• Take holiday snaps with Diane Lane in 'Paris Can Wait'. (Sony Pictures Classics)Source: Sony Pictures Classics
If you’re about to enjoy a long weekend, but aren’t travelling for real, here are some destination-heavy TV series and movies to satisfy your itchy feet from the comfort of your armchair.
By
Desanka Vukelich

3 Oct 2019 - 2:33 PM  UPDATED 3 Oct 2019 - 2:33 PM

Riviera

Dive right into the heart of luxe on the French Riviera’s Côte d’Azur, the setting of this thrilling series starring Julia Stiles as Georgina Clios. When her billionaire banker husband Constantino (Anthony LaPaglia) is mysteriously killed, Georgina is determined to find out what happened. But the deeper she looks into how Constantino died, the darker things get. Season 2 picks up from the end of the shocking season 1 finale, and this time, we find out more about Georgina’s past. The location sparkles, and the glamour and intrigue are turned all the way up on Riviera.

Seasons 1 and 2 of Riviera are streaming now. Here’s season 1 episode 1:

Travel Man

Comedian Richard Ayoade is the moodily engaging host of this offbeat travel show. Just as stimulating as the destinations is Ayoade’s deft wordsmithing in his descriptions of them. Spending 48 hours in a (usually European) city with Ayoade is a (usually comedian) guest. The dynamics between the travellers can oscillate wildly, which is part of the adventure. Guests include Rebel Wilson, Lee Mack, Noel Fielding, Paul Rudd, Katherine Ryan and Matt Lucas. Destinations include Reykjavik, Copenhagen, Florence, Lisbon, Brussels, Helsinki and New York.

There are eight seasons of Travel Man to enjoy at SBS On Demand. Here’s the jaunt round Hong Kong with Jon Hamm to kickstart the mini-breaks:

Paris

Starring two of France’s most beloved actors – Juliette Binoche as Elise and Romain Duris as her brother Pierre – Paris is a heart-warming stroll around this beautiful city. Pierre is a dancer suffering with a life-threatening heart condition. Bound to his apartment while awaiting a transplant, Elise takes charge and insists on looking after him. He spends much of his time on his balcony, looking out at the world in which his participation is momentarily halted, and falls in love with a young woman (Melanie Laurent) on whom he spies in self-consolation. A film about the depth and complexity of relationships of all kinds, it revels in celebrating the joys of life while we can.

Paris Can Wait

We do finally make it to Paris, but the point of this gorgeous debut film by Eleanor Coppola is to take our time getting there. Slowing down is something Anne (Diane Lane) finds unnatural. When she and husband Michael, a jet-setting Hollywood producer (Alec Baldwin), are about to head off to Budapest, Anne’s ear infection means she can’t fly. His colleague Jacques (Arnaud Viard) offers to escort her to Paris where she can rest. As Arnaud meanders through the lush sun-soaked south in an enviable road-trip of sumptuous meals taken at tiny villages, his constant detours drive Anne round the bend. But as they inch closer to their destination, the pair forges a friendship with a soft touch of romance. You’ll want to fly directly to Cannes and follow a similar route to Paris upon the credits rolling. Don’t say we didn’t warn you: 

Mulan

This is not the 1998 Disney animation, but the 2009 Chinese version from co-directors Jingle Ma and Wei Dong from the screenplay by Ma and Ting Zhang. When the Huns threaten invasion, the Emperor (Zhou Sun) sends out a call to arms, with each able-bodied man expected to come forward in defence of the country. Young Mulan’s ailing father (Rongguang Yu) insists on enlisting despite his frailty. But determined to protect him, Mulan (Jiao Xu, with the older Mulan played by Wei Zhao) disguises herself as a boy and secretly takes his place. This is an epic tale of a girl-warrior with stunning scenery besides.   

Fortitude

The fictitious Arctic town of Fortitude enjoys a bitterly cold yet peaceful life until the town’s first murder happens. After that, nothing is quite the same, with a series of odd occurrences and more dead bodies piling up. We’re not going to lie: this three-season difficult-to-categorise series is bizarre and not for the queasy among us. There’s the icy touch of Nordic noir, a cop show undertone, a science-y bent and a spiritual strangeness that make this one unique, binge-worthy series. The location and the local fauna play major roles, too. Best to keep an open mind and ready-or-not go directly to Fortitude.

Seasons 1 to 3 of Fortitude are now streaming at SBS On Demand. Here’s season 1 episode 1:

Medici: Masters of Florence

In early 1400s Florence, banker Giovanni de Medici (Dustin Hoffman) drops dead while munching grapes in the sunshine, pushing his son Cosimo (Richard Madden) to the forefront of the family banking dynasty. Cosimo harbours artistic dreams, not all of which are tossed aside as he reluctantly accepts his new role. After all, the Duomo is yet to be crowned with its dome. Meanwhile, Cosimo and brother Lorenzo (Stuart Martin) suspect their father was murdered by arch-rival Rinaldo Albizzi (Lex Shrapnel), who’s drumming up support against the Medicis. With tangled love interests and the golden-hued locales of the Florentine elite, Medici: Masters of Florence provides no end of tales to chase round the back streets of this glorious Italian city.

Season 1 of Medici: Masters of Florence is now streaming at SBS On Demand

 

The Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2

Ten years after Nick Giannopoulos and Chris Anastassiades wrote The Wog Boy came The Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2. Giannopoulos’ Steve is back in the central role, this time, to claim a private beachfront property he inherited from an uncle. Along for the ride is his best mate Frank (Vince Colosimo), who’s keen for some holiday action after leaving behind a messy divorce. All kinds of obstacles leap in Steve’s way, and while the movie isn’t the greatest, it does boast the gorgeous setting of the Greek Island of Mykonos. Also starring Zeta Makrypoulia and Alex Dimitriades, this is a playful romp, and it’s easy to fall in love with all that sea and sky blue.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

For lovers of the book, Truman Capote’s magnificent words and the movie version directed by Blake Edwards haven’t much in common. But George Axelrod’s screenplay certainly has its merits, and the divine Audrey Hepburn pulls off the role of troubled party girl Holly Golightly with grace and aplomb (she was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress for the role). The streets of 1961 New York are an attractive character unto themselves, as is Hepburn’s exquisite wardrobe by Givenchy. Co-stars George Peppard as writer Paul Varjak and Patricia Neal as his benefactor, Mrs Failenson.

Youth

Rachel Weisz plays Lena, daughter of retired world-class composer and conductor Fred (Michael Caine). The pair, along with Fred’s best friend and film director Mick (Harvey Keitel), go on holiday to a resort at the foot of the Swiss Alps. Amid the lush beauty, and Lena’s insistence on Fred attending daily doctor’s appointments and a host of treatments, the friends talk about Mick’s latest film project, and share their memories and musings about the lives of their children and the other guests. Fred also receives an invitation from the Queen to give one last performance. This poignant film from Paolo Sorrentino is as inviting as its location.     

Kon Tiki

Co-directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, historical drama Kon Tiki tells the story of legendary explorer Thor Heyerdal (Pål Hagen) and his epic crossing of the Pacific in 1947. Atop a balsawood raft, Heyerdal’s journey took 101 days and covered 4300 miles. Along with a team of five, the adventurers set out to prove Heyerdal’s theory that it was possible for South Americans to have settled in Polynesia before Columbian times. Co-stars Agnes Kittelsen as Thor’s wife, Liv. 

The Pier

Much of this thrilling series takes place in Albufera National Park on the sun-drenched east coast of Spain. When Alex (Verónica Sánchez) gets a call to identify the body of her husband Óscar (Álvaro Morte), her world is shattered. She can’t believe it’s suicide, so travels to Albufera, where his body was found on a pier in the Park, to solve the mystery. Soon discovering he was leading a double life with a woman called Verónica (Irene Arcos), Alex adopts the moniker of Martina to shield her identity from the mystery woman. As the pair grow closer, Alex delves into the dark secrets of Óscar’s life.

 

Ouro: Amazon Gold

This 8-part French drama opens on the disgraced Vincent (Mathieu Spinosi), a geology student who gets himself expelled from his prestigious school for reasons yet unknown. They pack him off to an undesirable internship with a gold-mining operation in French Guiana in South America’s north-east. Surrounded by the incomparable wilds of the Amazon, Vincent is soon taken up by local gold lord Antoine Serra (Olivier Rabourdin) and yields to the temptations of the much more dangerous world of gold trafficking under Serra’s tutelage. The story and the scenery are intoxicating.

 

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