Week 2 lockdown list – films to watch on Netflix and SBS on Demand

Week 2 lockdown list – films to watch on Netflix and SBS on Demand

The Two Faces of January

Hope you’re all doing well, and starting to adjust to the indoor life. Here are some films and TV shows help you along, it’s week 2 of the lockdown list. Like last week’s I’ve categories these into shades of feel-good escapism, from the very light through to darker or more complex fare, for you to select from according to how you’re feeling. This one includes a selection from both Netflix Australia and SBS on Demand (thanks once again to friends who contributed). I’ll extend to other Australian sites in the coming weeks.

Movies or TV show to watch when you need something light, fun or feel-good

Perks of Being a Wallflower (Netflix) A classic coming-of-age film about a group of friends who don’t fit in, except together.

Begin Again (Netflix) Keira Knightly is an up and coming songwriter, apparently. Simple, feel-good film, also starring Mark Ruffalo, things don’t go well, and then they do.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Netflix) The 80s teen comedy classic, kind of stupid and full of 80s clichés, but entertaining nonetheless, and about someone taking control when they really have none.

Good Girls (Netflix TV show) Entertaining show about three women who hit tough times and take control of their lives by getting involved in a spot of organised crime. Not as iconic as Breaking Bad, which really is the pinnacle of this sub-genre, but fun, and not a bad way to while away the lock-down.

Still from Icelandic film Woman at War
Woman at War

Woman at War (SBS on Demand) a brilliant Icelandic film about a choir master by day, an underground activist by night. A fantastic, fun and funny film about fighting against the powers that be, with plenty of scenes in the stunning Icelandic landscape.

Ali’s Wedding (SBS on Demand) A light, enjoyable Australian film about the son of a Muslim cleric who falls in love and has to chose between following his heart or going through with an arranged marriage.

Mr Holmes (SBS on Demand) Ian McKellan is Sherlock Holmes in retirement, battling a fading memory he returns to an old case.

Mon Oncle (SBS on Demand) A classic French comedy from the early 1950s, this is truly one of my all-time favourites since I was a kid. This movie is great for kids as much as adults, the physical humour completely holds up today, and there’s a satirical subtext about the alienation of modern industrialised life, which takes on a very different significance these days, and seems more of an instructional guide to social distancing. In any case, the movie is hilarious. There are subtitles, but the film is mostly visual with not a lot of dialogue, and any dialogue there is isn’t really relevant.

Good movies that are a little dark or dramatic

The Lives of Others

The Lives of Others (SBS on Demand) The Academy Award winning German film about an East German Stasi spy during the Cold War who becomes obsessed with one of his targets.

Barbara (SBS on Demand) Set in 1980s East Germany, a doctor tries to escape to the west but is caught and finds herself reassigned to a small town.

The Two Faces of January (SBS on Demand) a good thriller based on a Patricia Highsmith novel about a con-artist (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife (Kirsten Dunst) who find themselves in deep trouble in Greece, and have to rely on the help of a stranger (Oscar Isaac).

The Little Drummer Girl (TV Show – SBS on Demand), a stylish spy-thriller mini-series based on the novel by John Le Carré starring Florence Pugh, Michael Shannon and Alexander Skarsguard and directed by Chan-wook Park (The Handmaiden, Stoker, Oldboy). For more recent Le Carré adaptations don’t forget The Night Manager, available streaming on iTunes and Foxtel Go.

The Bureau

The Bureau (TV Show – SBS on Demand) several seasons of viewing in this fantastic French spy drama. Very entertaining, and frequently goes completely over the top. Highly recommended.

A Separation (SBS on Demand) Award winning Iranian film about a couple getting divorced.

The Duchess (Netflix) about the life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire who led an unusual life for a women in 18th Century England.

Interstellar (Netflix) Christopher Nolan’s epic sci fi drama starring Matthew McConaughey (and look out for Timothée Chalamet in one of his first, possibly his actual first, feature film role).

Gran Torino (Netflix) Clint Eastwood is a grumpy old man who is totally alone and fine with that, just him and his beloved Gran Torino car. Then he befriends a couple of young people from the local Hmong community and everything changes.

Amy (Netflix) Heartbreaking and excellent documentary about Amy Winehouse, featuring personal footage and interviews with the people who shared her tragically short life.

Trumbo (Netflix) Based on a true story, about Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (played by Bryan Cranston) who wrote around 70 screenplays during his career, despite being blacklisted for his political beliefs during the McCarthy era. He even managed to win an Oscar for writing Roman Holiday, despite being blacklisted at the time (which was formally accepted by the credited writer, a friend of Trumbo’s).

God’s Own Country

God’s Own Country (Netflix) The story of an isolated Yorkshire farmer who drinks too much and is generally a very unhappy man, until a Romanian migrant worker turns up on his farm and they begin a romantic relationship. Starts off a fairly dark and tortured film (about social isolation a time when people often had a choice in such things… ah… good times), but things get better, mostly.

Great movies that you should only watch if you’re feeling up to it

Life (Netflix): There’s life beyond Earth, but it certainly isn’t as we know it. This has to be the most uniformly attractive space crew you’ll ever see (except possible the crew in Danny Boyle’s film Sunshine), but that won’t stop things on this mission go fairly radically off-track.

A Quiet Place (Netflix): This is sort-of a lockdown story, but instead of hiding from microbes these people are hiding from big nasty alien creatures, and when they to go into lockdown they have to do it without Netflix or Spotify, and not making any noise whatsoever. Time to catch up on this first film before the sequel is finally released (when we can go back to the cinemas again… it was originally being release in April, but The sequel is now, of course, on hold, like everything else).

Good Time

Good Time (Netflix): Not their first feature, but this was the film that got everyone talking about the Safdie Brothers (aside from the people who already knew them). Starring Robert Pattinson in one of his (now many) seriously indie/art-house roles where he once again shows how good an actor is actually is. This is a good film, but not a good time, as the title claims. It is well made, interestingly shot with candy neon colours everywhere, but like the Safdie’s most recent film Uncut Gems, this is hard going. At the end I needed a good lie down.

Sophie’s Choice (Netflix): One of Meryl Streep’s most iconic roles (she had a lot of them), this is a very hard film to watch, but beautiful and a classic. It was directed by Alan Pakula who made iconic films like Klute, All the President’s Men, and the Parallax View.

Sicario (Netflix): Emily Blunt stars as an FBI agent flighting against the drug trade along the Mexican/US border. There are some pretty grim sequences in this film, but a good crime thriller nonetheless.

Movies that are so stupid they’re entertaining

Skyscraper (Netflix) – A completely pointless remake of Die Hard, but starring The Rock, which entirely defeats the purpose of the whole story because The Rock is invincible, and everyone knows it. Still, fun to watch if you feel like something silly, and there’s a very entertaining review of the film here, and then, if you want some more, listen to How Did This Get Made ep #201.

Underworld: Blood War (Netflix) – the millionth (give or take) film of the Underworld franchise, watch this, then listen to the episode of How Did This Get Made (ep #235) a couple of weeks ago for a laugh.

If you haven’t already seen my previous posts making both Netflix and SBS recommendations, take a look at the various links below:

Netflix Lockdown list (the original)

Films you can stream on SBS right now