Streaming Highlites July 17-23, 2020: Cursed, White Light & Jim Jefferies: Intolerant

MAGICAL: 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford plays Nimue in the fantasy series Cursed. Below, White Light filmmaker George Gittoes.
MAGICAL: 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford plays Nimue in the fantasy series Cursed. Below, White Light filmmaker George Gittoes.

CURSED

Netflix

Do you remember Xena: Warrior Princess? That was my first thought when trailers depicted Aussie actress Katherine Langford emerging from the water in medieval garb clutching a sword.

Much like Xena provided overdue strong heroine representation in fantasy TV in the '90s, Cursed aims to achieve the same in 2020, however in a far more serious context.

Cursed is the re-imagining of the classic British mythology of King Arthur. However, instead of the focus being on Arthur, played by Australian-American actor Devon Terrell (Barry), this prequel story is told through Nimue or the Lady Of The Lake. It's Langford's second major Netflix series after she found fame playing tragic schoolgirl Hannah Baker in the first two seasons of 13 Reasons Why.

Fantasy fans will enjoy the gritty new interpretation of the classic Arthurian legend, but the over reliance on the supernatural feels corny, especially when a baby is born with two faces or when the sky rains blood. While most of the scenes are beautifully shot, the CGI looks ridiculously fake especially in the scene where Nimue kills a wolf pack with Excalibur.

BRUTAL: White Light is a gritty look at Chicago's horrific gun violence.

BRUTAL: White Light is a gritty look at Chicago's horrific gun violence.

WHITE LIGHT

ABC iView

Australian filmmaker George Gittoes made his name covering war zones in Nicaragua, Somalia and Iraq. A battleground is certainly what he portrays in his documentary White Light.

It focuses on the Chicago suburb of Englewood, known as Chi-Raq, due to its astronomical rate of gun violence, which surpasses any active war zone in the past two decades. Gittoes brings the horror into view by befriending an African-American street gang which includes colourful characters like Head Shot, Lil Mac and Jon Jon who casually discuss being shot by drive-by shooters at the corner store or on the footpath, all the while brandishing their own firearms and free-styling raps.

Gittoes also shows how entrenched racism in the police force has escalated the volatile environment. The bleakness of the situation is best surmised when a group African-American teenagers - who are not gang members - are nervously looking around while being interviewed. "We're all targets," they say.

JIM JEFFERIES INTOLERANT

Netflix

US-based Australian comedian Jim Jefferies wasn't among the 180 signatories who put their names to separate open letters in Harper's Magazine or the Sydney Morning Herald rallying against cancel culture last week. But you suspect he would have happily signed in his own blood.

Jefferies fourth Netflix special Intolerant is basically a big middle finger to "woke culture". The 42-year-old has always been brash and angry in his confronting comedy style, but he's particularly angsty here as he drops F and C-bombs like confetti.

The main targets are Millennials and woke people who criticise his 78-year-old father from rural Queensland who is trying to be more progressive by voting for same-sex marriage, but hasn't quite accepted the idea of transgender.

The whole show is based on Jefferies being lactose intolerant and the story of a dramatic dinner date where he ate both cheese and ice cream. As you can guess, it finishes with a messy end. Much like Jefferies' brand of comedy, Intolerant is messy, but it's bloody good fun.

This story Cursed delivers modern look for ancient fantasy saga first appeared on Newcastle Herald.