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83, The Hand of God and other titles to watch this weekend

From the small-town noir of Aranyak to the maximalism of 83, here are some weekend viewing recommendations

Filippo Scotti and (right) Marlon Joubert in 'The Hand of God'
Filippo Scotti and (right) Marlon Joubert in 'The Hand of God'

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Aranyak (Netflix)

Raveena Tandon returns in neo-noir series Aranyak. “Tandon plays a gruff, no-nonsense SHO of a small Himachal Pradesh town,” we wrote. “She’s a slaphappy police officer who knows the lay of the land and refuses to let sleeping cases lie, and a large part of the atmospheric, intricately plotted show’s appeal can be attributed to Tandon’s simmering screen-presence as Kasturi Dogra, who is accused by her husband of foolishly trying to be everything at once: ‘super-cop/masterchef/Sunny Leone’. She may be none of those things. What Dogra definitely is, however, is a mature leading lady, of a kind we don’t get to see in mainstream Hindi cinema.”

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83 (in theatres)

Kabir Khan's film doesn't hold back, but, as we wrote, it gets the on-field action right. “This is doubly impressive because the cricket in this film doesn’t just have to look authentic, it has to be specifically right, from Viv Richards' aggressive gum-chewing down to the way certain catches were taken and runouts effected. There is, of course, some creative cutting and slo-mo to help the actors along. But it’s immensely satisfying to see moments like the magical Balwinder Singh Sandhu inswinger to dismiss Gordon Greenridge in the finals—foreshadowed by a ball that beats Sunil Gavaskar in the nets—executed with precision (Khan is so pleased he cuts to a still photograph of the actual dismissal).” 

Light The Night (Netflix)

A woman's body is discovered in the woods. The Taiwanese series, set in the 1980s, flashes back to three months before the incident. Sue (Cheryl Yang) and Rose (Ruby Lin) are close friends who run a Japanese-style nightclub in Taipei's redlight district, catering to rich men. There is much jealousy and rivalry among the hostesses—from a college student to a former sex worker. Rose is dumped by her screenwriter boyfriend Jiang Han (Rhydian Vaughan; he looks like Tom Cruise), who then starts a relationship with Sue. More melodrama follows. But you will have to wait for season 2 for the murder mystery to be solved. —Nipa Charagi

The Hand of God (Netflix)

A luminous coming-of-age film from Paolo Sorrentino. We wrote: “This is the first time Sorrentino is working from autobiographical material—he grew up in Naples, was Maradona-crazy—and the difference is subtle but palpable. His work in film and TV has been dazzling, but has tended to keep the viewer at a remove. This time, you can feel him lean in.” 

Anonymously Yours (Netflix)

Alex (Ralf Morales) is given the wrong phone number at a party by a girl and he accidentally sends a text message to Vale (Annie Cabello). The two start a digital friendship, with the caveat that they will remain anonymous, not call each other or exchange pictures. In real life, they are high school classmates, who dislike each other. It’s all very predictable and cliched. But then it’s the end of the year, and you can be forgiven for watching this Mexican romcom. —NC

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