Covering some of the smaller Netflix-originals that have come out in the last few weeks.

Amateur

Michael Rainey Jr. plays Terron Forte, a basketball prodigy recruited at an early age by an ambitious college coach (Josh Charles) who, based on the trailer, may or may not be working in Terron’s self-interests. The movie looks like the story of someone who loves what they’re good at and wants to succeed doing it but who doesn’t want to get caught up in the machinery of it all along the way.

Dude

There’s lots – LOTS – of drug use either shown or referenced in the trailer. That starts at the very beginning as Lily is pulled over for speeding and gets in trouble for having a bong in her backseat. She and her friends, we see, are big believers in the power of weed and use it whenever possible. They only have two weeks before the end of senior year and are getting ready for college and being apart from each other for the first time ever.

Paradox

The hell…Neil Young, in a movie directed by his wife Daryl Hannah, plays basically himself, as do the members of his band. There’s no story evident in the trailer, just a lot of odd and disjointed imagery and footage.

The Titan

The trailer makes it clear that humanity is trying to colonize the moon Titan because Earth is running out of resource and falling into chaos because of war and other crises. Sam Worthington plays a volunteer for a program to force evolution to make people suitable for that environment, but of course that research goes wrong and he becomes something dangerous. It looks like the kind of middle-of-the-road sci-fi film Netflix has produced a lot of recently.

The Week Of

I’ll be honest, this actually looks slightly better than some of the other Adam Sandler originals Netflix has produced. Here he plays the father of a young woman getting married who just wants to give his little girl her dream wedding day. His budget isn’t huge, though, leading to awkward situations with the father of the groom, played by Chris Rock. It might actually be kind of sweet and Sandler looks like he’s actually *trying* with his performance, unlike his careless, lazy turns in The Ridiculous Six and other movies. The trailer shows a lot of that and appeared to be at least somewhat amusing.

Candy Jar

This actually looks kind of charming. The trailer lays out much of the story, about how Lona and Bennett, two students at a private school, are super-competitive debate club participants who realize the best way to take their game to the next level is to team up. Much of the narrative arc is laid out there but it doesn’t really matter because there seems to be a loose, fun feeling about the movie that is fairly attractive.

Anon

The movie’s story about how Sal (Clive Owen) has had his eyes and brain hacked to an extent where someone can change what he’s seeing in the moment seems pretty timely. The trailer shows a premise based on criminal activity and prosecution, but it’s more relevant to today’s debate about AI-generated deepfake videos and other alterations to the digital media we are reliant on.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

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