Film & TV

What to Watch on Streaming: August 2019

Hannah Penwright on Kingsman: The Secret Service (Netflix)
Now that we’re well into the summer break, it might be hitting you that you’ve reached the unthinkable- you’ve run out of things to watch on Netflix. But all is not lost. Throughout August, Netflix is adding loads of new shows and films for you to watch, including Kingsman: The Secret Service on the 24th. Starring famous faces such as Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson, Kingsman is one of those films that no matter how many times you watch it, it never gets boring. The well-balanced mix of action, thriller, comedy and unexpected twists in the storyline keep it captivating throughout. Taron Egerton stars as Eggsy, a street kid who is picked to compete to become part of Kingsman, a secret spy organisation, just as the world comes under threat. His character comes across as charming and funny and he plays the parts of both a London ‘yob’ and secret agent in training brilliantly. Egerton truly deserves the fame he’s found after Kingsman. The film is filled with gripping scenes, but my favourite has got to be the ending- a little gory but entertaining to watch too (no spoilers here though, don’t worry). So, next time you’re endlessly scrolling through Netflix, have a look for Kingsman: The Secret Service. You won’t be disappointed.

Adam Gage on Psycho (Netflix)
By far the best film coming to Netflix in August is Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal horror film Psycho. Released in 1960, it caused controversy for its extreme (for the time) violence, due to one iconic scene mid-way through the film, which many people may already know through imitations within popular culture. The scene itself contrasts the rest of the film with its quick show of intense energy that, despite being tame compared to modern gore-fests, is still disturbing and leaves an impression of horror that dictates the feeling of what follows. The rest of Psycho compliments this scene and others like it from by and large being drenched in a suspenseful and mysterious atmosphere, which is helped greatly by the film’s stark black and white imagery. This is the film’s focus: to elicit high emotions in the viewer through its suspenseful and horrific visuals, and so is not quite ‘about’ anything. On the other hand, the film does excel with its use of characters, with two legendary lead performances by Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. It is interesting to be empathising with them throughout the film because they are not quite good people, with the former being a thief and the latter being complicit in murder, and yet you still want them to get away with their nefarious actions (up to a point). The film is worth watching for anyone but is essential viewing for horror or thriller fans who have not yet seen this influential masterpiece.

Helena Iciek on The Prince of Egypt (Netflix)
The Prince of Egypt, a DreamWorks adaptation of the Book of Exodus, is a wildly underrated musical. Directed by Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner and Simon Wells, this film tells the story of Moses (voiced by Val Kilmer) freeing his people from slavery. We see Moses discover his Jewish roots, after decades of living a rich and lavish lifestyle as the adopted son of The Pharaoh. He must fight against his brother Rameses (voiced by Ralph Fiennes), who is insistent on maintaining the current order of slavery, in order guide his people to ‘The Promised Land’. However, you absolutely do not have to be religious in order to enjoy this picture. The opening number, Deliver Us, alone, is enough to move anyone – Ofra Hanza’s haunting vocals are goose-bump-inspiring and memorable vocals are a strength of this film, which is one of the reasons I believe it does not get enough credit. The film’s artistry must also be noted. Visual effects have come a long way in the past few years, however, The Prince of Egypt proves that realistic animation does not mean better animation. You could pause this film at any moment and you’ll be presented with a piece of art. The dramatic interpretation of well-known biblical events, such as The parting of the Red Sea and The Ten Plagues, illustrate the beauty of 2-D animation. The Prince of Egypt is set to hit the West End in February of 2020, so I encourage you to watch the original film as soon as you can. I guarantee you’ll want to buy a ticket.