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 #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.