Shining Girls (Apple TV+)
Kirby Mazrachi is an archivist and researcher at the Chicago Sun-Times. She wanted to be a reporter, but an assault by a man a few years ago left her physically and mentally shaken—so much so that sometimes the nature of her reality changes. In the present day, Mazrachi, played with trademark vulnerability and strength by the incredible Elizabeth Moss, realises while researching a story for reporter Dan Velasquez (Wagner Moura) that the man who attacked her is still out there, stalking and killing women, and the two team up to hunt him down. So far, so standard serial killer territory? Well, there's a twist in this narrative, hinted at early on so that the viewer starts guessing it and waits for the protagonists to put it together, adding a superb layer of additional suspense. The other thing that makes Shining Girls stand out in a cluttered genre is its angrily feminist stance—this killer wants to take the shine out of the women he attacks, and it feels like a metaphor for all the people in this world who want to control and diminish women because they shine too brightly, morally and emotionally if not physically.—Shrabonti Bagchi
The beloved cooking show is back for another season. We wrote: “Loyalists miss the original judges, Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, who hosted the series till 2019. They had distinctive personalities and roles, while their affable bickering made the series feel like the Top Gear of food. Current hosts Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and (returning contestant) Andy Allen are rarely insightful, or clever. At best, they seem nice. Their first season (titled Back To Win) featured former contestants—a smart move to ease the hosting transition—but now here we are again, with cooks we already like asked to do the heavy lifting once more.”
Hold Your Breath: The Ice Dive (Netflix)
It's March 2021. You see eight equidistant triangles cut into the thick frozen surface of Lake Ollori in north Finland. These are escape routes for Finnish free diver Johanna Nordblad, who is attempting a world record of swimming 103m underwater on a single breath. She gets into the first hole, wearing just a wetsuit and goggles. It's like time is standing still as she moves horizontally underwater, almost zen-like. In free diving, the worst mistakes are often mental, she says in the documentary. If she panics, her body will too. In worst case scenario, she can suffer a cardiac arrest. When she pops her head out from the last hole, it's like you were holding your own breath.—Nipa Charagi
Ahed's Knee (MUBI)
A lacerating black comedy by Israeli director Nadav Lapid. Y (Avshalom Pollak), an Israeli filmmaker, is at a desert outpost at a screening of one of his films. Lapid uses this as the starting point for a series of dizzying attacks on his nation's politics and culture.
An uneven new anthology series inspired by the New York Times column, with the best short a comic story of a Indian Chinese mother and son. We wrote: “Vishal Bhardwaj draws a lovely sardonic performance from Yeo Yann Yann, whom some might know from the Singaporean films Ilo Ilo and Wet Season. Ming resists Sui's emotional blackmail, but we can also see he’s unable to disappoint her (Megha’s fridge is overflowing with Sui’s lunch boxes for her son), and realise that eventually she’ll have to come around herself. Tassaduq Hussain makes masterful use of cramped spaces. The cultural exchange in the languages—an Indian Chinese woman speaking Hindi, a Punjabi man speaking Cantonese—is very Bhardwaj and also very Mumbai.”