What to Watch: ‘Fahrenheit 451’ and ‘Cargo’

These original streaming films bring cinema to your home box office this weekend.

May 18, 2018 5:00 am
Michael Shannon in 'Fahrenheit 451.' (HBO)
Michael Shannon in 'Fahrenheit 451.' (HBO)

Welcome to What to Watch, a series where we tell you the best shows, movies and series out right now, both on networks and streaming services.

Cargo (Netflix)

Martin Freeman carries the weight of this taut Netflix post-apocalyptic, zombie-pandemic thriller, set in the Australian outback. Luckily, he’s in good hands: Cargo began as a short film by the producers of The Babadook, and Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling’s debut feature is based on their award-winning short of the same name. Freeman plays a father trying to find someone to take care of his baby daughter after he himself becomes infected from the zombie virus. Imagine the long-form version of Brendan Gleeson’s cameo in 28 Days Later and you’ll have something approaching Cargo. (Meaning: stay away from it if you hate horror movies that are also tearjerkers.)

Fahrenheit 451 (HBO)

Poor Michael Shannon; the character actor perpetually stuck playing the most brutal type of villain. (Unless we’re talking about this year’s Waco miniseries, which he co-EP’d and cast himself as its tragic hero hostage negotiator.) In this adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s seminal 1953 novel, Mr. Shannon co-stars alongside Michael B. Jordan as Captain Beatty, a man so morally superior that he can make a one-sentence, emoji-scattered Cliffnotes of Moby Dick seem like, well…Moby Dick.

This kind of literature is “all you need,”  Beatty tells Jordan’s Montag. “Anything else will make you sick, crazy.”

Unfortunately for director Ramin Bahrani, who wrote the screenplay with Amir Naderi, you can’t force old software to learn new tricks, nor can you graft a novel about the inherently toxic ideology behind a good ole’ book bonfire onto a not-so-distant future where everyone has iPads. Whale emoji, sea captain emoji sad face emoji, indeed.

You Are Wanted (Amazon)

If you haven’t checked out the first season of this Amazon original, it definitely bears a good day’s worth of binging as this German miniseries is essentially a tighter version of Mr. Robot, set in Berlin. Hackers have framed our hero Lukas Franke (Matthias Schweighöfer) for a terrorist attack resulting in a city-wide blackout in Berlin.

In >season two, Lukas loses his memory and control of Burning Man, a classified data collection program he spent the entire first season searching for. Now he has to contend with not just hackers but his, own government, international mercenaries and not a few cyberterrorists to boot.

For those who don’t mind subtitles and love international thrillers, You Are Wanted is a nice contrast to Amazon’s other original series involving the Germans.

The Royal Wedding Live With Cord and Tish (HBO)

Out of all the Prince Harry/ Meghan Markle nuptials mishigas, watching color commentary provided by rejected SNL characters may be the most entertaining (if not the most relevant) way to view the ceremonies. At the very least, we’ll never complain about Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon teaming up together, especially when their brand of mania courts actual controversy, as it did earlier this year when the pair pulled the same stunt for the Rose Parade.

A very special episode of: Westworld (HBO)

For us superfans of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s Westworld, the second season so far has been somewhat of a disappointment: the premiere was clunky and overly-explanatory while still being as purposely obtuse as one of Ford’s mazes. That’s all about to change in the fifth episode, ‘Akane No Mai,’ which finally delivers on the biggest tease of the season one finale as Maeve and her band of Dolores-defectors head to Shogun World, full of samurais, geishas and one incredible Wu-Tang cover. (Is it just me, or is Ramin Djawadi holding back on us this year?) A not-to-be-missed episode, which more than makes up for that terrible ‘India (as appropriated by English colonists) World” that made up the cold open two weeks ago.

Side-note: Westworld is becoming more Lost-ian every day, what with the time-slipping, a man in black, rogue animals venturing outside of their natural habitats and its own version of the Hatch, which we learned last week housed not Desmond but a host version of Delos, William’s father-in-law.

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