When it’s sweltering hot outside, so hot you can’t even have fun at the beach, you’re covered. When you’re settling in on Boxing Day with nothing to do, you’re covered. When you’re trying to recover from a big night on New Year’s Day, you’re covered. How, you ask? By settling in on the couch and catching up on all the films you might not have heard about but should have watched in 2017. Here they are.
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a comedy-meets-thriller guaranteed to keep you on your toes. A depressed nursing assistant, Ruth (Melanie Lynskey), returns home one day to discover her home has been burgled. Ruth sets out, alongside her insufferable neighbour Tony (Elijah Wood), to find the thieves and chaos ensues. While the film does touch on heavy subjects such as gender dynamics, there is a light-hearted feel to this movie that makes it a perfect pick for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Chalk up another win for Netflix.
True crime podcasts have been having a moment in the spotlight lately – so much so, the genre has extended its reach to film. Crown Heights is a biographical drama film adapted from a This American Life podcast. The movie tells the true story of Colin Warner (played by Lakeith Stanfield), an American man who was wrongfully convicted of murder. Warner spent 21 years in prison, before finally being exonerated in 2001 thanks to the help of his best friend, Carl King (played by Nnamdi Asomugha). Crown Heights is a timely and shocking story, but one that needs to be both seen and believed.
Sophia Coppola’s films have a dreamy, subtle quality that is hard to pass-up and her latest film, a remake of the 1971 movie The Beguiled, is no different. The Beguiled spotlights the story of Cpl. John McBurney (Colin Farrell), an injured Union soldier seeking refuge at an all-female boarding school in the American south. Soon, the women at the boarding school begin competing for his attention, which leads to dangerous rivalries. Even if you’ve seen the original, don’t pass on The Beguiled; it stands easily on its own two feet.
First They Killed My Father
Angelina Jolie’s latest directorial effort First They Killed My Father takes us to Cambodia. It’s 1975, the Khmer Rouge has just assumed power, and five-year-old Loung Ung is forced to flee with her family from their home in Phnom Penh. Their quest for survival begins. During the Khmer Rouge’s four-year reign of terror, Ung is forced to work at a labour camp; separated from her family members, and finally forced to train as a child soldier. The film, based on Ung’s memoir, is told quietly yet forcefully. It’s not easy viewing, but it does give viewers an accurate retelling of Cambodia’s horrific past.
The Big Sick
Romantic comedies are a dime a dozen, but The Big Sick brings a new twist to the genre. The film tells the story of Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani), a Pakistani comic whose traditional Muslim parents are trying to find him a wife. But Kumail is developing a relationship with Emily (Zoe Kazan), who he met at one of his stand-up shows. When Emily falls ill and is placed in an induced coma, Kumail develops a bond with Emily’s spirited parents and is forced to come to terms with his own parents’ expectations. See, not your average rom-com.
Colossal starts on familiar terms: Gloria (Anne Hathaway) moves back to her hometown after breaking up with her boyfriend. Then, the film takes a turn. News reports surface that a giant reptilian kaiju is destroying Seoul, South Korea, leaving mass destruction and a trail of bodies in its wake. Gloria realises she is somehow connected to the creature, and that its movements correspond with her own. Naturally, she sets out on a mission to figure out the connection and stop the destruction for good. You wouldn’t usually equate Anne Hathaway with science fiction, but that’s just one reason to add Colossal to your lineup.
20th Century Women
It’s 1979, and Dorothea Fields (Annette Bening) is a strong-minded single mother raising her adolescent son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) in a boarding house in Santa Barbara, California. Worried that she can’t connect with her son, Dorothea enlists the help of three others to raise her son: free-spirited artist Abbie (Greta Gerwig); carpenter/mechanic William (Billy Crudup), and Jamie’s savvy best friend Julia (Elle Fanning). Unsurprisingly, life just can’t be that simple, and the various relationships begin to unravel. If you love films about the fast-moving and progressive 1970s, this is your movie.
Mary J Blige and Carey Mulligan star in Mudbound, a period film that tells the tale of two families – one black (the Jacksons) and one white (the McAllans) – in the Jim Crow south. Both families see a young man return from World War II to work the land and deal with post-war life: racism, prejudice and PTSD. In these volatile political times, Mudbound certainly hits a nerve. The film received Oscar buzz when it premiered at Sundance and was picked up by Netflix, where you can find it now.