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…
The Producers (PG) (1967) (BBC iPlayer)
Mel Brooks’ wild and slapstick satire is a perfect blend of comic timing, inspired writing and hilarious performances. Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) used to be the toast of the Broadway scene, but now the once-great producer is offering sexual favours to wealthy old ladies to fleece them out of their cash. When Max’s meek accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) suggests that he could see a major payday by finding investors for a new production which then goes on to flop, the pair set out to create the worst production possible. “Springtime for Hitler” is born…
The Big Lebowski (18) (1998) (Netflix)
The Coen Brothers’ mellow masterpiece followed up their critically-acclaimed Fargo and had a LOT to live up to on its release. 20+ years later the film is a pop-culture staple, with Jeff Bridges’ The titular Lebowski / ‘The Dude’ now an iconic character. Laid-back and easygoing, Dude just happens to have the same name as a millionaire whose wife is in debt to some dangerous criminals. So naturally, trouble comes a-callin’ and he gets caught up in the midst of the LA underworld, taking his friends Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) along for the ride. An impeccable LA Noir send-up, The Big Lebowski is a berserk stew of hilarious writing, great performances (including a TERRIFIC Julianne Moore and John Turturro) and true genius.
Naked (18) (1993) (All 4)
Mike Leigh’s brutal film is a harsh exposé of Britain in the 1990s, packed with caustic wit and exceptional, committed performances. Coming back to cinemas in a rerelease later in 2021, Naked stars David Thewlis as Johnny, fleeing Manchester after committing a terrible crime. Unemployed and on a nocturnal odyssey through London, Johnny comes into contact with an array of disparate, broken people as he navigates the city at night, including his ex-girlfriend Louise (Lesley Sharp), and Sophie (Katrin Cartlidge), the flatmate that wants his affection. Dark, dramatic, and one of Leigh’s greatest works, Naked is an uncomfortable and essential British masterpiece.
Stop Making Sense (PG) (1983) (Amazon Prime)
Jonathan (Silence Of The Lambs) Demme’s incredible film of Talking Heads’ Speaking In Tongues tour captured the frantic, enjoyable energy of the band’s stage show. Shot at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in 1983, the film sees the band take to the stage to perform their huge collection of art-rock hits, led by frontman David Byrne. Focusing on the action on stage, rather than the usual offstage antics which make their way into the average concert film, Stop Making Sense could just be the greatest concert film ever made….AND it has Byrne in that enormous iconic suit too!
We’d love to hear what you think of the films we recommend – let us know!
See you next week,
Chris & Jonny