TV highlights: ‘Emma’ charms and ‘Magnetic’ mesmerizes

Television highlights of the week.

BILL NIGHY gives a characteristically prickly and entertaining performance in ‘Emma.’  (photo credit: COURTESY OF YES)
BILL NIGHY gives a characteristically prickly and entertaining performance in ‘Emma.’
(photo credit: COURTESY OF YES)
The headlines about explosions in a power plant in Tehran and other locations that may be linked to the Iranian nuclear program sound like publicity for the series Tehran on KAN 11. It’s just bizarre how the news stories seem to be following the plot of the series. You can’t buy publicity like this, nor is there any substitute for the kind of word of mouth this consistently suspenseful series is getting, as Israelis hunker down on Monday nights at 9:15 p.m. to see the latest episode and have a week to speculate what will happen next – on the series and in real life.
It’s been nearly a year since Tel Aviv resident Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood was released, and if you missed it, you can see it now on July 11 on Yes 2 at 10 p.m. and on YesVOD24/7.
It’s hard to understand people who claim it is Tarantino’s best movie, although it does have its moments. It features a great deal of the graphic violence he is famous for, which is sometimes played for comedy here.
The movie tells the story of a down-on-his-luck TV star (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stuntman sidekick (Brad Pitt, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his trademark laid-back dude performance) in the summer of 1969, the year the Manson Family went on its killing spree.
The more you know about the history of that era, the more you’ll enjoy this film, in which many real-life people are characters, including Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), Roman Polanski, Bruce Lee, Steve McQueen, Squeaky Fromme, Mama Cass, Michelle Phillips and many others.
In addition to Pitt’s Oscar, the movie won an Oscar for production design, and the evocation of this era is beautifully done. The key problem is that in spite of all these glittering elements, the weight of the story – will the actor redeem himself and make a comeback? – doesn’t seem to carry much weight.
The news that there is a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma will either make you roll your eyes or find out where you can watch it as fast as possible. For those in the latter category, the answer is Cellcom TV and Yes VOD.
The new version stars Anya Taylor-Joy, who gives a nicely comic performance as the young busybody who tries to fix up wildly inappropriate couples and ignores the man who seems perfect for her. Bill Nighy, the actor whose presence made some of the treacly Love Actually bearable, gives a characteristically prickly and entertaining performance as her father.
Perhaps the funniest of all Austen’s novels, Emma seems to be remade for every generation. In 1995, it was famously updated as Clueless. Time has been very kind to this witty teen satire, which is available on Netflix.
It looks like we’re heading back to some version of lockdown, so if you’re longing for exotic scenery and escapism, you might want to try Magnetic on Netflix, a documentary about extreme athletes who surf, ski and sail all over the world. The cinematography is simply breathtaking, and the landscapes are incredible. These surfers in search of 20-meter waves frequent beaches on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the French Polynesian island Maui and, surprisingly, Nazaré Canyon in Portugal, where some claim the biggest and most challenging waves in the world are found.
Those who like to ski the world’s steepest slopes head to Chamonix, France, and also enjoy the L’Amone mountain face in Switzerland. Magnetic also follows some skiers and snowboarders on a quest for adventure in Mirshikar Summit in northern Pakistan, where there are frequent avalanches.
These athletes seem surprisingly sane and are engaging in interviews as they discuss their attraction to taking risks.
If you’re still feeling beach-deprived after watching Magnetic, you can try two movies about Bethany Hamilton, a champion surfer who made an amazing comeback after her arm was bitten off by a shark. It’s an inspiring story and is the focus of Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, a documentary, and Soul Surfer, a feature film with Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as her parents, which is utterly predictable but still fun.