Vengeful Binge

‘Hugely immersive television’: show about Clinton scandal is gripping, perfectly cast

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Fantastic Fungi ★★★½
Netflix

This feature-length documentary is a mind-blowing exploration of fungi.

This feature-length documentary is a mind-blowing exploration of fungi.Credit:Edwina Pickles

Want to have your mind blown to the extent that you can’t look at a patch of lawn, a bottle of beer, or even your own reflection the same way again? A load of time-lapse eye candy of marvellously shaped and coloured mushrooms unfurling is a good place to start.

But as this illuminating feature-length documentary reminds us, mushrooms are just the fruiting bodies of a fungus. The real body of a soil fungus, for instance, is underground in its mycelium, that cobwebby network of white fibres you see when you dig into the garden or empty an old plant pot.

Director Louie Schwartzberg has experts on hand to explain that a fungal mycelium – one single organism – can cover several square kilometres, branch trillions of times, enable trees to communicate and transfer food to one another, and do loads more besides.

The biology is fascinating, but Schwartzberg’s experts and enthusiasts are positively evangelical when it comes to the potential of fungi in medicine, pest-control, oil spill clean-ups and, of course, psychedelic experiences. It’s all quite a trip.

Deceit
Stan*

Niahm Algar is magnificent as an undercover cop investigating sex creeps in Deceit.

Niahm Algar is magnificent as an undercover cop investigating sex creeps in Deceit.Credit:Stan

At first this gut-punch of a miniseries looks like a tawdry sex-thriller throwback to the ’80s. That’s inevitable when you have Eddie Marsan looking every inch the bespectacled sex creep as a forensic profiler drilling an undercover cop (The Virtues′ Niamh Algar) on creepy scripts intended to elicit a confession from a sex-murder suspect.

What unfolds, though, is the extensively researched true story of how London police lined up an innocent oddball (Sion Daniel Young) and had him charged on the flimsiest of “evidence”. Algar is magnificent.

Everyone Is Doing Great
Paramount+

James Lafferty and Stephen Coletti are actors fading into obscurity in Everyone Is Doing Great.

James Lafferty and Stephen Coletti are actors fading into obscurity in Everyone Is Doing Great.Credit:Paramount+

Everyone, that is, apart from actors Jeremy and Seth (James Lafferty and Stephen Coletti), who are fast fading into Hollywood obscurity now that the young-vampire series they were on is a thing of the past. Doing rather better are their Australian exes, Andrea and Isabella (Alexandra Park and Cariba Heine, who are tremendously funny when they get to work as a double act). The meta element is obvious (One Tree Hill didn’t exactly catapult Lafferty and Coletti to stardom), but it’s an uncommonly acute examination of male humiliation.

John Gollings: Eye for Architecture
Shelter

Celebrated architectural photographer John Gollings.

Celebrated architectural photographer John Gollings.

“The buildings tell me what to do,” says celebrated Australian architectural photographer John Gollings. “I can get in a helicopter but then I have to fly around the sky until the building puts on its makeup and displays itself to me.” This illuminating documentary is particularly good in showing how the slightest change of angle or light can make a photograph pop. It also does a great job of capturing Gollings’ rough-hewn character, his eccentric biography, and his methods on location in Australia, India, China and Cambodia.

Chapelwaite
Stan

Adrien Brody plays a widowed whaler in Chapelwaite, a potboiling adaptation of  a Stephen King novella

Adrien Brody plays a widowed whaler in Chapelwaite, a potboiling adaptation of a Stephen King novella Credit:Chris Reardon/Epix/Sony

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It has an Oscar winner in Adrien Brody – and all the goodwill that comes along with Schitt’s Creek’s Emily Hampshire – but this potboiling Stephen King adaptation doesn’t immediately set the world on fire.

It’s 1850 and widowed whaler Charles Boone (Brody) is moving his young kids to a town in Maine, where he has inherited a spooky old house and a lumber mill. Trouble is that the townsfolk blame Boone’s family for a mysterious disease, and will no doubt blame him for certain grotesque events about to occur.

*Stan is owned by Nine, the owner of this masthead.

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