely true of the people of Tambury, with many of them trying to get into the local paper for the daftest of reasons. Lets face it, After Life wouldn't be a Ricky Gervais project if it wasn't fucking weird at times. Tambury itself may not have changed much, but most of Tony's friends and colleagues are at least trying to move on in their lives, and it's as much fun catching up with them as it is Tony. The problem is Tony doesn't want to move on, he doesn't want to let go of what he has lost, and this creates almost a conflict between him and those around him - especially his father's care nurse, Emma (Ashley Jensen). It's in these moments that the cast really shine, their performances are so compelling, and at times heart-wrenching.
After Life season 2 is a welcome return to the world of one of Ricky Gervais most interesting characters. It may not be quite as good as season 1, but it's still a powerful and delightfully funny look at life, loss and grief... and with only six half-hour episodes, it's over way too soon.
Which brings us to Extraction...
The son of an Indian drug lord has been kidnapped by a Bangladeshi rival, who is holding him for ransom. Said drug lord has hired a group of mercenaries to handle the exchange and get his boy back. But when something goes wrong with the extraction, Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself alone in a hostile city, on the run from gangsters and corrupt cops. It's now a race against time to get the boy out of the city before an army of killers catches up with them.
Now "mercenary fights his way through the streets, whilst trying to rescue a drug lord's son" might not sound like much of a plot, but that is plenty in this case. Extraction is a blood and guts action movie, akin to the likes of John Wick (albeit without the style), it doesn't need a complicated plot. What you see is what you get, and the movie makes no apologies for that. It's a gritty underdog story, one in which said underdog takes on what can only be described as a suicide mission. Our hero even manages to take out an adversary with his namesake garden tool.
That said, it does help that stuntman turned director Sam Hargrave has put together a fantastic cast, all of whom are able to bring real depth to some interesting characters - especially Hemsworth as the formidable yet broken Rake, Rudhraksh Jaiswal as Ovi, the boy Rake has been hired to rescue, and Randeep Hooda as Saju, a man working for Ovi's father. What makes the movie interesting is the real reason why Rake takes on this job. He may be hard as nails, a highly trained combat veteran, but he also has his weaknesses, something he struggles with. The question is, will he find what he's looking for on this mission?
Extraction is the perfect movie for a stuntman to cut his teeth as a director. As directorial debuts go, this is a good one. The movie has a "rough around the edges" feel to it, which serves the gritty nature of the story. It is an unstoppable, adrenaline-fuelled, rollercoaster ride that only lets up for the occasional, brief moment. The action is well choreographed, and shot using some interesting camera angles - similar at times to '1917' - in order to immerse the audience in the insanity. An early chase sequence highlights this, we're given a 360 degree view (including multiple perspectives) as the action flows from a destruction derby style car chase into a hide and seek foot pursuit through the city streets and buildings. It is relentless, at times feeling like the camera is struggling to keep up.
If you're looking for an unrelenting, uber-violent action movie, Extraction would be a good choice. You've seen what Chris Hemsworth can do with a hammer and/or an axe, now check out what he can do with a rake... and lots of guns.
What did you think of After Life 2 and Extraction? Leave a comment below or find us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also email us at email@example.com.