Netflix Highlights: February

So it’s March already, crazy right? But let’s not forget about February just yet! Our Netflix expert, Mark Blakeway, has put together this handy list of all the best new films which were added to the site last month.


LOVE

Love
Gasper Noé has some incredible films to his name (Irreversible, Enter The Void are personal favourites), but unfortunately for him he has set a standard so impeccably high that it was inevitable this would eventually lead to disappointment. His 3D film ‘Love’ may not meet the credible artistic heights of his previous work, but it’s now available on Netflix for you to enjoy. With the up-close-and-personal money shots you would expect when the words “3D” and “sex” are thrown together, his largely unloved ‘Love’ is for those looking for something a little different.


django-unchained-jamie-foxx

Django Unchained
If you’ve not been out to see Tarantino’s newest feature ‘The Hateful Eight’ yet, perhaps you can find the time (all 160+ minutes of it) to catch up one of his previous films, ‘Django Unchained’. Set in the Deep South, Jamie Foxx stars as Django – a slave looking to find his wife who was also sold off into slavery. Immensely violent, with a great script brought to life by a fantastic cast (Samuel L. Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerri Washington, Christoph Waltz), ‘Django Unchained’ is completely over-the-top and self-indulgent, but would you expect anything less from Tarantino.


departures

Departures
A tale of a man who leaves his dream job in an orchestra and becomes a nōkanshi – a traditional Japanese ritual mortician. The social and emotional effects of this decision and the impact on his life are explored in great detail, and at times it can be a little melodramatic. However, this 2009 Academy Award-winning Japanese film has an abundance of style, a score to match and a fantastic cast, so it’s difficult not to be captivated by this story. At just over two hours long – and the bulk of the film about death – it’s not for those easily trigged by long drawn out upsetting scenes backed by classical music.


Lone-Survivor

Lone Survivor
‘Lone Survivor’ details the events that took place while four Navy Seals attempted to carry out a counter-insurgency mission to take down one of the key Taliban targets.  Even though the title of the film essentially gives the game away, it does not detract from the sheer intensity of this war film. Set to epic music by Explosions In The Sky, this is a bloody, fast-paced and action-packed story based on real events. Some may deem it to be extremely dramatic, while others may find the violence obscene, but it is a remarkable tale that gets the heart racing.


Liar Liar

Liar Liar
Everyone should have seen this movie by now, ‘Liar Liar’ is an absolute comedy classic that deserves to be watched over and over again, and chances are you will have done so considering the amount of times it has been on TV. It is by no means groundbreaking; it is just a man who cannot help but tell the truth for a bit, but with Jim Carrey’s completely over-the-top style (as seen in the likes of Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty) this film has been a comedy favourite for decades. They don’t make ’em like they used to.


TENURED

Tenured
Gil Zabarksy stars as Ethan, a teacher with the added perk of having “tenure”, which in his head means he can do pretty much anything and can’t be fired. He swears in class, lets the kids do whatever they want, and generally dosses about achieving nothing. A sudden change in his life, combined with a Principle who hates him, results in him directing the school play – and everything comes under threat. It is a formulaic, easy-going, predictable comedy with a bunch of good performances, but the laughs keep on coming, unlike many other indie comedies that try to get sentimental.  Perfect viewing when you don’t want to pay too much attention to anything.

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Watch This Space: November 23 – 29

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

A film many are tipping for success at the Academy Awards next February is finally available for all to see this weekend, as Todd Haynes’ ‘Carol’ enters cinemas. Stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are both being touted as winners for their performance in this drama, so let’s see what all the fuss is about.

When you see the names Steven Spielberg and Tom Hank, you know you’re well and truly into Academy Award season.  Their latest collaboration, Bridge of Spies’, has already been making huge waves with critics and fans in America, meaning that it’s being tipped as an early contender across many of the categories, with particular focus on the performances of Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, as they star in this Cold War drama. Get our review here.

Another film that is pushing for awards this year is ‘Black Mass’With an all star cast including Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Joel Edgerton and Kevin Bacon this dark and twisted tale of one of America’s most famous criminals promises to be excellent. To see Depp back on top form is surely worth the trip to the cinema. Get our review here.

Something completely different to the spies, gangsters and love stories we get from the week’s other releases, as the latest offering from Disney Pixar, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ hits our screens. Whether you’ve got children, or just like to treat your inner child, this promises to be another treat from the animation kings.

ON TV

Tuesday 21:00 GMT: He has already featured in this week’s edition, but he’s so damn good, why not have an extra dose of Tom Hanks? Tune in to Film4 for one of his earlier and most celebrated roles in the 1993 smash hit ‘Philadelphia’

Wednesday 20:15 GMT: The living legend that is Jim Carrey has made some excellent comedy films over the years, but arguably his most loved is ‘Liar Liar’. Believe us when we say, you have to switch to ITV2 and catch this one.

Thursday 21:00 GMT: Whilst he’s disappeared out of the limelight slightly over the last few months, there is no doubt that Jack O’Connell is one of Britain’s top young talents. Before making the big break into Hollywood, O’Connell could be found in gritty, realist dramas such as ’71’. Enter the Belfast frontline with Film4 this Thursday. Take a look at our review here.

Friday 23:35 GMT: You can never have enough films about solo space missions, but one you may not have seen is the fantastic ‘Moon’ starring Sam Rockwell. Stay up late this Friday with BBC2 and enjoy the beauty of the rock in the sky.

Saturday 15:40 GMT: Like it or not, Christmas is coming, fast! Nothing screams festive more than the classic tale of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, which will have you reaching for the tissues. More4 have got your Saturday afternoon sorted.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Ex Machina: This is a film I had been dying to see all year, but I have a tendency to leave films on my to-watch-list for far too long. I finally got around to watching the directorial debut of Alex Garland last week and I was blown away. The film, which focuses on artificial intelligence, instantly broke into my top 20 for many reasons; brilliant acting performances, a stirring plot and beautiful cinematography. I cannot recommend this highly enough, but here’s our review in case you need more persuading. JB

Ghost: This is a film that has divided critics and audiences, but we love a bit of controversy here at JumpCut UK, so we’re going to encourage you to watch 1990 film ‘Ghost’. This is a comedy/drama/horror/romance story about two lovers, starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore with a twist – Swayze’s character is dead and has become a ghost. Sounds a little far fetched right? That was my initial reaction, but this is a really enjoyable film, perfect for cuddling up with your better half on the sofa as the winter nights draw in. Whoopi Goldberg also turns in a wonderful, Oscar winning performance. If you can get your head around the concept, we promise you won’t be disappointed. ND

We Need To Talk About Kevin: From a recent watch, to a film I first saw back at the time of release in 2011. Based on a rather fantastic novel of the same name, this film is a rare example where the adaptation, for me at least, beats the original. Aside from exceptional performances from Tilda Swinton and a young Ezra Miller, this is another film which is visually stunning, capturing an array of symbolism, and juxtaposing tense, gentle scenes with more chaotic moments. We really should be talking about Kevin and this dark depiction of family dynamics. JB

Downfall: This is a German film focused around the telling of Adolf Hitler’s last days in his underground bunker in Berlin, as the Russian troops invaded in 1945, bringing an end to World War II. This film is terrifically moving and bleak and is full of wonderful performances everywhere you look, none more so than Bruno Ganz’s performance as the Nazi leader. I visited Germany just as the film was being released on DVD back in 2005 and we stayed with a lovely family in Sankt Augustin. The German people are so proud of this film because it shows that, as a country, they are willing to talk about the atrocities that occurred and they understand the need to educate new generations about one of the most controversial and difficult times in the country’s history, a notion so passionately explained to me by the father of that particular family that it has stayed with me to this day. Please do not be put off by the fact that this is a German film and you’ll have to watch with subtitles, because it’s a hugely important message of humanity that transcends language all together. ND

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by  Jakob Lewis Barnes and Nick Deal