Films to discover, films worth watching again

The Nightingale, As Good As It Gets, Gladiator, First Man

THE CINEMAS have not yet reopened and the nights have gotten even longer, so I have put together a list of some excellent films available on Netflix you might not have watched or be aware they are available on the service.

The Nightingale: This one is a tough one to recommend. It is an incredible film from Jennifer Kent who brought Babadook in 2014, a terrifying, deeply upsetting, film about a single mother losing her mind. This is equally, if not more, grim. Set in Tasmania in the early 19th century, it centres on a young Irishwoman who is sexually assaulted by British soldiers.

She enlists a local Aboriginal guide to lead her to the soldiers so she can exact her revenge. It is a very very tough watch but excellently made and Irish actor Aisling Franciosi gives an incredible performance. She is one to watch, looking forward to seeing her in a TV adaptation of Black Narcissus in a few months.

As Good As It Gets: Slight change of pace here. This is just comfort food for your brain. Unbelievably funny and would never be made today. As Good As It Gets is a good movie that is elevated to a great movie by its two central performances.

Jack Nicholson gives what I think is his last great performance as the politically incorrect boor who falls for Helen Hunt’s charming and kind waitress. Nicholson is an incredible comedic actor - and is funny even in his serious roles - but really nails it here. Hunt also won an Oscar for her charming performance.

Gladiator: OK, there are a several beheadings, a full scale battle, and an incest sub plot, but you cannot tell me this is not the best family movie to all gather around and watch on a dark winter's night. There is a half hour when our hero Maximus faces off in the Colosseum, gladiators on chariots, and then he finally confronts his nemesis who assumed he was dead. That might be the best 30 minutes of cinema this century - husband to a murdered wife, father to a murdered son, and all that. If it has been a few years since you have seen this, do yourself a favour and watch it again, and enjoy Hans Zimmer's incredible score.

First Man: Despite being nominated for a number of awards, this was still criminally overlooked when it came out in 2018. A fascinating film about the life of Neil Armstrong, based on a 2005 biography. He turned out to be a much more interesting person than I imagined.

Directed by Damien Chazelle who gave us La La Land and Whiplash this is a much more mature work. The scenes set on the moon are incredible. If you have a good home surround sound system this is one of those movies that makes that purchase worthwhile.


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