Looking for some filmspiration? There are so many brilliant movies to be found on Curzon Home Cinema, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Sky Cinema and BFI at the moment whether you’re after a comedy, drama or cinematic masterpiece.
Take a look at the movies that need to be added to your summer watchlist immediately…
Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie bring movie-star wattage to this explosive and very timely real-life drama. It’s about the women at giant US cable TV network Fox News who put their heads above the parapet in 2016 and brought down their powerful boss for sexual harassment. Theron and Kidman play two of the actual women involved: Oscar-nominated Theron, with subtle help from prosthetics and makeup, is an uncanny match for primetime news anchor Megyn Kelly, and Kidman plays her fellow Fox News luminary Gretchen Carlson, the woman who lit the fuse for the scandal. Robbie’s character, Kayla Pospisil, is a fictional composite representing the stream of women who endured harassment and abuse from Fox News co-founder and CEO Roger Ailes. Creepily played by John Lithgow, Ailes was the man who set the network’s right-wing agenda and who insisted on the big-haired, tiny-skirted, ‘Anchor Barbie’ look of its female presenters – and ensured they sat behind clear-glass desks to show off their legs to the viewer. Slickly directed by Jay Roach (maker of the Austin Powers movies) from a tartly witty script by Charles Randolph (The Big Short), the account of Ailes’ belated downfall is sharp, satirical, and as exciting as a thriller.
Director: Jay Roach
15, 109 mins
Available on Curzon Home Cinema, iTunes, Amazon, Sky Store
We never see the unnamed boss for whom Julia Garner’s self-effacing young assistant, Jane, works in this quietly chilling drama for the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up. But it’s not hard to imagine the toxic presence of a Harvey Weinstein – or someone equally sleazy – looming just out of sight. We keep Jane company as she goes through a typical day at the Manhattan film company she has recently joined – making the coffee, printing reports, fending phone calls from her boss’s vexed wife. And we share her pent-up unease as it dawns on us what he is getting up to with the young aspiring actresses who visit his office. (Cleaning the boss’s sofa is Jane’s ickiest task.) Australian writer-director Kitty Green, her background in documentaries apparent in her film’s humdrum realism, ensures we also share Jane’s sense of helplessness – underlined on this day by her trip to see Matthew Macfayden’s smoothly condescending HR boss. However much we may wish this to be the tale of a heroic whistleblower bringing down a sexual predator (you’ll need to watch Bombshell for that), Jane is powerless in this particular office environment. All the same, Garner dominates the film, her mesmerising performance conveying the inner steel that’s needed to survive a workplace like this.
Director: Kitty Green
15, 87 mins
Available on Curzon Home Cinema, iTunes, Amazon
Film noir is not a genre one readily associates with Romanian Cinema – best known for neorealist fare about the grey misery of life under communism. But this playfully slippery thriller doesn’t only boast such familiar elements as a world-weary detective, a gorgeous femme fatale and a twisty plot, it’s also cracking fun. Cristi (Vlad Ivanov), the movie’s surprising hero, is a shady middle-aged cop striving to play off a crime cartel and his equally bent police colleagues against each other. Along the way, the gangsters send him to La Gomera in the Canary Islands to learn a secret whistling language (Silbo Gomero; it really exists), and his fate becomes bound up with the beautiful, enigmatic Gilda (Catrinel Marlon), girlfriend of one of the crooks. There is so much double dealing and double crossing going on, it will make your head spin. Don’t worry if the plot slips out of your grasp. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
15, 98 mins
Available on Curzon Home Cinema
The Man who Killed Don Quixote
Three decades in the making, Terry Gilliam’s fabulously quixotic updating of Miguel de Cervantes’ famous tale finally sees the light. At the turn of the millennium, Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort were all set to play the leading roles of loyal squire and dotty knight – until the project collapsed amid a series of flabbergasting disasters, including a flash flood, overflying NATO warplanes and sudden illness, as related in 2002’s tragicomic fly-on-the-wall documentary Lost in La Mancha. The film now stars Adam Driver as Toby, a cynically jaded director of commercials who revisits the Spanish village where he once cast Jonathan Pryce’s local cobbler, Javier, as Quixote in his student film. The delusional Javier, it turns out, now believes he really is the knight and that Toby is his squire, Sancho Panza. It’s a role Toby finds himself forced to play for real, more or less, when the pair go on the run from the police. The resulting adventure is inventive, chaotic, funny, and touchingly melancholy, giving Gilliam the opportunity to tilt his satirical lance at the modern world and offer a salute to die-hard dreamers everywhere.
Director: Terry Gilliam
15, 133 mins
Inspired by his grandfather’s tales of his experiences during the First World War, Sam Mendes’ epic war movie vividly brings home the horrors of the Western Front. Filmed as if in one continuous shot, 1917 plunges us into the heat of the action as young British soldiers Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) undertake a seemingly impossible mission through no-man’s land to deliver a message that will stop their comrades, including Blake’s own brother, from falling into a German trap. Mendes has produced a thrillingly immersive movie with moments of heart-clutching tension. We might be even more involved in the soldiers’ fates were we not also boggling over the staggering technical feats that went into the film’s making. A triumph none the less, the film swept the board at the Baftas, bagging seven awards including Best Film and Best Director, and went on to win Oscars for Roger Deakins’ remarkable cinematography and for visual effects and sound mixing.
Director: Sam Mendes
15, 119 mins
Available on iTunes, Amazon, Sky Store
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
A bright 17-year-old high-school student living in small-town Pennsylvania, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) has her fears confirmed when she learns she is pregnant. She can’t obtain an abortion in her home state without parental consent, so she travels to New York with her supportive cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) by her side. But with no place to stay and limited resources, the pair face problems and obstacles at every turn. Without ever resorting to melodrama, writer-director Eliza Hittman (It Felt Like Love, Beach Rats) has created a powerfully understated, quietly political and touchingly empathetic drama about a young woman’s all-too-recognisable ordeal. From first to last, it’s supremely naturalistic, with performances to match from superb newcomers Flanigan and Ryder.
Director: Eliza Hittman
15, 101 mins
Available on iTunes, Amazon
All-American couple Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are on a skiing holiday in the Alps with their two young children when a near miss from an avalanche puts their relationship to the test. Indeed, the snow has barely settled before the wrangling and recriminations begin, exposing perilous cracks in their relationship. As you would expect from the presence of comic stars Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus, this Hollywood remake of Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s deliciously unsettling 2014 movie Force Majeure broadens the original’s dark humour (squirming discomfort has rarely been this fun), but along with the laughs goes a portrayal of a fraying marriage that is every bit as keenly observed and insightful. Ferrell’s goofy everyman persona pays unexpected dividends here, while Louis-Dreyfus is magnificent as his seething spouse. Together they hit the spot in a film that will have couples debating the characters’ actions as soon as the credits roll.
Directors: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
15, 86 mins
Available on iTunes, Amazon