Recomendo
A compendium of Recomendo

Media

Watchable

 

Silicon Valley

A series I am binging on is Silicon Valley. I know all these people and every detail of their lives and situations is pitch perfect right on. The producers get the tiniest details exactly right, from the technology to the mannerisms, as well as their bigger narrative. I haven’t laughed so much is ages. At the same time, it’s a remarkably fantastic advanced class in what technology companies are *really* like; whether you want to work in one, or start one: watch this series. — KK

Tony Robbins documentary

My preconception of the mega-speaker Tony Robbins was shattered by a Netflix documentary on him. For decades I had the image Robbins as an over-the-top motivational speaker, a fast-talking get-rich salesman, a new-age be-yourself booster. But he is more of a fast-talking therapist or shrink. I really enjoyed the streaming doc I Am Not Your Guru and learned some things, although I still feel no need to attend his seminars. — KK

The Mask You Live In

The Mask You Live In is a heartbreaking glimpse into how the media and ideals of masculinity are affecting young boys in America. The most poignant part of the documentary for me were the interviews with San Quentin’s Juvenile Lifers. They shared their experiences, and regret, about how being unable to articulate and share emotions as a child contributed to their rage and subsequent crimes. Available for streaming on Netflix.  — CD

Zero Days

I am not worried about much, but I do worry about cyber war. There is no consensus on what is acceptable in cyber warfare and all countries, including the US, are deploying cyber attacks. The best documentary to inform this worry is Zero Days, available as a DVD, or on demand on Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, etc. Shows what cyber war is. Not sci-fi, but what is already here yesterday. With more to come! — KK

Arrival

I really loved the science fiction movie Arrival. It is one of those very rare movies that is better than the short story it is based on. In the movie they make the science clearer, and at its heart, despite the science, it’s a sentimental drama. I’m not giving much away to tell you that the central notion of the film is that language rewires your brain to think differently, and that if aliens could give you a language that was structured without linear time, you could predict the future. Enjoy! — KK

Profound comedy

I’ve been laughing in awe while watching the new sitcom series, The Good Place. It’s funny, unconventional, unpredictable, original, and deeply philosophical. What’s the point of being good? Wouldn’t heaven be boring? What’s the best answer to the “trolley problem”? Yes, existential humor! It runs on NBC, but the first season is on Netflix. — KK

Stranger Things

Some thrilling summer entertainment I’m really enjoying is the sci-fi fantasy series Stranger Things on Netflix. Think: Lost + Goonies + ET + Super 8. You get big heaping servings of mystery, goofy kids, and scary fun. Basically, it’s JJ Abrams + Spielberg. We restrained ourselves and took a whole week to watch the first season. — KK

Jungle Book

I watched the new movie The Jungle Book all the way through without realizing that EVERYTHING in it, except the little boy, was a computer fabrication — a virtuality way beyond Avatar. Incredible. Hundreds of wild animals, hundred of species of plants, the rivers and jungles, were all computer generated and the whole movie “filmed” on a blue-screen stage in LA. It’s a good movie, but even better evidence of where virtual production — and all films — are headed. You can catch it now on Amazon. — KK  

White Rabbit Project

The Second Unit from the Mythbusters now have a show of their own. The trio of Tory, Grant and Kari re-create memes to see what truth (if any) might be in them. Their show, called White Rabbit Project, perhaps should have been called Memebuster. Shown as a Netflix original, it is heavy on high-production recreations of inventions and achievements, which they then rank for importance. Not as scientifically heavy as Mythbusters, I still learned a lot. — KK

Lion

I was really bummed Lion didn’t win any Oscars, because it’s the best film I’ve seen in the last year. Half of the movie is shot through the perspective of a little boy lost in India — it’s heartbreaking and Sunny Panwar is so captivating. If you haven’t seen it yet, it might still be showing in a theatre nearby. Or just wait until its rentable on Amazon or Netflix. Warning: You will cry. — CD 

World building

For science-fiction buffs, I highly recommend the new Blade Runner sequel. It is less a movie and more of an experience. It feels like an immersion into virtual reality without 3D. The unmusical sound track, slow-pace editing (it runs almost 3 hours!), breathtaking visual details, all deliver a stunning alternative world, with even more persuasion than its famous prequel. The plot is merely a vehicle for the main character: this totally felt world. Worth seeing on a big screen with full-scale sound. — KK

French supernatural series

Les Revenants (The Returned) is a French supernatural television series (with English subtitles) that my wife and I are enjoying. The first episode opens with a terrible school bus accident in the alps that leaves 38 children dead. Four years later, some of the children return home, un-aged and unharmed. Spooky and fun. — MF 

Black Mirror

Netflix just released the trailer for the new season of Black Mirror, which comes out Oct. 21. The show is dark. Every episode is a mini-adrenaline rush. It’s become my Twilight Zone fix, since I’ve exhausted all those episodes. You can watch the last two seasons (7 episodes) now. — CD

Glitch

In a sleepy Australian town, a group of long dead people come to life and dig themselves out of their graves. Unlike traditional zombies, they are intact, both mentally and physically. They are as confused as the good natured sheriff who becomes their protector against people who wish them harm. Can wait for season two of Glitch, this intriguing Netflix original series. — MF

The Expanse

The best science fiction series now going is The Expanse. It’s set in a plausible 200-year ahead horizon, a period where Earth, Mars, and asteroid Belters are in conflict. The everyday details of life in 2200 are well defined and worn convincingly; the characters nuanced and realistic, with no glaring villains. The science is sound, the production values high, and the plot is a detective thriller. The first season of 10 episodes is free on Amazon prime. The second season begins on Syfy channel any day now. — KK 

Great movies for families

75 Classic Movies Teens Should See has a terrific selection of movies for family movie night. My daughter marveled at the young hackers in War Games, and I enjoyed watching it for the third or fourth time. — MF

Swedish funny

Deep in the basement of Netflix is a very funny Swedish movie called “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.” Subtitled in English, I found the humor translated well into American. It’s sort of a Swedish version of Forrest Gump meets Mr. Bean. This big hit in Sweden was playing on Netflix streaming but now is on Netflix DVD only. However, last year they made a sequel that is almost as good, “The 101-Year-Old Man Who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared,” and this one is currently streaming on Netflix. — KK

MediaClaudia Dawson