[HS Recommends] From grim Grindelwald to fun with Amazon Alexa – our top picks for the weekRekha Balakrishnan
From reentering the Potterverse with The Crimes of Grindelwald to making Alexa our new BFF - here's HS Recommends for this week!
What a homecoming!
If you like psychological thrillers, this one is for you! Homecoming, the latest Amazon Prime original featuring Julia Roberts, is one hell of a ride. Based on a podcast created by Eli Hurowitz and Micah Bloomberg, and directed by Sam Esmail, Homecoming is based on the life of Heidi Bergman, played by Julia Roberts. Heidi is a therapist working at a Tampa facility that helps veterans battle PTSD and comes back to normal life. Homecoming is the facility where Heidi treats young soldiers like Walter Cruz (Stephan James) who had lost his friends during the war. Years later, Heidi, now living with her mother, is unable to recall the time she spent at Homecoming. She also cannot answer questions about an anonymous complaint that Walter was falsely imprisoned by the staff at the facility. Mysterious, and breath-taking, with Julia Roberts in a spectacular performance, Homecoming is a winner all the way.
(Homecoming, now streaming on Amazon Prime)
Is there a method to the madness?
While on the subject of dark brooding spaces, here comes a book by Kiral Manral that shows how lives can be torn asunder by mental illness and how the monsters in your head can be very real. Missing Presumed Dead is the story of Aisha, a homemaker and mother of two battling mental illness. The family leads an almost-confined life on the outskirts of a small hill town. Her husband, Prithvi, is unable to provide the emotional support she needs and is caught in a personal quagmire of his own. Enter Heer, Aisha’s half-sister and the family’s world is turned upside down. The story moves through different situations like the disparate pieces of a puzzle. But is there an end in sight? Or is it all a crazy game being played. Read Missing Presumed Dead for answers that will shock you like no other.
(Missing Presumed Dead by Kiran Manral, Amaryllis)
Sleep well, the Alexa way
As a late entrant into the whole “adopting Alexa as my BFF” scene, I realised that if I can’t beat them, I might well as join them. Advantage 1 – Alexa listens to me more than my resident teenager. That was enough reason to explore what more my new Echo Plus could do other than listen to me, which was a given anyway. Apart from giving you your daily dose of music and belting out your favourite songs from Saavn and Amazon Music, and not to forget some choicest recipes from the Sanjeev Kapoor stable, it can also put you to sleep. In case you haven’t noticed it, Alexa has something called Help Me Sleep: The 15 Minute Insomnia Cure. It promises to make you fall asleep in 15 minutes by using the proven Progressive Muscle Relaxation Method, backed up by soft and soothing music. If this doesn’t work, try the Full Metal Workout. Just the thought of an intense workout put me to sleep immediately. Jokes apart, Alexa is a whole lot of fun – a little cocky at times, but definitely endearing.
(Amazon Alexa on Echo. Available on Amazon)
Also read: One year on, Alexa is the new ‘Desi Girl’
Grindelwald lost in narration
So if you are a Potterhead, let me warn you, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald does not match up to what you liked in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. For one, it’s not entirely true to the original Harry Potter universe. This second instalment may keep you from looking forward to the third. You might like the amazing visuals though, but the film moves between plots erringly, which is quite a let down for die-hard Potter fans. The narrative is, in fact, lost somewhere, never to return. And Johnny Depp as Grindelwald is as good as Johnny Depp gets, but the character is loosely structured, with understated tones that display none of the feistiness one would associate with him. For Potter puritans, it may prove to be a disappointment, but others may enjoy it more.
(Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald, now in theatres)