Another (not quite) lockdown list

Another (not quite) lockdown list

We’re not really in lockdown anymore, but things are not normal either, and the cinemas are still shut (until next week), so here’s another (maybe the last) lockdown list for your viewing pleasure. It’s far from comprehensive, but these are films and series that I’ve enjoyed and are available to stream from Australia right now (and probably many other places too).

Still from Call Me By Your Name
Call Me By Your Name

Movies

Call Me By Your Name (Netflix)

This film instantly won a place amongst my all-time favourites when I first saw it back in 2017. If you don’t know anything about it, or if you want to read my fairly thorough take, you can read the post I put up at the time.

Pride (Netflix & SBS)

Fun, feel-good (and true) story of what wonderful things can happen when people realise they have more in common than they have differences between them, and so pull together to do great things.

Other Life (Netflix)

There are a small and slowly growing number of Australian Sci Fi movies out there, and this one is one of the more recent, and a worthy addition to the genre. Set in a near future, Ren and her business partner Sam have developed a powerful new drug that can compress time and transport users to a biological virtual reality. Sam wants to license it to the Government to be used as a new type of prison and, well, things don’t go to plan. 

Maiden

Maiden (Netflix)

The extraordinary and moving story of the first round-the-world all female yacht crew, and how they came to do what they did, and what happened next. 

Half of It (Netflix)

This is a very sweet and funny teen love story, which is basically Cyrano de Bergerac updated, and they’ve done a good job of it. Good for all the family, but also for adults who feel like watching something life affirming and easy to watch. 

Happy as Lazzaro (Kanopy)

A strange story about a family of share-croppers and in particular Lazzaro, a simple boy who befriends the land-owner’s son. By Italian film maker and acclaimed actress Alice Rohrwacher, this film has a magical realist, fairy-tale like quality to it.

Shoplifters

Shoplifters (SBS)

A makeshift family of outsiders living in poverty on the edges of Tokyo take in a young girl. A beautiful story of people making their own family and getting by the best they can. It won the big prize at Cannes in 2018 and was nominated for best foreign film that year at the Oscars and Golden Globes.

The 12th Man (SBS)

Based on the thrilling true story of a Norwegian resistance fighter who escaped the Nazis after a plot to liberate Norway from Nazi occupation goes wrong. 

Image from the film Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace (SBS)

Some excellent performances in this beautifully shot film about a war veteran who has found it difficult to adjust to life back home, and lives off the grid with his teenage daughter. A favourite of the Sydney Film Festival a couple of years ago, I wrote a review when I saw it at the cinema shortly afterwards, which you can read here

The Kindergarten Teacher (Kanopy and Stan)

A very very strange and uncomfortable story, but with a poignant, if somewhat depressing subtext. Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a happily married and dedicated Kindergarten teacher whose own kids are growing up and leaving home. She goes to poetry classes at night, but no-one really likes what she writes. A five-year-old boy in her class, Jimmy Roy (Parker Sevak) starts spontaneously composing extraordinary poems, and only Lisa can see she has a prodigy on her hands. From there things start to get increasingly weird. Maggie Gyllenhaal is fantastic in this strange role.

The Guilty (SBS)

A Danish thriller which plays out in real time when police officer Asger Holm, who has been temporarily reassigned to the police emergency service call centre, takes an unexpected incoming call. Things begin to spiral as Asger tries to take control of the situation. All the action takes place watching Asger take calls through his headset. A bit like the movie Locke in that way, but without the passing colourful lights and with higher stakes. And like Locke, it works surprisingly well. To make a film like this work, you need an air-tight script and an impressive lead actor (Jakob Cedergren) to carrying the film, and The Guilty certainly has both of those.

Eurovision Song Contest The Story of Fire Saga.

Eurovision Song Contest The Story of Fire Saga (Netflix)

Just released this week, this is a comedy about exactly what the title says, starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. I was fairly sceptical about this film, but Ferrell is a genuine Eurovision fan, and that shows with hilarious Easter eggs for fans throughout the movie, music that is both funny and could also very easily make it to the Euro-stage, and appearances by many recent Eurovision stars. A fun night in, especially in a year when there was no Eurovision.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (You Decide What Happens Next) (Netflix)

A choose your own adventure Kimmy Schmidt movie by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, and every bit as funny as the series was. Hilarious, and changes each time you make a different choice, so well worth watching more than once. You’ll need to watch on a computer or device that allows you to use the special features (it doesn’t work on Apple TV, but may work on other smart TVs and certainly works on laptops, phones and tablets).

TV Series

Middleditch & Schwartz (Netflix)

This is a short series of three one-hour improv shows by comedians Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz, who you will have seen if you’ve watched pretty much any US cable comedy series over the past decade or so. These were filmed at their lives stage shows, sometime last year presumably, and while also fairly silly (in the best possible way), the performances range from funny to extremely funny.

The Great.

The Great (Stan)

Written by Tony McNamara who also wrote The Favourite, this is very much of a similar hilarious and irreverent flavour. It draws heavily from history without being historical exactly, and tells the story of Catherine The Great, how she went from being a German minor aristocrat with very little to show for it, to became to be Empress of Russia and one of its longest rulers who was famous for leading Russia out of the dark ages. Very entertaining.

Homecoming Season 2
Homecoming Season 2

Homecoming (Amazon Prime)

Based on the podcast series by the same name (which had an equally star-studded cast), this series directed by Mr Robot creator Sam Esmail creates all the same creeping paranoia as the podcast version. The second season, which was only recently released, takes the story beyond the podcast and stars Janelle Monae, Hong Chau and Chris Cooper.

Catch 22 (Stan)

This was released last year, and if you missed it, it is a really well-done adaptation of the Joseph Heller novel (which was, of course, also made into a film back in the 70s). Set in Italy during World War 2 it is a tragicomic tale following an American air squadron.

Previously published lists for your viewing pleasure: