QUAD Cinema Programmer Adam Marsh returns with another batch of suggestions of films to stream at home during lockdown.
Among the usual mix of free offerings from All4 and BBC iPlayer (including a couple of family films for the last week of the school holidays), we’ve headed over to Amazon Prime and Netflix to pull together a round up of the Oscar nominated films available. Alongside the debuting Sound Of Metal on Amazon Prime, we’ve brought together some of the films that audience don’t always get the chance to see, films from the short subject categories. Get up to date for the Oscar ceremony on 26th April.
Day One – All 4
Hotel For Dogs
Arriving at a foster home with a 'strictly no pets' policy, 16-year-old Andi (Emma Roberts) and her younger brother Bruce (Jake T. Austin) realise they'll have to find a home for their dog Friday. On a trip downtown, the kids discover an old disused hotel that would be ideal for their needs. When they discover some of the local strays have already made it their home, they decide to take it one step further, turning the hotel into a refuge, and pleasure palace, for every stray mutt they can possibly find. But all the activity soon brings them to the notice of the police and the local dog-catchers, who valiantly, if stupidly, try to close down the operation.
Mary And The Witch’s Flower
Based on the novel by Mary Stewart, the film follows Mary Smith (voice of Hana Sugisaki), a young girl who moves to the country estate owned by her Great-Aunt Charlotte (Shinobu Otake). Bored and longing for an adventure, Mary follows a strange cat into a nearby forest and finds a magic broomstick which transports her to Endor College, a school for magic run by Madam Mumblechook (Yuki Amami) and Doctor Dee (Fumiyo Kohinata). However, things soon go wrong when a lie lands Mary in trouble.
The American Friend
Wim Wenders writes and directs this neo-noir crime drama starring Dennis Hopper as a seedy underworld figure who persuades an innocent, honest family man to become an assassin. In Hamburg, American Tom Ripley (Hopper) convinces his boss to employ Jonathan Zimmerman (Bruno Ganz), who is dying from a rare blood disease, to kill his next target, a rival gangster. Although he at first refuses, Ripley convinces Zimmerman to carry out the hit by convincing him his illness is worse than he believes. However, after completing the job, Zimmerman finds himself being pulled further into Ripley's life of crime and dangerous games.
My Cousin Rachel
Rachel Weisz stars in Roger Michell's adaptation of the classic novel by Daphne Du Maurier. Orphaned Englishman Philip (Sam Claflin) seeks the truth about the sudden death of his guardian. As he gathers the facts he begins to suspect that his cousin Rachel (Weisz), the widow of his late guardian, may be responsible for his death. As he gets closer to his mysterious cousin however, deep feelings begin to develop and he finds himself falling for her mesmerising guise. The cast also includes Holliday Grainger, Iain Glen and Simon Russell Beale.
Day Two – BBC iPlayer
The Elephant Man
John Hurt stars as John Merrick, aka the elephant man, in this biographical drama directed by David Lynch. Brutalised in childhood for his deformities, Merrick has been ostracised throughout his life. When he is discovered by Doctor Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) in Victorian London, Merrick is finally treated with the kindness and intelligence he deserves. Unfortunately, by awakening his true character the problems continue, for he can never lead a normal life.
The Third Man
Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton, Citizen Kane ), a naïve writer of pulp westerns, arrives in Vienna to meet his old friend Harry Lime (the incomparable Orson Welles) but finds that Lime has apparently been killed in a suspicious accident. Martins hears contradictory stories about the circumstances of Lime’s death and as witnesses disappear he finds himself chased by unknown assailants. Brilliantly scripted by Graham Greene and set to Anton Karas’ evocative zither score, this justly celebrated classic is further enhanced by Robert Krasker’s Academy Award winning cinematography and Orson Welles in one of his most iconic screen roles.
Escape To Athena
Hitler's plan to loot a treasure-laden Greek island is under way. A prison camp is built where the inmates dig up priceless art under the eye of the Austrian commandant Major Otto Hecht (Roger Moore). Zeno (Telly Savalas), the island's resistance leader and Eleana (Claudia Cardinale) scheme to defeat the occupiers. Leading the group of freedom writers, they clash with the Nazis as they try the lives of condemned prisoners and the treasure hidden in the mountaintop monastery.
15-year-old Leigh is a gymnast focused on her first competition on the squad. Leigh’s life is turned upside down when her older half brother Joe, who she didn’t know existed, comes to stay with her and her father. But when her confidence at gymnastics is knocked, Leigh finds herself caught up in an underground world of moped crime with her brother. Starting to find excitement and the attention she has been so desperately needing, Leigh stands at a crossroads between her gymnastic dreams and an exciting new world...
Day Three – All4
Maud Lancaster (Carey Mulligan) was born in the Glasshouse laundry in London and knows nothing of the world other than performing her duties as a laundress and as a wife to her possessive husband Sonny (Ben Whishaw). When she hears of a group of women campaigning for the right to vote, she seizes the opportunity to break free from her mundane life and joins the Women's Social and Political Union. Together, the members of the militant organisation attend regular meetings chaired by their leader Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep) and plan their course of action to ensure politicians acquiesce to their requests, by whatever means necessary...
The Man Who Killed Hitler & Then the Bigfoot
Sam Elliott and Aidan Turner star in this American adventure drama from film-maker Robert D. Krzykowski. As a younger man during WWII, Calvin Barr (Turner) assassinates Adolf Hitler, changing the course of history forever. Now, decades later, Calvin (Elliott) reflects on the actions he took and how it changed him as a man. He is unaware, however, that his reputation precedes him, and has placed him in the spotlight of the FBI, who wish to put his deadly skills to use in tracing and killing the Bigfoot. Known to be carrying a deadly strain of influenza which has the potential to wipe out masses of civilisation, Calvin must use all of his learned experience to put a stop to potentially devastating events from taking place.
It’s All About Love
John (Joaquin Phoenix) and the world famous ice skater Elena (Claire Danes) have a cosmopolitan marriage and have lived apart for a number of years. John in Poland, Elena mostly in New York. Time has made the distance between them grow, and eventually John goes to see Elena in New York to get a divorce. But as John arrives in New York he realises that unexpected and inexplicable things are going on around Elena. The people he knew as friends, might not be friends after all. The love that he thought had died, bursts into flame again. And it becomes up to John to save Elena from her destiny. If he can. Thomas Vinterberg's film takes place in the near future and tells the story of two lovers fighting for their love and ultimately for their lives in a world out of balance. It is a classic love story with elements of Hitchcockian suspense.
How I Live Now
American teenager Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) is sent to live with her aunt and cousins for the summer on their remote farm in the English countryside. Defiant and unhappy, city girl Daisy at first refuses to warm to her new rural surroundings. With her aunt engrossed in her role as a peace negotiator, Daisy and her cousins are left to live in an almost utopian setting and she begins to soften towards her new family and friends. However, their perfect summer is blown apart by the sudden outbreak of a war, leaving them isolated and forced to fend for themselves. When they are violently separated they must embark on a terrifying journey in order to get home.
Day Four – Amazon Prime
When carefree Nyles (Andy Samberg – Brooklyn Nine Nine) and reluctant maid of honour Sarah (Cristin Milioti – How I Met Your Mother) have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated when they find themselves unable to escape the venue, themselves and each other. A modern take on Groundhog Day.
The Sound Of Metal
Metal drummer Ruben (Oscar nominated Riz Ahmed) begins to lose his hearing. When a doctor tells him his condition will worsen, he thinks his career and life is over. His girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the former addict into a rehab for the deaf hoping it will prevent a relapse and help him adapt to his new life. After being welcomed and accepted just as he is, Ruben must choose between his new normal and the life he once knew.
Ben Affleck directs and stars in this Academy Award-winning political thriller based on real events that took place during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. In November 1979, the American embassy in Tehran is stormed by militants and 52 Americans are taken hostage. In the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to escape and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing that it is only a matter of time before they are found out and probably killed, CIA 'exfiltration' specialist Tony Mendez (Affleck) implements a life-or-death undercover operation to smuggle them safely out of the country.
Parasite: Black And White version
A family tragi-comedy depicting the inevitable collision that ensues when Ki-woo, the eldest son in a family of four unemployed adults, is introduced to the wealthy Park family for a well paid tutoring job. Winner of Best film at 2020 Oscars.
Day Five – Netflix
Over The Moon
Fueled by memories of her mother, resourceful Fei Fei builds a rocket to the moon on a mission to prove the existence of a legendary moon goddess. Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature 2021.
My Octopus Teacher
A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world. Oscar nominated for Best Documentary at this year’s Oscars.
Pieces Of A Woman
A heart-breaking home birth leaves a woman (Oscar nominated Vanessa Kirby) grappling with the profound emotional fallout, isolated from her partner and family by a chasm of grief.
Trial Of The Chicago 7
What was supposed to be a peaceful protest turned into a violent clash with the police. What followed was one of the most notorious trials in history. A host of powerhouse actors star in Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar nominated drama with Sacha Baron Cohen nabbing a nomination for Best Supporting Actor alongside Best Picture, Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing and Music.
Day Six – Netflix
See the film here
The ambitious driver for a rich Indian family uses his wit and cunning to escape from poverty and become an entrepreneur. Based on the best-selling novel and nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.
1930’s Hollywood is reevaluated through the eyes of scathing wit and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish Citizen Kane. Nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Picture, Director and Actor (Gary Oldman).
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Tensions and temperatures rise at a Chicago music studio in 1927 when fiery, fearless blues singer Ma Rainey joins her band for a recording session. Nominated for 5 Oscars including Best Actor for the late Chadwick Boseman and Best Actress for the excellent Viola Davis.
An urgent phone call pulls a Yale Law student back to his Ohio hometown, where he reflects on three generations of family history and his own future. The film stars Amy Adams, Freida Pinto and Gabriel Basso alongside a performance by Glenn Close that has managed to achieve both an Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actress and a Razzie Nomination for Worst Supporting Actress. For the same role! Only one way to decide who is right… watch the film!
Day Seven - Netflix
Two Distant Strangers
It is not often you get the opportunity to see the short films that are Oscar nominated, but this one is available to watch right now. A man trying to go home to his dog gets stuck in a time loop that forces him to relive a deadly run-in with a cop. Nominated for Best Short Film 2021.
If Anything Happens I Love You
Grieving parents journey through an emotional void as they mourn the loss of a child in the aftermath of a tragic school shooting. Nominated for Best Animated Short Film 2021.
A Love Song For Latasha
The killing of Latasha Harlins became a flashpoint for the 1992 LA uprising. This documentary evocatively explores the 15-year-old’s life and dreams. Nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject.
A ground-breaking summer camp galvanises a group of teens with disabilities to help build a movement, forging a new path toward greater equality. Nominated for Best Documentary Feature.