As part of the recurring monthly feature, here’s where I look back at what decent movies were added to Netflix UK in March.
I Love You Phillip Morris (2010)
Jim Carrey stars as Steven Russell, a policeman turned con man made famous for his multiple prison escapes in this “based on true events” dark comedy-drama. It’s an enjoyable mix of unfortunate circumstances made funny by the sheer bluntness of it all, and heartfelt certainty of Russell’s unequivocal love for Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). It’s quick paced, funny, sharp and witty, and shows how much depth and range Carrey can truly achieve when pushed to do something different.
Ides of March (2011)
A above-average political thriller starring George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Packed with solid performances, a decent script and some very dark moments albeit not quite to the lengths of House of Cards, it is enough to satisfy anyone with a vague political interest. While it doesn’t do much to break the mold, the typical story of good guy in a bad system trying to do right still holds value. Predictable, but interesting nonetheless.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
A single performance by Ralph Fiennes is so good in this film, that it’s difficult to talk about anything else. Visually, it’s incredible. The typical dry wit you expect from Wes Anderson is there in abundance. It’s well polished, finely composed, superbly acted and the dense script is executed perfectly. I’d go as far as saying it is my favourite Anderson film to date, and whether you’re already a fan of Anderson or not, I highly recommend this film.
Captain America – Winter Soldier (2014)
This is such a slick movie. While it does ultimately end in a mess of CGI, what gets you to that point is an intriguing story-line with some incredibly detailed actions scenes. It is a credit to the genre. Whether or not you buy the whole ‘timely social commentary’ angle, there is something undeniably very real about this film – this is more evident in the first half than the second, but this paranoia infused action movie exceeded my expectations.
India’s Daughter (2015)
India’s Daughter is a powerful documentary showcased as part of the BBC Storyville series I keep harping on about. What spurred the making of this documentary, was the horrific gang rape that took place on a private bus in South Delhi, after which 23-year-old Jyoti Singh died from her injuries. The attack gained widespread visibility, with many major media outlets picking up the story, and the men were arrested for their crimes. The documentary takes a look at this particular case, and the wider attitudes towards women in India, piecing together news footage, protests and even an interview with one of the attackers. Released to mixed reactions, banned in India itself, it has been interpreted in many different ways by activists, politicians and friends close to Jyoti, but one thing you cannot deny is that the more people who know about these horrendous acts that take place, the quicker they can be stopped. That is only a good thing.
The Lives of Others (2007)
Winner of the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, The Lives of Others is a truly thought-provoking German drama. Set in a period of political uncertainty prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, it follows a member of the secret police becoming increasingly engrossed by the individuals he is supposed to be spying on. The tension is gradually ramped up as our protagonist uncovers more and more details, but it remains restrained in its no-frills approach to film-making, leaning on the simplicity, performances and apparent authenticity of it all, creating an engrossing and somewhat relatable thriller.
The New Girlfriend (2015)
The New Girlfriend tells the story of Claire (Anaïs Demoustier) and the widow of her best friend, David (Romain Duris). A friendship post-death is forged for reasons I’d rather not go into – the key component of the story was kept a surprise for me and I hope it remains a surprise for you. It tests your perceptions of gender, sexuality, grief, relationships and identity. It does not remain with a single theme, a single character or a single issue – this is a complicated film handled delicately, with great care and understanding. Suspenseful, ridiculous at times, but incredibly fun, this was one of my favourite films from 2015.
Waynes World 1 & 2 (1992 – 1993)
Waynes World isn’t for everyone, but it is for me. A timeless classic, the perfect rainy day viewing, filled with quotable scenes, impeccable comedic timing and a flare for the ridiculous. Starring a young Mike Myers, Dana Carvey and Rob Lowe among many others, these are your not-so-typical oddball comedies about a couple of rock and roll loving friends who just want to apply their passion for music and babes, and make the most of whatever comes their way. Unfortunately for them, others have a different view as to how that should play out, whether it’s a TV show or a concert, and it’s up to Wayne & Garth to find a way to do what they do best. Party on Wayne. Party on Garth.
Turbo Kid (submitted by Gary Joyce) (2015)
Turbo Kid will be a delight to any one who was a fan of 80s action adventure films like BMX Bandits and Mad Max, as it is a huge love letter to both of these. Set in the dystopian “future” of 1997, you follow the films hero with his customised NES power glove, paving the way for inventive gory kills on-screen (one particularly gruesome one involving a modified bike) all backed with a rocking 80s synth soundtrack.
Theres so much to love about this movie from the scenery chewing performance of Michael Ironside as the sadistic overlord Zeus, and Laurence Leboeuf who plays the love interest ‘Apple’. It’s not often you get to see a film like this, and I loved every second of it.
I’m really loving Netflix at the moment, thanks for the recommendations.