• George

Netflix 'n' Isolate

The apocalypse is here! The cinemas are shut and every film release from now until our final days has been postponed. If you need to fill this filmless void as badly as I do, I have put together a list of easy watches and all of them are available in the UK, on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I have films to make you laugh and films that restore your faith in humanity, I have compiled a list of some of my favourites. This can be a hard time and is characterised by much uncertainty, isolation and a constantly changing climate. It is important to come together as a family, or with friends and let ourselves escape and be transported away to other worlds. For this reason, films like contagion have not made the cut! I have picked instead, my favourite escapist films that are all available and are only a small click away.

Friends with Benefits

Jamie Rellis (Mila Kunis) is on a mission. Her goal? She has to recruit art director Dylan Harper (Justin Timberlake) and they instantly hit it off becoming fast friends, a friendship that quickly escalates into something more. The title gives this one away a little bit, the two become friends with benefits deciding to avoid the messy relationships and emotional dramas that have weighed them down in the past. The mix of Jamie's past troubles and Dylan's emotional unavailability makes them think it would be awful to become an item, but can they keep their arrangement casual and just be friends with benefits?

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are great in their respective roles, the actors have a clear chemistry which comes across on screen, making their relationship believable and real. They can deliver home the comedic moments as well as making the emotional beats hit surprisingly well for a romantic comedy. The two actors anchor this film well and play off each other very well, it is a lot of fun to experience their relationship and it is very easy to get caught up in it. Mila and Justin open each other up and you can see what feels like a genuine strong and modern relationship emerging between the two of them.

This film does something slightly original and takes the classic 'will they, won't they?' dynamic and subverts it into the idea that they clearly are attracted to each other, but can they resist falling for each other emotionally? It is a nice spin on the tropes of the romantic comedy and while it does become predictable at points it did come across as a refreshing look at the genre!

If you need something to have a good laugh at while being stuck at home then look no further than friends with benefits! It's light hearted and refreshing, it has a very funny cast and some of the scenes are side-bustlingly brilliant. I would really recommend this to anyone who is stuck at home! What excuse do you have, its even readily available on Netflix for you to watch now.


A Quiet Place

Lee Abbot (John Kransinski) protects his family in a post-apocalyptic America! Monsters who can detect the slightest sound prey on humanity and to survive, everyone must remain deathly silent. This tense thriller follows Lee Abbot and Evelyn Abbot (Emily Blunt), who is on the verge of giving birth, and their two children.

John Kransinski directs this film as well as starring in it, he has utter and complete control and creates a completely original plot and film. It is such an incredibly quiet film that draws you in and grabs you, not releasing until the final climatic and brilliant scenes. The characters are wonderful and the plot is so simple but works so well! I would definitely recommend a tactic of full immersion when watching this film. Turn out the lights and turn off your phone, and see how aware of you, you become. The slightest sounds will seem a million times louder and your own breathing will echo in your ears. The simple plot works so well because it is just one family helping each outer through incredibly terrible and tough times. At moments it almost dips into being a horror piece with a few slightly cheap jump scares, but it is mainly a very tense thriller! There must be a mention for the sound mix, the silence is deafening and when there is sound it is so incredibly well done.

The acting in this film is incredible. There are only very few spoken lines, most of the information is given to us through sign language and subtitles. All of the cast convey all of their emotions through facial expression, especially Emily Blunt. Her eyes tell us all we need to know about her character and it is something mesmerising to see. The whole cast put in an insanely amazing performance.

This film is a great one to watch while stuck at home! It will draw you in and help you quickly forget about the world around you. Along with this, the plot it tells is one of family and their love for one another and while the idea of the monsters are important they are not central. It does all boil down to the fact that is an amazing original film that is a thrill ride from start to finish. This is available on Netflix and one of my favourite films on this list.


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

The four most archetypal school teenagers (a jock, a nerd, a popular girl and a girl stuck inside her quiet, withdrawn shell) get sucked into the video game Jumanji and must fight their way through the game to escape. Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) is played by the nerd while the popular girl is in the body of Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black) which leads to some hilarious scenes as she stares in horror at her overweight, pudgy middle aged man body. Along with Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gilligan) and Franklin Finbar (Kevin Hart) they go on a hilarious, action packed and at some points touching adventure through the world of Jumanji!

The real highlight of this film is the 4 'characters' of the game and how they are complete mismatches with their archetypal teenage controllers. This creates a great amount of hilarity from all members of the cast, they all stand out at certain moments and play off one another so well. It is clear they loved making this film. The joy shines across the screen. The chemistry between them is fantastic and Jack Black is great as the popular girl, he weirdly enough owns the role!

Jake Kasdan (Director) creates an action packed and fun film. The emotional moments do come off as quite cheesy, they are well done though and keep the film moving along quite nicely. This is more than perfect for being stuck at home, it is stupid, cheesy and completely escapist. A whole family can sit down and fall in love with it, from the nerdy gamer who loves the references to the parents wanting something light and easy to watch. While this is not the greatest action film ever made by any stretch of the imagination, it is a fantastic watch and will whisk you away from the world of isolation! And, like all the other recommendation it is on Netflix now, so how can you say no.


Just Go With It

Danny (Adam Sandler) is a successful plastic surgeon using more and more outlandish stories about his ex-fiancé, he picks up young girls left right and centre. This is until he meets Palmer (Brooklyn Decker.) She spots the ring, he spins his wildest story about his soon to be ex-wife (actually his assistant Katherine (Jennifer Anniston)) and things progress downhill from there. Things only go from bad to worse when Palmer believes Katherine's children are actually Danny's and with one thing leading to another in true Danny style, all of them end up on holiday in Hawaii together.

This might seem like a highly convoluted plot and you would be right to think that but, each added layer is played for laughs and most of it works. This is a purely Adam Sandler film and if you do not like his style of comedy then this is not for you. Expect lots of sexual and sexist jokes along with some slapstick comedy and some truly awful accents. Especially from Nick Swardson who play Eddie. Jennifer Anniston is great, playing the shy and reserved assistant who eventually comes out of her shell as the evil ex-wife. The best laughs come from her lines, she is great.

Dennis Dugan (Director) creates exactly what you would expect from one of Sandler's comedies, nothing exactly special shines through. The obligatory shot of bikini clad girls can be expected alongside Hawaiian scenery. It shows you the kind of audience this film is geared towards. It is a lot of fun for everyone and most of the comedic moments hit well because of Sandler's and Anniston's brilliant chemistry. The emotional beats are lacking though and the second half of it does start to feel very predictable.

This film may not transport you to other worlds but the story is funny and will put a gigantic smile on your face. It is an easy watch and this is important in troubling times. I am sure this film could lift even the most anxious and melancholy spirit with its easy banter and casual viewing-style.


The Social Network

This is a biopic about Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his creation of Facebook. His Harvard dorm room is the founding site for his coding enterprise, and it is from here that he both starts on his path to fame and his path of betrayal. The film follows Mark and his best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) as they discover and build the idea to connect all Harvard students on a connected 'Facebook'. But did Mark steal the idea from the Winklevoss twins (both played by Armie Hammer)? The film deals with this topic well, using Mark's depositions with both Eduardo and the Winklevoss twins to set up and frame the plot. The plot that is predominately told through flashbacks.

First and foremost, the acting in this film is astoundingly good. Jesse Eisenberg is amazing as Mark. He nails his mannerisms and movements and by the end of the film you find yourself disliking, and even hating the character of Mark. This is a real testament to the directing and especially, the acting of Jesse. The other really standout performance (or should I say performances) comes from Armie Hammer who is able to differentiate so well between the two twins, making them not necessarily likeable but at least, sympathetic. This is one of those films where no one comes across brilliantly character-wise but the acting is just wonderful and is what makes this film so fantastic.

The only thing better than the acting is the directing. David Fincher is at his very best in The Social Network. Every single shot has been painstakingly planned, framed and edited. Have a look on YouTube to see the lengths that he goes to if you are interested, it is mind blowing! His clinical directing comes across in this film so well. It is worth mentioning that the Oscar winning score also sets the mood beautifully and is almost a character in its own right.

This is just a wonderful film and you will be hooked from start to finish. Amazing actors and an incredible director culminate into a well-crafted and intriguing story about the origins of Facebook. It tells it so well that it makes you question how original of an idea it really was. Even the name Facebook has its origins in something else from who recommended that Mark drops the, 'The' to Harvard's facial catalogue which started it all. If you need something more nuanced and thought-provoking this is a great example. It shows a film-maker at his best and is on Netflix now.


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