TV Tuesday #2

It’s the first Tuesday of Lockdown 2: Electric Boogaloo and there’s a good chance you’re craving some great telly. Here’s three suggestions of shows that will hopefully scratch that itch.

Chewing Gum (2015-17 : 12 x 23 mins : Netflix)

When those end-of-year lists start popping up in the coming weeks, there’s no doubt that Michaela Coel‘s I May Destroy You will be appearing on nearly all the tv-related ones – for great reason as it was a truly extraordinary series. But, Coel’s talent wouldn’t have come as any surprise to those who had seen this series. Sharing some DNA, but also vastly different in tone (think of GM as the younger sister to IMDY) this is a fantastically written comedy series about 24-year-old Tracey who is desperate to lose her virginity. With a superb cast – Danielle Walters, Susan Wokoma, Kadiff Kirwan and John Macmillan – and some truly hilarious moments – this really is an underseen gem.

Pose (2018 – cont. : 18 x 1hr : Netflix) O

ne of the most important series from the past decade, it’s near-impossible to avoid talking about Pose without descending into superlatives. Set in New York in 1987, it’s the story of the African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming  ballroom culture and the people who have formed their found-families because of it. Billy Porter is the one who always get mentioned (deservedly) for his wonderful work as emcee Pray Tell. Attention must also go towards the extraordinary performances of Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson and Indya Moore in particular. Heavily inspired by the iconic documentary Paris Is Burning, this outstanding programme tells the intertwined threads of pain and love so wonderfully.

Unorthodox (2020 : 4 x 53 mins : Netflix)

Sometimes it really does feel as if Netflix just quietly drops it’s programming and sees if it’ll stick – if that programme will find its way to the audience and attention it deserves. Unorthodox is a great example of this, of a show of superb quality that most will only discover through word-of-mouth. Loosely based on Deborah Feldman‘s 2012 autobiography, Unorthodox tells the story of Esther (Shira Haas, in what should have been a star-making turn) a young ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman who flees her arranged marriage and religious community to start a new life abroad. Tense, intimate and bitterly moving, this carefully handled drama makes for extraordinarily captivating watching.

Something-to-watch Saturday #8

It’s the first Saturday of Lockdown 2: Electric Avenue. You want some movies to watch? Then you’ve come to the right place. What follows may just be the most eclectic mix so far, because you’re worth it. #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 and #7.

Locke (2013 – 85 mins – Amazon Prime)

Tom Hardy on his own in a car for 85 mins may sound appealing for only a certain demographic – but you’d be mistaken. This tense and taut film follows Ivan Locke (Hardy), a dedicated family man and successful construction manager as he receives a phone call on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career. A call that will set in motion a series of events that threaten his carefully cultivated existence. Written and directed by Steven Knight (creator of Hardy-starring series’ Peaky Blinders and Taboo) is fantastic thriller. If you ever find yourself in ay doubts of Hardy’s acting prowess, rectify those thoughts by watching this.

Parasite (2019 – 132 Mins – Amazon Prime)

Parasite winning the Oscar for Best Picture may have been the only good thing to happen this year (so far… *wink wink*). If you’ve not seen it yet, now is your chance and hopefully you’re going into it completely blind – which is why I’ll hold back on any plot summaries. Pop it on and watch master director Bong Joon Ho at work.

Uncorked (2020 – 104 mins – Netflix)

I strongly believe we’ve only just scratched the surface when it comes to the power of Mamoudou Athie as an actor. With his scene-stealing turn in the wonderful Patti Cake$ and an underutilised role in The Front Runner, Jurassic World: Dominion might finally propel him to the forefront. Watch Uncorked to see what I’m going on about. In Uncorked he plays Elijah, a young man balancing his dream of becoming a master sommelier with his father’s expectations that he carry on the family’s Memphis BBQ joint. A quiet yet moving drama.

Assassination Nation (2018 – 108 mins – Netflix)

You know how a film can define a particular period of time? I reckon this will be one that defines the Trump era. A blistering – very much 18-age-rating – movie set in the perpetually American town of Salem, when a malicious data hack exposes the residents secrets, chaos descends and four girls must fight to survive, while coping with the hack themselves. This is the film The Purge wishes it could be – full of rage. If cinema holds up a mirror to society then this film lets us see what we truly are, which is UGLY*. (* Yes, the She’s The Man reference was intentional – adding a bit of light relief to the cold hard truth of this film…)

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018 – 117 mins – Netflix)

Seeing this film was my all-time favourite film watching experience. At a press screening at Leicester Square Imax, surrounded my by friends, seeing a film I’d heard a lot of hype about (the US reactions dropped earlier that day) but not quite believing. The hype was real guys. Teen Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his universe, and must join with five spider-powered individuals from other dimensions to stop a threat for all realities. Beautifully animated and powerfully told – this is all kinds of wonderful.

Eddie The Eagle (2015 – 106 mins – Amazon Prime)

One of the most feelgood films of the past decade, Taron Egerton is almost unrecognisable as Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Hugh Jackman plays his coach, a composite character inspired by figures Edwards met along the way of his infamous Olympic career. Dexter Fletcher‘s film is charming, funny and totally endearing.

Plus One (2019 – 98 mins – Netflix)

Jack Quaid is currently best known for his role in Amazon’s bloody comic book adaptation The Boys, but if you fancy seeing him do something different then this, my pick for underseen romcom of the week, is the one for you. Here he plays Ben, a longtime singleton who agrees to be the plus one to his friend Alice (Maya Erskine) at every wedding they’ve been invited to, in order to help each other endure a summer of wedding fever. This one feels less like a movie, than hanging with two friends you’re desperate to get together. Understated and really delightful. (Click here to read my full review for Film Stories)

TV Tuesday #1

As there’s a good chance any of us will be watching a *lot* more telly over the coming month, I thought I’d start up with some recommendations again. So begins this new feature (which I like to sing to the tune of Ruby Tuesday by The Rolling Stones). Each week I’ll pick three tv series – most likely at random – that I think may appeal for all manner of reasons…

The West Wing (1999 – 2006)

7 seasons – 156 episodes – Free on All4

I’ve always wanted to watch The West Wing as I was always certain I’d love it. Why? ‘Because I’m a lily-livered, bleeding-heart, liberal, egghead communist.’ Shying away from the commitment of buying on DVD or VOD, I hoped I’d get around to it at some point. Then, on October 21st 2020, all 156 episodes dropped on All4. And fellows, it is *everything* everyone has ever said about it and more. It’s superbly written, constructed and performed. It’s been optimistic balm for this weary soul (which may have inadvertently made the fast-approaching US election result even more terrifying). I’m 22 episodes in, I fancy and am in love with pretty much all of the cast at this point, have felt weepy on average once an episode and sobbed my way through one truly masterful episode that might just have been the most perfect piece of TV I have ever seen. In short? Go watch it, then let’s walk and talk.

Below Deck (2013 – )

105+ episodes : Season 1, 2 and 3 Amazon Prime (Season 4 onwards requires hayu subscription)

And now for something very different, something which I’m still trying to pinpoint how and why I am so addicted to. I started to work it out in this VodZilla article for the similarly themed Selling Sunset but it’s still not conclusive. Is it the exotic locations? The guests who are varying degrees of trash? The crew who can be varying degrees of trash? The work-place conflict? The 21st Century Marie Antoinette levels of excess and indulgence? Or all of the above? I binged this like I have never binged before. I thought season 1 was okay, but once I found out the fact the guests have no inkling of the crew’s dramas I was sold (competence and professionalism ftw!) It’s just so good guys, but I think you need to indulge to truly believe it. Pure trashy reality tv that I’d like plugged into my veins during this difficult time. Oh, and if approx. 5250 minutes (and counting) of this tropical trash is not enough for you, Amazon also has both Below Deck spinoffs Mediterranean (85 episodes) and Sailing Yacht (17 episodes).

Lovesick (2014 – 2018)

3 series : 22 episodes : Netflix

A lot of people got put off this show with it’s series one title of ‘Scrotal Recall’ (which, child that I am, still makes me smirk each time I say it..) which is a real shame as this show started out rather brilliantly then became something so beautiful and profound. It’s the story of Dylan (Johnny Flynn, swoon) testing positive for an STD and deciding to use the informing his exes of his status as an opportunity to find out where he went wrong in their relationships. Along for the journey are his housemates Luke (Daniel Ings, swoon) and Evie (Antonia Thomas, swoon). The result is a realistic romantic comedy, funny and sweet yet occasionally dark and melancholy. It’s well-written, charming and immensely feelgood.

Something-To-Watch Saturday #

Welcome back for another edition of STW-S. Here’s this week’s 7 movie recommendations of unseen gems. Not enough for you? Check out the past editions here: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 and #6.

The Farewell (2019 – 100 mins – Amazon Prime)

To start with, a joyful happy-sad story about Chinese family discovering their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies. The fact it’s based on writer-director Lulu Wang‘s real life experiences only adds the poignancy.

Crazy Stupid Love (2011 – 118 mins – Amazon Prime)

This week’s underrated romcom slot goes to a film I find myself rewatching regularly for two reasons. The first is the cast Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei. The second is just how well the story is told, with every plot point weaved in and playing out so perfectly. A middle-aged husband’s (Carell) life changes dramatically when his wife (Moore) asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob (Gosling), learning to pick up girls at bars.

Only You (2018 – 119 mins – Netflix)

Elena (Laia Costa) and Jake (Josh O’Connor) meet by chance on New Years Eve, arguing for the same taxi. However, instead of going their separate ways after sharing a taxi ,they start a passionate relationship. The end result is a film that is quietly profound and full of intimacy, just beautiful.

Fish Tank (2009 – 123 mins – Netflix)

This film, by writer-director Andrea Arnold, is one of the finest British movies of the 21st Century. Everything changes for 15-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis) when her mum brings home a new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender). With his breakthrough performance here, there was no doubt that Fassbender was going to be a star. But if you come for his performance, you’ll stay for Jarvis. A nonprofessional actor who got the role after being scouted during an argument with her then-boyfriend, she’s extraordinary as an older-than-her-years teen who has little reason to hope for more than she has.

Game Night (2018 – 100 mins – Netflix)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, comedy is the hardest genre for cinema to get right – a fact that was truly clear when this film came out as it truly stood out and continues to stand out. An action-comedy about a group of friends (Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury) who meet regularly for game nights find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery when the shady brother (Kyle Chandler) of one of them is seemingly kidnapped by dangerous gangsters.

20 Feet From Stardom (2013 – 91 mins – Netflix)

The winner of the Oscar for best documentary, this is another total must-watch. Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we’ve had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now. If you’re a fan of any songs from 1950s onwards, you’re going to want to watch this. (My favourite anecdote is the one about The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter, which is one of my all-time favourite songs.)

Apostasy (2017 – 95 mins – BBC iplayer)

Screening as part of the British Film Premiere season from BBC Film and the BFI, Apostasy follows Ivanna (Siobhan Finneran), a faithful Jehovah’s Witness who lives with her two grown-up daughters Alex (Molly Wright) and Luisa (Sacha Parkinson). A religious transgression means that Luisa is shunned by her community and her family. As the separation draws out, Alex starts to question the meaning of God’s love.

Something-To-Watch Saturday #5

Are you new around here? Then let me catch you up. Every Saturday I’ll be publishing a list of 7 movie suggestions of films from various streaming sites, saving you time and decision-making by helping you decide what to watch. Like what you see, then just leave a comment. Want even more suggestions? Check out issues #1, #2, #3 and #4.

The Princess Bride (1987 – 98 mins – Amazon Prime)

To start with, I’m chucking out the big guns. My favourite film of all-time. If you know me, you know this fact already – you’ve probably heard me harp on about it enough. A film that is as funny as it is charming as it is romantic. This is a film perfect for every mood, with truly medical qualities. Here’s a piece I wrote for Den Of Geek about why I love it so much.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014 – 113 mins – Amazon Prime)

Easily one of the finest science fiction movies of the past decade, think Groundhog Day meets Independence Day – where a soldier (Tom Cruise) fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies. His fellow soldier (Emily Blunt), may just be the answer to saving both he and the entire world.

Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016 – 101 – Amazon Prime)

I first saw this movie at Genesis Cinema (East London), a month prior to it’s release – in screen 4 with an audience made up of folk from New Zealand and Australia. It was the perfect audience for such a hysterically funny film. A comedy adventure film set when a national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) and his foster uncle Hec (Sam Neill) who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush. ‘ I didn’t choose the skuxx life, the skuxx life chose me.’

Man Up (2015 – 88 mins – BBC iPlayer)

This week’s underseen romantic comedy slot goes to this gem of a Brit flick. Nancy (Lake Bell) is in her mid-30s, fed up of being single but also fed up of her friend’s awful attempts at set-ups. After literally bumping into Jack (Simon Pegg), who believes she’s the woman he’s meant to be headed on a date with, Nancy decides not to correct him and go on the date. A night they’ll never forget soon follows. Wonderfully written by Tess Morris, this is a seriously funny film with a fantastic ensemble cast. Adhering to romcom tropes, yet playing wonderfully with them, any film that has a dance-off to this tuuuune has me sold.

Southside With You (2016 – 84 mins – BBC iPlayer)

Sometimes, when present day politics terrifies me (aka, most days) I think about the Barack Obama era, with the same degree of nostalgia one would an ex partner who you ended things with on mutually respecting yet loving terms. Should you be the same, this is an indie gem for you. It’s a fictionalised account of the first date between Barack (Parker Sawyers) and Michelle (Tika Sumpter). Understated, charming and really endearing.

The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019 – 119 mins – Amazon Prime)

Armando Iannucci deciding to follow up the scathing satire The Death of Stalin with a Dickens adaptation felt like something of a choice. Thankfully, we any doubts were kicked away within the film’s opening moments. From then on it’s a charming and hilarious riot of laugher, that had me grinning like the Cheshire Cat the entire time. Dev Patel is the eponymous David in a riches-to-rags-to-riches-to-rags tale starring Peter Capaldi, Gwendoline Christie, Morfydd Clark, Daisy May Cooper, Hugh Laurie, Anna Maxwell Martin, Tilda Swinton, Paul Whitehouse, Ben Whishaw and Benedict Wong. Click here to read my film review.

Life, Animated (2016 – 92 mins – Netflix)

If you were to ask me the oddly specific question, ‘What are you favourite five documentaries of all time?’, this would definitely be making an appearance. A story that hits me on a personal level (as I mention here), we follow Owen Suskind as he gets ready to leave his family home and move away to live on his home for the first time. It’s a situation his parents’ would never have foreseen when he stopped suddenly speaking aged 3 and a diagnosis of autism soon followed. This is a film about the magic of parents and of Disney – two powerful forces that should never be underestimated.

Something-To-Watch Saturday #4

Welcome back! Here’s 7 more film suggestions for your delectation. And, if that’s not enough for you here’s editions one, two and three.

If Beale Street Could Talk (Amazon Prime – 2018 – 119 mins)

If you’ve ever wondered what sumptuous cinematography looks like, this is the film to watch. James Laxton‘s camera work here is as astonishing as it was when he collaborated with director Barry Jenkins on the Oscar-winning Moonlight. This film, the story of a pregnant young woman (KiKi Layne) and her family trying to prove the innocence of her childhood friend turned lover (Stephan James), is as beautiful as it is heart-breaking. Majestic filmmaking.

Your Name (Netflix – 2016 – 106 mins)

This week, the spot for underseen romantic comedy goes to this wonderful Japanese animation that blends romance, comedy and science fiction so beautifully. Two strangers find themselves linked in the most unexpected way. A connection forms between them, quickly and deeply, but what is keeping them apart. Think Freaky Friday meets [title of a film that would spoil it]. Epically sound tracked too.

Tamara Drewe (Amazon Prime – 2010 – 107 mins)

If hearing of a British movie that satirises suburbia and the intellectual set, featuring Gemma Arterton, Roger Allam, Dominic Cooper, Tamsin Greig and Luke Evans – then I’m not sure what’s wrong with you..! Very funny, yet tragic, with fantastic performances – such a treat.

The Last Tree (Netflix – 2019 – 98 mins)

Femi’s (Tai Golding) happy childhood in the countryside with his white foster mum (Denise Black) comes to an abrupt end when his mother (Gbemisola Ikumelo) decides to take him back to London. Now in his teens (Samuel Adewunmi) Femi finds himself uncertain about who he is and drawn to making the wrong choices. A moving and powerful film, filled with quiet rage.

The Handmaiden (Netflix – 2016 – 145 mins)

This South Korean erotic thriller (which is very much an 18 for a reason) is based on the 2002 novel Fingersmith by Welsh writer Sarah Waters. Set in Korea, under Japanese colonial rule, a woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her. A rapturously seductive slow burn watch.

Tucked (Netflix – 2018 – 80 mins)

Tucked isn’t the kind of film to reinvent the wheel, it’s the familiar tale of a curmudgeonly loner (Derren Nesbitt) taking a naïve newbie (Jordan Stephens) under their wing – this time in the drag world. But it’s done so well by writ-redirector Jamie Patterson that it’s so bloomin’ charming. Just a lovely, quietly pulls-at-your-heart-strings-and-tear-ducts watch.

Spy (Netflix – 2015 – 120 mins)

After doing recommendations like this weekly since the start of Lockdown plus the intermittent recommendations the past two years, I can say with some certainty that a good comedy is hard to find. Having rewatched this recently, I can confirm this is one of them. Melissa McCarthy is a the desk-bound CIA analyst for superspy Jude Law, but when she volunteers to go undercover she must infiltrate the world of arms dealing and prevent global disaster. Allison Janney, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Bobby Cannavale and my spirit animal Miranda Hart round up this fantastic cast.

Something-To-Watch Saturday #3


Welcome to the third edition of Something-To-Watch Saturday. Missed the first two instalments? Then just click here (#1) or here (#2) to sate that sense of intrigue.

Rocks (2019 – 93 mins – Netflix)

2020 has seen a quick turnaround of films popping up on VOD, and the window between their cinema release has definitely been shortened – but Rocks might just have the record of roughly two weeks from cinema to Netflix. Which is fortunate for many as Rocks is one of the finest films of this year. A beautifully moving and truly heartfelt story of an East London teenage girl (Bukky Bakray) and her younger brother (D’angelou Osei Kissiedu) left to fend for themselves when their mother leaves them behind. An extraordinarily powerful story of female friendship, one of the best movies about teenagers and one of the best British movies we’ve had in years. (Click here to read my full review)

Short Term 12 (2013 – 96 mins – Amazon Prime)

This is a perfect example of a film that is truly excellent on first watch then, when you return to it years later, you realise that a) it’s still excellent and b) the incredible success that deservedly followed for the ensemble cast. Grace (Brie Larson) is a supervisor at a group home for troubled teenagers, where she works with her partner Mason (John Gallagher Jr.). The young people in their care include Marcus (LaKeith Stanfield) and (Jayden) Kaitlyn Dever. Stephanie Beatriz and Rami Malek help round out the familiar faces at the start of their career cast. It’s a quietly moving drama, so brilliantly written and performed.

The Riot Club (2014 – 107 mins – Amazon Prime)

Speaking of retrospectively incredible ensemble cast, but with a completely different topic, The Riot Club has Harry Lloyd, Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Sam Reid, Douglas Booth, Freddie Fox, Josh O’Connor, Olly Alexander, Ben Schnetzer, Samuel West, Tom Hollander, Jessica Brown Findlay and Natalie Dormer – a group that would be almost impossible to get together again now as so many of their careers have truly taken off. Directed by the incredible Lone Scherfig, The Riot Club is based on a play called ‘Posh’ by Laura Wade – the story of two first year students at Oxford University who are initiated into a secret society, where they learn how reputations can be made or broken over the course of a single evening. If you ever find yourself aghast at the current state of British politics, this might give you some of the answers – but don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Crimson Peak (2015 – 118 mins – Netflix)

I love Guillermo del Toro and I love Gothic cinema. There was little doubt I’d love this – thankfully I *adore* this film. A true victim of inaccurate marketing, which pitched the film as a horror – which it isn’t – this is a film that will finally get the recognition it deserves with time. Beautiful to look at – every still could be framed and on a wall – this is the story of a young woman Edith (Mia Wasikowska), her mysterious first love Thomas (Tom Hiddleston) and his strange sister (Jessica Chastain). When Edith and Thomas marry, and he takes her back to his family estate – she quickly realises all is not what it appears. (Click here to read my full review.)

Zodiac (2007 – 150 mins – BBC iPlayer)

Impeccable ensemble casts appears to have become an inadvertent theme here, as Zodiac is yet another. Helmed by David Fincher we have Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Brian Cox, Chloë Sevigny in this modern classic, which may just be the finest crime movie to have been made this century. Based on a true story, in the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree. A phenomenally gripping tale that haunts long after watching.

Brooklyn (2015 – 111 mins – Amazon Prime)

It’s due to continue raining in London for the next 48 hours, which means you deserve some good quality comfort watching. May I present you with this delight of a film, set in the 1950s, it’s the story of  Irish immigrant Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) who arrives in Brooklyn desperately homesick. A chance encounter with Emory Cohen’s Tony brings her more joy than she could ever imagined, but when she’s forced to return home she’s faced with making a choice. Should she stay in Ireland with Jim (Domhnall Gleeson) or go back to Tony and her new home? The sets are extraordinary, the costumes exquisite, the writing beautiful and the acting sublime. You don’t just want to watch this, you deserve it. (Click here to read my full review)

Juliet, Naked (2018 – 105 mins – Netflix)

Of these seven slots, I think I’m going to try and always reserve one for an underseen romantic comedy. Last week was The Incredible Jessica James, this week has to be this adaptation of Nick Hornby’s 2009 novel of the same name. It’s the story of Annie (Rose Byrne), the long-suffering girlfriend of Duncan (Chris O’Dowd). Duncan’s one true love isn’t Annie, it’s an elusive musician he’s never met – Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke). When a never-heard-before Tucker Crowe demo arrives at their door, it could just be the ending of something and the start of something new… A charming, well-written and well-acted romantic comedy.

Something-To-Watch Saturday #2


Welcome to the second edition of Something-To-Watch Saturday. Missed the first instalment? Then just click here to sate that sense of intrigue.

RBG (2018 – 98 mins – Netflix)

Why should I watch this? Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away on 18th September 2020 aged 87, was a true icon. Given the loving nickname ‘The Notorious RBG’ in recent years, when she finally started to receive the attention and appreciation she finally deserved, this is documentary is the perfect introduction to those who knew nothing about her or for fans to celebrate her life. I could tell you here all about the amazing work she did, for men and women, and how she blazed the trail for so many people – but I think you should watch this instead and bask in her glory.

Honey Boy (2019 – 94 mins – Amazon Prime)

Why should I watch this? Shia LaBeouf started his career aged just ten, performing stand-up at comedy clubs. Film and TV roles soon followed, with Disney’s Even Stevens being the role that bought him to most people’s attention. Now 34, he’s grown up in front of the camera, with all sorts of hardships and trauma going on behind it. Honey Boy, written by LaBeouf and directed by Alma Har’el, is the closely inspired by his life story of a young actor’s stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental health. A wonderfully tender evocative movie, made all the more heart rendering by it’s layers of autobiography.

A Matter of Life and Death (1946 – 104 mins – BBC iPlayer)

Why should I watch this? I first watched A Matter of Life and Death during the second half of my first year of uni, were I was starting to fall out of love with film – unfortunate as my course was film studies… This film made me fall back in love and then some, so much so it’s still my 3rd favourite film of all time. Only upon seeing it can you appreciate just how ahead of a time this film is – the visuals and special effects, the story and its themes, the fact it was made in the shadows of WW2 – simply extraordinary. A British fantasy-romance that is truly timeless.

A Street Cat Named Bob (2016 – 103 mins – Amazon Prime)

Why should I watch this? Based on a true story, that has since resulted in 9 books, Bob was a street cat who adopted a human called James Bowen (planned in the film by Luke Treadaway). In 2007 Bowen enrolled on a methadone programme, busking in Covent Garden, and living in a supported housing programme in Tottenham, London. One night he returned home to a ginger cat (Bob, playing himself) in his hallway. When no-one claimed Bob, decided to help Bob and keep him. In doing so, James’ life was changed forever, as recounted in this very sweet feelgood movie. Click here to read my full review.

Hotel Artemis (2018 – 94 mins – Amazon Prime)

Why should I watch this? Hotel Artemis sure isn’t perfect, but it is ambitious and so entertaining. Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, the film follows the Nurse (Jodie Foster), who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals. With a cast that includes Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto and Dave Bautista, Hotel Artemis is an immensely entertaining romp. It’s also made even more impressive when considering it’s relatively small budget of $15.5 million. There’s some superb world building going on here with an immensely compelling narrative. Click here to read my full review.

A Man Called Ove (2017 – 115 mins – Amazon Prime)

Why should I watch this? This is an example of a film that should persuade you to look past it’s subtitles if you are someone who is usually resistant to them. This Swedish film is an adaption of Fredrik Backman‘s novel of the same name. Ove (Rolf Lassgård) is a true curmudgeon, old and ill-tempered, he has cut himself off from the world since the death of his wife the previous year – and even then he had as little as possible to do with anyone as he could. He’s finally given up on life when his boisterous new neighbours inadvertently interrupt his plans. Darkly funny and uplifting, this is a real gem of a film.

The Incredible Jessica James (2017 – 83 mins – Netflix)

Why should I watch this? One of Netflix’s many own movies that seem to slip under the radar, this is a real treat to watch. It’s the story of Jessica James (a magnetic Jessica Williams) who strikes up a new friendship with Boone (Chris O’Dowd) whilst rebounding from a break-up with Damon (LaKeith Stanfield) whilst also working out what on earth she should be doing with her life. A really charming way to spend 83 mins!

Something-To-Watch Saturday

Oh my god we’re back again. After a few weeks break, I’m bringing Movie Mondays back – as promised, in a slightly tweaked format. Each Saturday I will be recommending 7 films from across multiple platforms; in a bet to counter that weekend feeling where you ended up flicking across platforms for ages, trying to decide watch to watch. Sometimes I’ll make some picks according to seasonal events, the weather, what’s going on in the world and sometimes just because I think they’re rather brilliant. Hope you enjoy!

The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019 – 97 mins – Netflix)

Why should I watch this? This story of a young man who has Down Syndrome (Zack Gottsagen) escaping his nursing home and joining a man on the run (Shia LaBeouf) so he can pursue his wrestling dreams, with his carer (Dakota Johnson) in hot pursuit, is so wonderfully charming. Blending road trip with a touch of magical realism, this is a heart-warming tale tinged with a touch of bittersweet-ness. Simply wonderful. Click here to read my full review.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005 – 98 mins – Amazon Prime)

Why should I watch this? If you liked the mix of black comedy and trauma that made up Iron Man 3, there’s a good chance you’ll love this as it was written and directed by the same person – Shane Black. This is his take on a film noi/neo noir – with a thief (Robert Downey Jr, in the role that brought him back to the forefront), a private detective (Val Kilmer) and an actress become entangled in a murder mystery (Michelle Monaghan). Dark, witty and wickedly funny.

Wild Rose (2019 – 100 mins – Amazon Prime)

Why should I watch this? I firmly believe there’s something rather magical about a British feelgood story. The evidence for this theory? This corker of a movie. Jessie Buckley plays Rose, a Glaswegian powerhouse obsessed with Country music. Recently out of prison, her heart yearns for Nashville while she’s stuck living in an estate trying to look after her two children who know their grandmother (Julie Walters) far more than their mother. A feelgood story of dreams and reaching for the stars that will resonate with everyone.

Handsome Devil (2017 – 94 mins – Amazon Prime)

Why should I watch this? And now to Ireland, with this delightful indie drama about two total opposites, musical loner Ned (Fionn O’Shea) and beloved rugby star Conor (Nicholas Galitzine), forced to share a room at their boarding school. They bond over a shared love of music, watched over by their understanding teacher (Andrew Scott) – this is an underseen gem. Perfect for anyone who’s ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with.

Ex Machina (2015 – 108 mins – Netflix)

Why should I watch this? A three hander of a movie, set in one location, this is a superb science fiction drama made by and starring some of the finest actors of this generation. Written and directed by Alex Garland, Ex Machina is the story of a young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) selected by the company’s CEO (Oscar Isaac) to take part in a retreat, which is actually a cover for testing his latest artifical intelligence software (Alicia Vikander). Taut and oh-so thrilling.

Mudbound (2017 – 135 mins – Netflix)

Why should I watch this? Mudbound continues to be one of the most frustrating examples of an incredible film being ignored and/or forgotten films during an awards season. A truly gripping historical drama about two Mississippi families, one white (Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke and Garrett Hedlund) and the other black (Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, Jason Mitchell). Staring in 1939, Dee Rees‘ films is a brutal, illuminating and stunning tale of farming, friendship and prejudice.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015 – 116 mins – Netflix)

Why should I watch this? If you’re in need of an entertaining action romp, this is the one for you. With a beautiful cast (Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander and Elizabeth Debicki) wearing beautiful costumes in beautiful settings, this really is one for you. With an adoring fandom, that has only grown since it’s underseen release, Guy Ritchie‘s attempt at a James Bond movie is action-packed, funny and utterly charming.