Chinese New Year - Nian

Apple YouTube | 12 min | Unrated

When I woke today I was greated by a pleasant yet unexpected surprise. A 12 minute short reimagining a Chinese New Year legend as a contemporary coming-of-age story. Shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max, directed by Lulu Wang and created by the team behind the Golden Globe nominated film, 'The Farewell'. Truly awe-inspiring, I for one can't wait to see more collaborations between Apple, Lulu Wang and her team.  

Palmer

Apple TV+ | 1 hr 50 min | R

Directed by Fisher Stevens and written by Cheryl Guerriero. Palmer is the latest take on a tried and tested redemption story as a former college football star, now an ex-convict, starts to mentor a young boy. Starring Justin Timberlake, Ryder Allan Alisha Wainwright, June Squibb, and Juno Temple. You can read our review of the latest Apple Original feature here.

Populus Run

Apple Arcade | Action | 9+

This week's Apple Arcade release sees you control a crowd of people in an uncoventional running game where you must dodge giant fast food, slide down pipes like at a waterpark and battle food themed battle rappers. Whilst that all may sound insane, Populus Run is a thoroughly polished game with great pacing and sound design (headphones highly recommended).

Dickinson

Apple TV+ | S2, E6 | 29 min | TV-14

'Split in the lark' is yet another fantastic title for the latest episode of Alena Smith's Dickinson. Things don't go as planned when Emily tries to express her gratitude to Sam during a night at the opera which leads to other goose-bump inducing possibilities.

Losing Alice

Apple TV+ | S1, E4 | 48 min | TV-MA

Following the debut of the internationally acclaimed erotic thriller, latest episode 'The Obsession' sees Alice auditioning actresses for her lead role. After believing she has found the perfect candidate - Sophie makes a surprising move.

Servant

Apple TV+ | S2, E3 | 29 min | TV-MA

Following contact with Leanne, the Turners open a family business as a front for a more important mission in 'Pizza'. The latest episode from Servant's second season is directed by Ishana Shyamalan who you will immediately recognise as M.Night's daughter. Don't be fooled, this is a strong first showing with a humerous premise.

Other Apple TV Highlights:

Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival App | Various

The first film festival of 2021 really has crept up on us, hasn't it? It's also the first time that the annual Sundance Film Festival is going virtual. Whilst the first run of many of its screenings have already sold out, I have it on good authority that more virtual screening tickets will be released so download the app and set notifications to on. Personal highlights include Siân Heder's 'CODA', 'Censor' from Welsh director Prano Bailey-Bond, Ben Wheatley's 'In the Earth' and 'On the Count of Three' from comedian/director Jerrod Carmichael.

The Little Things

HBO Max | 2 hrs 7 min | R

Oscar winners Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto star in this creepy serial killer thriller from John Lee Hancock Jr that will please fans of 'Seven', and 'Silence of the Lambs'. A throwback that sees Deputy Sheriff Joe "Deke" Deacon joins forces with Sgt. Jim Baxter to search for a serial killer who's terrorizing Los Angeles.

Resident Alien

Syfy | S1, E1 | 44 min | TV-14

When an alien crashes on Earth and hides in a remote Colorado mountain town; after assuming the identity of the town doctor, his nefarious mission is threatened when he finds out one of the townspeople, a 9-year-old boy, can see his true alien form. To quote one YouTube commenter; "Alan Tudyk playing himself? Count me in!"

Some Kind of Heaven

TV app | Rental | 1 hr 23 min | Unrated

With Darren Aronofsky listed on the production credits I had to rent this new documentary currently screening in select theatres. Filmmaker Lance Oppenheim cracks the manicured facade of The Villages - a massive, self-contained retirement community located in Central Florida - which offers a fascinating look at the inhabitants of a wildly succesful utopian/dystopian experiment.


Apple Arcade Updates:

Amongst this week's Apple Arcade updates are a new mission from Agent Intercept titled 'Training Day' where your mission - should you choose to accept it - is to intercept a speeding arms shipment. SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit has added a host of rewards, customisable options and new character unlocks. NUTS has gained some much needed quality of life improvements for those that struggled during the games launch last week and finally Card of Darkness, Jumper John and Warp Drive have implemented many small and minor bug fixes.