WITH THE CINEMAS closed, and Ireland in lockdown generally, we need distractions, good things to do, and stuff that will raise spirits, and this is where Netflix and Amazon come in.
There are probably numerous films you have been meaning to watch for ages, but have not got around to yet. Now you have the time, you might find the choice overwhelming! If so, here are my picks for the best films to check out on Netflix and Amazon Prime video.
First Reformed: This was my number one film of 2018, and it seems painfully poignant now. Ethan Hawke plays Reverend Ernst Toller who is having a crisis of faith, and so are his parishioners, especially when a woman comes to him and asks him if is it moral to bring a child into the world right now. A brilliantly written film by Paul Schrader which is an interesting companion piece for his 1976 tour de force Taxi Driver. Available on Netflix.
Spirited Away: If your children have seen every Disney and western animated movie available why not show them some Studio Ghibli classics from Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki? I would start with Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro, both available on Netflix, along with many other excellent titles from the same studio.
When Harry Met Sally: Without doubt the best Romantic comedy ever made. This Norah Ephron scripted masterpiece never fails to draw a smile. Meg Ryan owned Hollywood for a five-year period after this, and you can see why. Meanwhile, Billy Crystal is so charming he actually makes the pairing realistic. Which is it not. Available on Netflix.
Gone Girl: I did not like this movie when it first came out, but when I rewatched it last year I was very impressed. David Fincher's adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestseller is very funny and incredibly self aware. It sacrifices some excellent content from the book, but streamlines the plot into an examination of toxic masculinity and celebrity. The casting is particularly delightful (and Rosamund Pike should have won an Oscar ). Available on Amazon Video.
Midsommar: Even if you do not like horror movies, this is worth a watch. An excellent look at gaslighting and abusive relationships, it is set during a Swedish Wickerman-like cult festival where it is daylight 23 hours a day. Florence Pugh should have won an Oscar for this. Available on Amazon Video.
Spy Game: A personal guilty pleasure. Brad Pitt and Robert Redford are CIA agents and former friends. When Redford discovers Pitt is in a Chinese prison he puts his morale code to one side to break him out. Great fun from the late writer/director Tony Scott. Available on Amazon Video.
Logan Lucky: I am going to assume I do not need to recommend Contagion so I will recommend this other Stephen Soderbergh film which was barely advertised on its release two years ago. Starring Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, and Adam Driver it is a heist movie that is incredibly good fun and a great watch with the whole family. Available on Amazon Video