Another weekend means another opportunity to catch up on movies. This week: the latest Tarantino, early Céline Sciamma, childhood classics and scientific biopics.
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood (2019, directed by Quentin Tarantino, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt & Margot Robbie)
Where can I watch it? SkyGo and NowTV.
What is it about? In the golden age of Hollywood, struggling western star Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth (who also happens to be his best friend) try to keep up with an ever changing cinematic industry. Next door to Dalton’s residency up in the hills of Los Angeles live the famous director Roman Polanski and the angel-like Sharon Tate, slowly on her own path to fame. Not too far from there, a mysterious cult led by the enigmatic Charles Manson is getting ready to terrorise Cielo Drive. Their three stories will intertwine in the most unexpected ways in a film combining fact and fiction in a decidedly original way.
Why should I watch it? As much as Tarantino has proven to be controversial throughout the course of his career, there is a clear reason why he remains one of the most popular directors of the past few decades: he knows how to make entertainment. Don’t let the nearly 3 hours long runtime discourage you: if you let yourself be swept in the film’s peculiar 60s atmosphere and multiple storylines, you will be in for quite the ride. Supported by an all around excellent cast and exhibiting some of Tarantino’s strongest direction in the past few decades, this might leave you either full of hatred or admiration, but one thing is sure: you won’t stay indifferent.
The best of our streaming picks for: Classic Hollywood fans and true crime enthusiasts.
- Water Lilies (2007, directed by Céline Sciamma, starring Adèle Haenel and Pauline Acquart)
Where can I watch it? Mubi.
What is it about? As Parisian teenager Marie watches her local synchronised swimming team practicing, something awakens in her: she just knows she has to join it too. But is she really interested in the sport, or is it just a result of her fascination with the beautiful and mysterious Floriane, the team’s captain? And how about her best friend Anne, who feels more and more abandoned by the other girls as their relationship develops into something between disdain, friendship and attraction? Marie may not have all the answers, but she knows one thing: nothing will stop her from getting on the team.
Why should I watch it? Portrait of a Lady On Fire earned itself a mention on one of our previous streaming picks article, and it is with great happiness that we learned that MUBI will be streaming Céline Sciamma’s entire filmography throughout the course of this month. As her directorial debut, Water Lilies already has the strengths that will mark her future work, including her former partner and muse Adèle Haenel. Although working with a much lower budget, the film proves itself to be an equally intense and genuine look at the subtleties of young teenage sexuality. Sometimes harsh, sometimes heartbreaking, always compelling.
The best of our streaming picks for: Those who liked Portrait, or anyone looking for a great coming-of-age story.
- Labyrinth (1986, directed by Jim Henson, starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly)
Where can I watch it? Netflix, SkyGo and NowTV.
What is it about? A teenage girl accidentally gives up her baby brother Toby to a goblin king, and must find her way through a magical maze to recover him in less than thirteen hours. Her journey will have her find musical numbers, talking animals, and many, many goblins. If that doesn’t sound weird enough for you, keep in mind that the main villain is David Bowie.
Why should I watch it? Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it: the very reason I was terrified of David Bowie as a child. Produced by George Lucas and probably one of the only representatives of the “dark fantasy musical” genre, Labyrinth is so thoroughly strange that its sole existence is enough to justify putting whatever you’re doing on hold and watching it right now. It is still hard to know exactly the kind of audience Jim Henson was aiming for with this story, but it is still a wild ride from start to finish. If you’re looking for something thoroughly unique and some quality 80s aesthetics, this is the one for you.
The best of our streaming picks for: Those who always wondered what it would be like to see their favourite RPG board game as a musical, as well as particularly adventurous children.
- Hidden Figures (2016, directed by Theodore Melfi, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer & Janelle Monáe)
Where can I watch it? Channel 4.
What is it about? Katherine G. Johnson. Dorothy Vaughan. Mary Jackson. These names most likely won’t sound too familiar to you, and certainly were never mentioned in any of your history classes. Yet these three African-American women and mathematicians were responsible for one of the biggest NASA operations in history: the first launch of a man into orbit. Adapted from the book of the same name, Hidden Figures brings back these women at the forefront of history.
Why should I watch it? A conventional “based on a true story” biopic often works because of two things: a real story good enough to keep us captivated and great performances. Fortunately for us, Hidden Figures has both. This may not have the most original direction, but it is a story that deserved to be told in an honest way, and this is a more than decent way to go about it. Watch it for the main trio and for some much needed inspiration in these tough times.
The best of our streaming picks for: A little pick me up when lockdown negativity starts hitting a bit too hard, or an educational family movie night.
Which one of our streaming picks will you be watching this week? What did we miss? Let us know, and see you next week for more!