Quarantine means one thing: more time to watch movies that you’ve always wanted to watch. The list can be overwhelming, no doubt about that, so I thought I’d help you out a little bit by choosing 7 films currently streaming on Netflix. What are some of your favorites?
Loving Vincent 
You can think of “Loving Vincent” as a gift for art lovers and movie buffs alike. It’s a mesmerizing look at Vincent Van Gogh’s final days, as elegantly interpreted by a team of 100 professional painters who hand painted every single frame of this truly unique film. That’s right, you’re not just watching a story here, you’re getting lost in its surreal world, making it the world’s first ever fully painted movie. How can you miss that?
Private Life 
Paul Giamatti can play anything, and he’s completely convincing here as an everyday man going through fertility therapy with his wife (Kahtryn Hahn). In true Woody Allen fashion, a lot of things happen, affecting their personal relationship as well as their relationship with their family. “Private Life” isn’t a morality play; it’s just a really good story about two people trying to start a family of their own. But it does raise a very important question: how far are we willing to go to make that happen? It’s this burning question, presented in everyday terms, that enables us to invest emotionally in this movie, with the help of a fine acting ensemble, which also includes Kayli Carter, John Carroll Lynch and Molly Shannon. I found it very satisfying; in fact, I think it’s one of Netflix’s best movies.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer 
A dark, twisted modern Greek tragedy, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” hits you right between the eyes. Colin Farrell immerses himself completely to a complex role and leaves you shattered. He plays a surgeon and a family man who also happens to hang out with Martin, the 16- year-old son of one of his former patients. Why? That’s the mystery at the core of Yorgos Lanthimos’ mesmerizing film. It’s difficult to talk about the story without revealing key plot points, so that’s all I’m going to say, the better to let you get lost in its dark poetry and intriguing mystery. Lanthimos isn’t interested in satisfying a mainstream audience, but his film is undeniably unique and thought provoking. At the end, you may leave with your head spinning, but “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” will have you talking plenty.
You’d think with movies like “Rocky”, “Cinderella Man”, Million Dollar Baby” and “The Fighter”, Hollywood would run out of good boxing stories to tell. Hold on tight. “Southpaw” is a beast of a movie, an emotional roller coaster that threatens to go off the rails, but never does. Jake Gyllenhaal trained for four months and gained 15 pounds of muscle to play light-heavyweight champ Billy Hope. His wife, Maureen (Rachel McAdams), wants him to slow down and spend more time with his family. The plot truly kicks off when Maureen is involved in a shooting accident sparked by Miguel Escobar (Miguel Gomez), a fighter who thinks he can beat Billy anywhere, anytime. How Billy deals with the situation is spoiler territory that merits careful treading. But Gyllenhaal’s ferocity and feeling pull you in. The brutal boxing action is skillfully staged, and all the actors score knockouts. But it’s the fiercely moving family drama that really matters here, and director Antoine Fuqua and his talented crew never lose sight of that. If you’ve never seen “Southpaw”, now’s the time.
Andrew Garfield is superb in “Breathe”, completely immersing himself in the role of Robin Cavendish, a British army captain who was taken ill with polio and given just months to live. His wife (played by Claire Foy of “The Crown”), can’t accept it. How could she? Refusing to give up, they decide to escape the hospital life and settle down in their beautiful country house. What happens next is nothing short of inspiring. Based on a true story, “Breathe” is so powerful that even a mediocre adaptation would have been emotional, but director Andy Serkis and Andrew Garfield give it something extra special. This movie was overlooked at the time of its release, but now that it’s on Netflix, I hope it finds the audience it deserves.
Sometimes a great actor is all you need to turn a routine movie about addiction into something memorable. That would be Denzel Washington, who is a snapping live wire in the role of Capt. Whip Whitaker, a commercial pilot who performs heroically in the air, but can’t control his own life on the ground. Director Robert Zemeckis is no stranger to air disaster movies (recall “Cast Away” with Tom Hanks). Yet despite its pulse pounding first act, “Flight” is neither an action movie nor a movie with fancy effects. It’s about a man with an addiction, and Zemeckis, at the top of his game, directs with an incredible eye for details. “Flight” is poignant, fierce a heartfelt.
Phantom Thread 
Daniel Day Lewis is a genius. Having tackled so many different characters throughout his career (he took home 3 Oscars as a result), he oddly insisted that his role as Reynolds Woodcock, a British dressmaker in the 1950’s would be his very last. A damn shame? You bet. But what a sendoff. Working with the Master himself Paul Thomas Anderson once again (they previously did wonders with “There Will Be Blood”), Lewis dazzles in a film that alludes to 1950’s films, but it’s a richly detailed piece of work all its own, a love story that dares to take its time. From the stunning dresses to Jonny Greenwood’s haunting score, “Phantom Thread” is a feast for the eyes. And Lewis, wearing his role like a second skin, delivers yet another landmark performance. It’s a thing of beauty and terror. Same goes for the movie.
Categories: The Twenty-First Century