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What to watch this week: From ancient mysteries to a meta mockumentary

Here is a rundown of this week’s releases

What to watch this week: From ancient mysteries to a meta mockumentary
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Dive into the whimsical world of Willy Wonka, swoon over a charming rom-com with Anne Hathaway, laugh along with a hilarious director’s mockumentary, unravel a gripping spy thriller, or delve into the secrets of our ancestors. 

So, grab your remote, settle in, and prepare to be captivated by these must-watch shows.

Here’s a rundown of this week’s new releases:

Wonka (English)

This musical comedy explores the early days of Willy Wonka, the eccentric chocolatier from Roald Dahl’s beloved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is a prequel to the story of Wonka, diving headlong into his origins as a young and ambitious inventor.

Motivated by the desire to revolutionize chocolate, Wonka arrives in a strange city to open a chocolate shop. Misfortune strikes as he loses his money and ends up at a dubious “sanctuary” run by Mrs. Scrubit, where he is tricked into signing a harsh contract and forced to work off his debt. As a trio of rival chocolatiers plots against him, Willy befriends Noodle, a fellow victim, and together they hatch escape plans. 

He finds allies in some of Scrubit’s past victims and even the police chief (albeit oversized due to Willy’s chocolates!). A thrilling climax unfolds as Willy confronts the rival chocolatiers, uncovers a dark secret about Noodle’s past, and escapes a chocolatey demise.

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Calah Lane, Keegan-Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas

Where to watch: JioCinema

The Veil (English)

Helmed by Stephen Knight, the creator of the critically acclaimed drama Peaky Blinders, this new miniseries follows two women on their journey from Istanbul to Paris and London, while one of them holds a secret that could cost a thousand lives. 

International spy agencies from the US, UK, and France scramble to prevent a devastating terrorist attack and alliances shift as quickly as loyalties in this gripping miniseries.

At the center of the storm stands Imogen, a complex agent with a shrouded past. This vulnerability becomes her greatest weapon as she embarks on a high-stakes mission.

Her target is Adilah, a mysterious woman discovered in a Syrian-Turkish refugee camp. Claimed to be Algerian and French, Adilah becomes a prime suspect for the agencies. Imogen’s mission is a double-edged sword: secure Adilah’s safety while unraveling her true identity, motives, and the potential target of the looming attack.

Starring: Elizabeth Moss, Yumna Marwan, Dali Benssalah, Josh Charles

Where to watch: Disney Plus Hotstar

The Idea of You (English)

Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway’s much-awaited comeback to romcoms is here, as she lights up the screen in this heartwarming romantic drama, based on Robinne Lee’s beloved novel. 

Helmed by Michael Showalter, the film follows Solène, a single mom in her 40s, on an unexpected adventure at the Coachella music festival with her daughter. When a chance encounter throws her together with Hayes Campbell, the lead singer of a boy band, sparks fly. But with a significant age difference and the glare of the spotlight, their budding romance faces unique challenges. 

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Nicholas Galitzine

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Fiasco (French)

This dramedy plunges viewers into the chaotic world of filmmaking through the eyes of Raphaël Valande, a first-time director in over his head. 

A first-time director, Raphaël dreams of honoring his grandmother’s wartime heroism with a grand historical saga but the set becomes a battleground of technical disasters, clashing egos, and a mysterious saboteur hellbent on derailing the entire production. The inexperienced director has already hemorrhaged his budget and lost his leading man.

As if things couldn’t get worse, whispers of a connection between the film’s historical theme and a contemporary tyrant have emerged, further muddying the waters and triggering an existential crisis for the auteur. 

The series is reminiscent of many mockumentary-style shows that have come before it, and presents an excellent ensemble that delivers consistent laughs throughout its run. 

Starring: Pierre Niney, François Civil, Igor Gotesman, Géraldine Nakache, Louise Coldefy, Leslie Medina

Where to watch: Netflix

Secrets of the Neanderthals (English)

This documentary explores the lives of the fascinating hominins that lived tens of thousands of years ago, revealing them to be far more intelligent and culturally rich than previously thought.

Beyond physical similarities, the documentary delves into Neanderthal diversity, suggesting variations in skin tone (brunette, redhead, blonde). It also tackles the mysteries surrounding their disappearance around 40,000 years ago. Did climate change, competition with our species, or a combination of factors seal their fate? Secrets of the Neanderthals investigates these questions, offering a fresh perspective on our closest extinct relatives.

Starring: Patrick Stewart

Where to watch: Netflix

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