Whilst the world is on pause and your Filmhouse Sunderland visits aren’t possible, we’re keeping the independent cinema flag flying with our new weekly watch lists from Chris & Jonny, the people behind the project.
Each Friday, we’ll post a list of four films that are currently available across BBC iPlayer, All4, Netflix and Amazon Prime that we think you should seek out.
This week’s selection is…
Apocalypse Now (15) (1979) (BBC iPlayer)
Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam epic is cinema on its grandest scale. Martin Sheen is Willard, the military captain who is sent into the jungle to find and retrieve rogue officer Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who has set up his own quasi-religious militia. Encountering a war gone mad and soldiers surviving on the edge along the way, Willard’s haunting, hallucinatory mission finds him edging closer to Kurtz in more ways than one… Renowned for its behind the camera legends as much as the film itself (see the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse), Apocalypse Now is quite simply one of the greatest movies of all time.
The Florida Project (15) (2017) (All 4)
In 2015 Sean Baker blasted onto the international filmmaking scene with Tangerine, shot entirely on iPhones and made with a tiny budget. His follow-up film increases the budget and adds an Oscar-nominated turn from Willem Dafoe, but it is equally exciting, unexpected and fresh. The Florida Project tells the story of Moonee, a precocious six-year-old and her ragtag group of friends. Moonee lives with her young mum at The Magic Castle, a rundown motel in Florida next door to Disney World. The building’s manager, Bobby (Dafoe), rules the place with a rod of iron and a heart of gold, and whilst Moonee’s summer is filled with wonder and adventure, her mother and the other families living in the complex struggle to survive and make ends meet. Beautifully told, and with stunning performances from the mostly unprofessional cast, The Florida Project is emotional and mature storytelling which casts a respectful eye on an underrepresented corner of society.
The Peanut Butter Falcon (12A) (2019) (Netflix)
This wonderful modern-day adventure story tells the story of Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down’s Syndrome who runs away from the nursing home where he lives. Zak’s broken free to follow his dream of attending the professional wrestling school of his idol The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). With his kindly nurse Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) hot on his tail Zak teams up with bitter outlaw-on-the-run Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) and as the pair evade capture and cross the North Carolina countryside their friendship develops. A warm-hearted and soulful comedy, The Peanut Butter Falcon is feelgood cinema at its best!
Carol (15) (2015) (Amazon Prime)
Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett dazzle in this intoxicating 1950s period drama from director Todd Haynes. Based on the novel ‘The Price Of Salt’ by Patricia Highsmith, Blanchett is Carol, an unhappy woman in the midst of a divorce. When she falls instantly for Therese, the department store assistant who she meets when buying a toy train for her daughter, the pair are swept up into a forbidden affair that threatens to break them both. Seductive and hypnotic, Carol boasts stellar performances, beautiful costumes and a fearless script. Utterly magnetic.
We’d love to hear what you think of the films we recommend – let us know!
See you next week,
Chris & Jonny