Entertainment

Netflix's Spanish Thriller 'Sky High' Is a Heist Movie That Runs Out of Gas

This crime saga is already being developed into a series, but it struggles to sustain a two-hour feature.

Netflix/Vaca Films
Netflix/Vaca Films
Netflix/Vaca Films

As you scroll through the options on Netflix, it’s easy to assume that the market for gritty crime series will never stop expanding. At the end of last year, Variety reported that the streaming giant had acquired the global rights to the thriller Sky High, a box office hit in Spain starring Miguel Herr√°n, a young actor known for his roles in Netflix shows like the mega-popular¬†Money Heist and Elite, as a fresh-faced mechanic turned hardened thief in Madrid. The plan, as briefly outlined in the article, is to debut the movie on the platform and then later launch a series version, which would “pick up where the film drops off”-the latest example of a fine-tuned IP management system at work.

On a big picture strategy level,¬†this all makes sense; on a viewing level, it can be¬†frustrating. While watching Sky High, which shouldn’t be confused with the Kurt Russell kids superhero movie with the same name or the Netflix Spanish-language crime drama with the similar title of Sky Rojo, I was struck by how certain elements of the film-the thinly drawn characters, the gestures towards authenticity, the desaturated colour palette, the emphasis on money laundering and going “legit”-reminded me of countless other streaming-era crime series. With its narrative shapelessness and its repetitive plotting, Sky High feels like watching a couple random episodes of a show that happened to be presented as a movie. Significant time jumps occur, particularly as the film draws to a close, but the temporal shifts barely register.

Director Daniel Calparsoro shoots this macho saga, which follows √Āngel (Herr√°n) as he evades the cops while pulling off a series of robberies with his friends and business associates, in a workmanlike style that emphasizes the generic over the specific. The actual heists often involve smashing a car into a storefront window, shattering glass cases, and stuffing as much jewellery in a bag as one can before the police arrive. (These aren’t the flashy, elaborate jobs found in an Ocean’s¬†movie or on Netflix’s recent heist hit Lupin.) Some of these sequences get skipped over or chopped up in the editing, but Calparsoro does make time for a mildly entertaining caper on a boat about midway through. Will this sudden spike in suspense be enough to recapture your attention? Probably not.

As is often the case with these dour crime dramas, the actors find small moments to inject life into the familiar beats. The central romance between √Āngel and Estrella (Carolina Yuste), which tracks them on the journey from young lovers to bitter allies, is a welcome chance for Herr√°n and Yuste to show off their natural charm, easygoing chemistry, and dramatic chops. A scene set at a crowded restaurant where √Āngel callously reveals to Estrella he’s marrying another woman, which quickly turns into a very public argument, has a pop to it that the rest of the movie simply lacks. If there’s a potential benefit to a series version set in this world, it’s that the performers would have more room to stretch out in scenes like this. But, after such a lackluster movie, it’s hard to imagine too many viewers will be excited to stream the next chapter.

Dan Jackson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He’s on Twitter¬†@danielvjackson.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef,¬†Cuong Nguyen¬†will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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