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…
A Hard Day’s Night (U) (1964) (BBC iPlayer)
John, Paul, George and Ringo make their feature film debut in this breathless slice of pop perfection, presented via a fully restored negative and digitally restored soundtrack. Starting with The Beatles running away from their adoring fans, director Richard Lester never lets the pace slip as the Fab Four head from Liverpool to a TV appearance in London, with Paul’s granddad (Wilfrid Brambell) in tow. A magical mock-doc, this is a beautiful ‘day-in-the-life’ film and still shines almost 60 years later.
Things To Come (12A) (2016) (All 4)
French superstar Isabelle Huppert never delivers a dud performance. She absolutely dazzles in this story of a passionate middle-aged philosophy professor who rethinks her life after an unforeseen divorce. Huppert is exquisite as the brittle, damaged Nathalie, weathering the storm of her life being upended by her husband’s infidelity and her mum’s illness. Less concerned with looking at the ‘stuff’ that has changed Nathalie’s life, and more with how she is able to survive, Mia Hansen-Løve’s (Eden) film is a wistful delight to curl up with a cuppa with.
Rocks (12A) (2019) (Netflix)
Fresh, funny and authentic, Sarah Gavron’s Rocks was one of the most eagerly anticipated British films of 2020 before recently making its bow in cinemas and on Netflix. It’s the story of sixteen-year-old Shola (aka Rocks), a British-Nigerian schoolgirl living in Hackney, East London. With a defiantly sunny outlook, nothing seems to phase Rocks, but when her depressive mum walks out on her and her younger brother leaving just £30 she is suddenly thrust into the role of parent, and must ensure that she and her brother don’t head to foster care…. Anything BUT miserable, Rocks is a gloriously upbeat film and terrific acting newcomer Bukky Bakray stands proud at its centre.
Crazy Rich Asians (12A) (2018) (Amazon Prime)
This superb, glossy rom-com is a real watershed moment for representation in Hollywood, with an exclusively Asian, Asian American and diaspora Asian cast. Adapted from Kevin Kwan’s bestseller, this is fairytale stuff, with normal girl Rachel falling for her prince charming Nick, and landing smack bang into the world of the elite. Heading off to Nick’s best friend’s wedding in Singapore, Rachel finds out that he is considered one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Suddenly thrust into the spotlight, she must now navigate jealous socialites, his odd relatives and disapproving mother… A terrific cast, including Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh plus great direction from John M. Chu keep the tempo up, the laughs coming and most importantly, the rom-com formula nice and fresh!
We’d love to hear what you think of the films we recommend – let us know!
See you next week,
Chris & Jonny