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West Side Story, The Last Duel and other titles to watch this weekend

From Steven Spielberg's first musical to a stylish Lebanese series, here are some weekend viewing recommendations  

Matt Damon in ‘The Last Duel’. Photo via AP
Matt Damon in ‘The Last Duel’. Photo via AP

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Till Death (Netflix)

Sahar (Maguy Bou Ghosn), Reem (Daniella Rahme) and Omar (Bassem Moughnieh) have grown up rough on the streets of Beirut. They are a team now, targetting rich men. One woman marries the guy, the other traps him into having an affair. Divorce follows and the wife walks away with money. Things take a turn with Reem falling in love with Hadi (Mohammed Al Ahmad, gorgeous in turtlenecks) and wanting to lead a normal life. But their past is always catching up with them. This Lebanese series is also a comment on the economic and financial meltdown the country is in, with three quarters of the population said to be living in poverty. The first season at 30 episodes is long—it flags a bit in the middle but ends on a tantalising note. Also watch the leading ladies going hell for leather in bodycon dresses, pants and boots.—Nipa Charagi

Also read: How the pandemic made an artist sensitive to emptiness

The Last Duel (Hotstar)

A Rashomon-like film from the tireless Ridley Scott. The film stars Matt Damon as Sir Jean de Carrouges and Adam Driver as Jacques Le Gris, knights in 14th century France. When Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), the wife of Sir Jean, accuses Jacques of rape, the scandal builds until it climaxes with a duel between the two men. Also starring Ben Affleck as a roguish count. 

Archer (Netflix)

The 12th season of the animated spy spoof is streaming on Netflix. As we wrote in our review, the show’s trump card is Mallory Archer, the central character’s mother, voiced by Jessica Walter. “More than just a take on M, the cipher-like boss of the 007 world, Mallory is a scheming, sexually voracious, profoundly self-obsessed mercenary who — like Lucille Bluth — always needs a drink. Also like Lucille, she is a world heavyweight champion in delivering a withering line, doing so with such tossed-off contempt she could make Logan Roy flinch. Perpetually — and gloriously — disdainful to the world around her, Mallory always seems a whim away from reigniting a Cold War skirmish or starting up an affair with Burt Reynolds.”

West Side Story (in theatres)

Steven Spielberg’s remake of the 1961 film has garnered strong early reviews. The director went out of his way to populate his cast and crew with Latinx talent. The passing of lyricist Stephen Sondheim will add a touch of sadness, but otherwise this film should gladden the hearts of all those who have been insisting for years that Spielberg should direct a musical. 

Cursed in Love (Netflix)

This series will leave you marvelling at the Japanese traditional confectionery called wagashi: yokan, sakura, rakugan, warabimochi, monaka, and more. Elevated to an art form, these bite-sized sweets are like edible pieces of poetry, reflecting the seasons and culture. The other highlight is the range of kimonos worn by the cast. The story revolves around Kogetsaun, a traditional confectionery shop of great repute. Nao (Minami Hamabe) comes to work here to find out who framed her mother for the murder of the wagashi master several years ago. She is even ready to marry the heir Tsubaki (Ryusei Yokohama) for this purpose.—NC

Also read: A fine balance between the delicate and the disturbing

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