“Based on a True Story” introduces viewers to a couple so obsessed with true crime, they start trying to make it themselves, says “Streaming” columnist NICK OVERALL.
THE extent to which the audiences are obsessed with a genre can often be gauged by just how many parodies of said genre start hitting the market.
Take true crime, an endless assortment of TV shows, movies, podcasts and more which have enjoyed unrivalled popularity in the streaming era.
As such, it was only so long before people were going to start paying it out.
From Netflix’s “American Vandal” (a brilliant and juvenile lampoon of “Making a Murderer”) to “Only Murders in the Building” (Disney Plus’ goofball breakdown of the classic whodunit plot), today there’s no shortage of true crime which satirises true crime.
The latest to jump on this trend is a new show on Binge called “Based on a True Story”, which gets even more meta by introducing viewers to a couple so obsessed with true crime, they start trying to make it themselves.
Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina play this peculiar duo, who are living out a perfunctory life in Los Angeles suburbia.
Ava (Cuoco) is a second-rate real estate agent, tired of slinging single bedroom apartments, whereas Nathan (Messina) is a former tennis pro who let it all slip away.
Things get interesting when Ava believes she may have just discovered a distant acquaintance is actually a serial killer.
But instead of turning them in, a different plan is hatched, the couple thinking a true crime podcast in which their star guest was a real-life murderer might just be the ticket to saving their dreary existence.
The wicked premise makes for some light and amusing streaming that makes for a fun takedown of TV’s reigning genre king.
THE biggest film of 2022 has finally come to streaming.
James Cameron’s indulgent and eye-popping blockbuster, “Avatar: The Way of Water” is now available on Disney Plus.
It’s the second film in the series which Cameron has around a million sequels planned for and comes 13 years after its predecessor became the highest grossing movie of all time (helped along by the 2009 advent of 3D glasses).
But it seems the long space between the first and second flick didn’t dissuade audiences from making a return trip to Pandora.
“The Way of Water” has made it all the way to the third highest grossing movie of all time, raking in $2.3 billion at the box office. The only films in history to trump it are “Avengers: Endgame” ($2.7 billion) and the first “Avatar” ($2.9 billion).
Heavy on spectacle but light on story, “The Way of Water’s” absurd three-hour-and-12-minute runtime is a big ask, but the visual effects on display do make this a worthwhile experience.
Aussie star Sam Worthington reprises his role as Jake Sully, a former marine accepted into the alien colony on Pandora, where humans are waging a war in want of a valuable mineral known as “unobtanium”. Yes, unobtanium. Bit on the nose there, Jim.
In “The Way of Water”, Sully and his extraterrestrial family are forced deeper into their battle against the tyrannical colonisers, this time using the oceans of Pandora and the creatures within them to fight back.
So does the bombastic spectacle of the film hold up on a screen at home? Just. The amount of painstaking work that has gone into crafting this fictional world is impressive.
For all the film’s shortcomings, it is a remarkable feat that it can sell the illusion of swimming through alien oceans. Watching behind-the-scenes footage of how they made it is almost more fascinating than the film itself.
That makes “The Way of Water” an intriguing movie. One with plenty of failings, but also one worth experiencing just to see what all the fuss is about.
It is indeed an achievement in blockbuster film making although I think they could have got a bit more out there with the design of these underwater species.
Of all the possibilities that an extraterrestrial world offers, they somehow landed on what is essentially a whale with horns as the animal companion of this alien civilisation.
If you’re asking audiences to travel with you to an alien world inhabited by blue people, may as well go as crazy as possible with it.
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Ian Meikle, editor