Happy Sunday MMT Fam! Netflix has added some great titles to its repertoire since I last posted recommendations back in November 2016. When I saw that it acquired the 2015 Fox Telecolombia series CELIA I was ecstatic! An 80 (yes, you read that right, 8-0) episode scripted series based on the life of Afro-Cuban music legend Celia Cruz, “Celia” is a fact and fiction mixed telenovela that explores the singer’s life from her young years in Havana, Cuba through her over four-decade career, to her death from brain cancer at age 77.
At its core – and even with themes of racism, colorism, sexism, and the rise of the Communist takeover in Cuba – this series is an extended love story of the “Queen of Salsa” (born Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso) and her husband of 41 years and longtime manager Pedro Knight. Both characters are portrayed, wonderfully might I add, by two sets of actors – Jeirmarie Osorio and Modesto Lacen, and Aymee Nuviola and Willie Denton as the younger and older couples respectively. It was a bit odd once the switch happens, because I adored the chemistry between the former, so I’ll give you a heads up to brace yourself for episode 55!
Now, I emphasize again the word “telenovela,” i.e. soap operatic – with several characters that are highly or overly dramatic (think of “Ugly Betty” or “Jane The Virgin” as dramas). And note that the series is in Spanish, however there are subtitles in English. But, if you make it past the aforementioned, you are surely in for an entertaining treat. And with that many episodes, you can watch the series in between other favorites during hiatus. However, if you’re like me, you’ll do an almost two-week binge – it was highly addictive!
My next two picks are based on reviews that previously occurred on this site. The first is the newly added 13th: A Conversation with Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay, an interview where the journalistic maven sits down with acclaimed writer/director DuVernay to discuss her groundbreaking, and 2017 Oscar-nominated, documentary and the historically oppressive American prison system. You can read my review of “13th” and get additional information about the film here.
Lastly, the highly praised CGI fantasy adventure THE JUNGLE BOOK was also recently added to the streaming service, and I must admit I haven’t been able to fit in a watch (I’m still paying for my “Celia” binge!) but I’ve been waiting for this one since Darryl’s review – which you can read in its entirety here.
Alright MMT Fam, those are my choices from this month. Let me know if you’ve checked out, or plan to, any of the above, and/or share some recommendations of your own in the comments below.
Until next thought, Thomasena
PS – you can check out a trailer of “Celia” below: