A few recommendations to see you through the next few days
The country has effectively shut down for Thursday and Friday.
People are being urged to stay indoors from 4pm this afternoon as Storm Emma brings freezing conditions across the country.
A lot of people will be looking to keep themselves entertained over the coming days. Here's a few Netflix recommendations to help see you through the freezing conditions...
This film is, on the surface, a tale of a girl and her giant, genetically engineered ‘super pig’. The film is the launching pad for a dizzying tale that is part wild comedy, part thrilling adventure, and part… OK all pro-vegetarian. This doesn’t all work by any stretch - Jake Gyllenhaal feels like he’s in a different film to the rest of the cast - but it is an idiosyncratic, ambitious film that is both a joy to watch and quite unlike anything else.
Enjoying the new RTÉ / BBC series? Well catch up with the original - the delightful adventures of two Cork chancers and their farcically misguided 'get rich quick' scheme. An instant classic Irish comedy.
The latest film from Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha, The Squid and the Whale) follows the three Meyerowitz siblings - played by Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Elizabeth Marvel - and their father (Dustin Hoffman) & his current wife (Emma Thompson). Anyone who has ever seen a Baumbach film will be in warmly familiar territory - this is as sharply written and cleverly observed as you’d expect. But it’s most noteworthy for being the first truly good Adam Sandler film in more than a decade. Punch Drunk Love, for now, remains the definitive Sandler performance, but this one ain’t too shabby.
The master of modern blockbuster thrills - a feature-length car chase that rarely takes a breather. Completely crazy and over-the-top - but there has never been anything quite so outrageously brilliant as Fury Road, and it remains to be seen whether there will be again.
Listen, I don’t need to say much here - you know the score (and I don't just mean that soundtrack). No better time to get reacquainted with some old friends. Or maybe you can introduce Marty, Doc, Biff et al to a younger generation if you haven’t already.
It’s Back to the Future, and Back to the Future is always a good thing.
Netflix made a big gamble launching the third Cloverfield film - The Cloverfield Paradox - a few weeks ago. The viewing figures were high, but the film was deservedly panned.
Better, then, to return to its far superior predecessor. This is barely connected with the original film, but all the better for it: a confined, pacy thriller with some unusual sci-fi twists. It's also great to see John Goodman get a chance to really push his acting skills to another level.
Listen: some of the criticism was fair, and this LA-set musical certainly not going to change cinema. But it’s a pleasure to watch - bursting with enthusiasm, colour and good vibes. Director Damien Chazelle is having a ball, and so are the cast. The camera joyfully swoops and drifts around the place, and some of the songs are gems (even if the incredible choreography threatens to overwhelm them at times).
There’s something more going on beneath the surface too - this is a film that goes out of its way to deconstruct many of the classic Hollywood myths. La La Land wears its inspirations on its sleeve - most particularly the French classic The Umbrellas of Cherbourg - but if ever there was a film for a snow day by the fire, this is it.
Jeremy Saulnier’s thriller is a rush of a film: funny, brutal and with barely a wasted second. The set-up is endearingly straightforward. A punk rock band ends up performing in a dodgy bar outside the US city of Portland. The gig doesn’t go swimmingly, but things turn really sour when the band members end up as accidental witnesses to a murder. They get locked in the green room as the skinhead gang that controls the bar decide what do with them.
This is a taut, accessible thriller that finds an amazing level of tension in its simple premise. It’s a violent film at times, but has a blackly comic streak running through it too: it can be almost slapstick in the way some of its ferocious setpieces play out. It’s the great Patrick Stewart who proves the film’s MVP: as the leader of the skinhead, he goes all in as a charismatic but terrifying villain. He’s having a ball here, and most viewers will too.
Netflix’s collection of older films tends to be a bit scattershot, but there are typically at least a few stone cold classics in there. A Few Dollars More is one such film currently hiding in a submenu somewhere.
Clint Eastwood’s The Man With No Name featured in a trilogy of spaghetti westerns from the great Sergio Leone. This is technically the second in the series, but no matter: it, like the others. happily stands alone. This one has it all: duels, shootouts, bank robberies, and - most importantly - a killer soundtrack from Ennio Morricone. 50 years after release, this feels as fresh & playful as ever.
Looking for something very different? Brazilian film Aquarius was a highlight of last year's foreign film releases - a lively, surprising and moving character study. The film shines in particular thanks to an astonishing lead performance from Sonia Braga - a reminder of the sort of performances that don't get the attention they deserve when there are subtitles involved.