It’s official: summer is over. As the nights close in, we bid adieu to the beer garden as our social lives (and livers) take a break. So dial up Just Eat and Netflix (‘and chill’ optional).
Black Mirror Series 3 (2016)
Remember David Cameron’s #piggate? Well, Black Mirror had the jump a few years back. Which gives a big hint as to what sort of show it is (without quite falling foul of libel laws). Each episode of this Charlie Brooker-penned drama tells a different dystopian story, a peer into a near future that’s far from pretty. Back in the show’s Channel 4 days, that meant criminals who were forced to relive their sins every single day and a hostage situation that forced the prime minister to go in flagrante with a pig. But this third series was picked up by Netflix, which could mean things get even weirder, now there’s no advertisers to worry about. Probably not one for date night. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mYrWSY6Asg
Midnight Diner (2014)
Demonic horror and Yakuza thrillers are to Japanese cinema what arthouse is to the French. But there’s also merit in its blood-free offerings. In this comedy drama, a humble cook runs his kitchen from midnight to 6am against the backdrop of Tokyo. The restaurant operates like clockwork: same oddball regulars, same traditional meals. That is until a mystical obituary urn turns up. Cue intrigue and a heartfelt tale that shows the struggles of life in a super-modern city – perfect if you like your films abstract, without sharp edges. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZJQUGfazx4
Amanda Knox (2016)
Amanda Knox is arguably the most infamous woman in the world. And a conflicted one at that. To some sections of the media, she’s a femme fatale central to a sex game gone wrong. To others, she’s a doe-eyed Washington student led astray in a foreign country. For most networks, that’s the cue for jump cuts and Brass Eye graphics. But Netflix has previous experience in non-sensationalised true crime – just ask the millions who followed Steven Avery’s fate in Making A Murderer. Again, Netflix has interviewed the key players to pick apart a complicated case. And again, the honesty is as alarming as it is refreshing. No accusations of Satanic rituals. No sensationalised headlines. Just the truth. Or as close as we’re ever likely to get. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRLt2xBpQbQ
I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House (2016)
Netflix’s Originals are giving Hollywood studios a run for their money, and I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is its latest contender. But this isn’t quite as child-friendly as Stranger Things. A nurse is dispatched to care for a renowned horror novelist in her twilight years. Everything is well, until the haunting begins. And until the pages of her ward’s latest books appear to be not entirely fictional. Yes, it may all sound a bit clichéd ‘ghost house’, but I Am The Pretty Thing… is no teen-slasher stereotype – more looming dread and the constant feeling that something bad could happen. Rest assured, it does.
Eva Doesn’t Sleep (2015)
Not the complaints of a Chelsea yummy mummy, but an Argentinian film following political figurehead Evita Perón’s journey. Or at least her posthumous one. From autopsy table to ceremonial tomb, Eva Doesn’t Sleep depicts several figures involved in the politico’s end days – from the embalmer, to the military responsible for transporting her corpse and finally the kidnappers of an army general. A complex historical film yes, but still nice to watch something South American that isn’t all about cocaine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ_UwnmAhbg
A Single Man (2009)
As touching as it is stylish, Tom Ford’s directorial debut racked up more nominations than the Hillary Clinton presidential bid. George Falconer (played by Colin Firth) is a college professor grieving for his deceased partner, and the film takes us through an average day in his life. Sounds dry on paper, but this glimpse into the life of the lonely, the rejected and those on the margins of 1960s America is deeply affecting. The precursor to Ford’s upcoming Noctural Animals is terribly sad, but terribly well-dressed all the same. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC9Zm1UJ7zs