Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

14.00 26 Dec 2019


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Christmas Day has come and gone for another year, and hopefully most people now have a couple of days to relax before New Year's festivities.

This time of the year is always a good opportunity to catch up on the year's films and TV shows - and maybe even finally devoting the time to the 3.5 hour epic The Irishman.

Here are just a few recommendations if you're looking for something to watch on Netflix over the next week or so...

The Irishman

The aforementioned Martin Scorsese gangster epic is one of the streaming giant's most prestigious and acclaimed - not to mention expensive - productions to date.

A few rough edges with the otherwise mostly impressive de-aging technology aside, it's a magnificent piece of work: a more sombre but no less masterful take on the genre perfected by Scorsese and co in classics such as Goodfellas. With great performances from the likes of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, if you haven't gotten around to The Irishman yet the festive season is an ideal opportunity to put aside 210 minutes. It's worth the time.

Marriage Story

The other acclaimed awards contender from Netflix this year is an altogether different beast than The Irishman. Here, Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson play a well-off couple going through a divorce that turns increasingly nasty as they each try to figure out what's best for their young son. Voices do get raised and emotions are shattered in this often devastating film, but what's most impressive is how compassionate it is towards its characters. For all the heated arguments that break out, this is also often quite a warm and funny film from writer/director Noah Baumbach.

As well as the two stunning lead performances, there are a host of superb supporting performances from the likes of Laura Dern and Alan Alda, and the whole thing is expertly shot by Ireland's own Robbie Ryan.

Support the Girls

US filmmaker Andrew Bujalski has been of the most interesting and accomplished American indie directors for quite some time now, and his latest effort - the thoroughly entertaining workplace comedy-drama Support the Girls - is one of the most acclaimed yet accessible films to date.

The film focuses on Lisa (Regina Hall), the manager of a Hooters-style bar & restaurant, over the course of a single day. As she and her fellow works experience a range of personal and professional crises, what emerges is a probing yet deeply empathetic study of the life of one small group of workers in modern America. Smart and funny, it's all buoyed by a truly wonderful cast.

The Guilty

This Danish thriller feels like the sort of film that would be a surprise hit if it was released in English, but slipped under the radar a bit when it was released earlier this year. That's a shame, because this is a tense, exciting piece of filmmaking - set entirely within a call centre.

Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) is a police officer who has been assigned to answer emergency calls. However, a mysterious phone call from a distressed woman begins to consume one particular night shift. He finds himself working against the odds - and breaking the rules - to track down a potential kidnapping victim and a distraught child. For a film where everything unfolds via phone calls, this is an incredibly tense thriller that unfolds in fascinating, surprising ways.

I Lost My Body

In the mood for something different? Try this unusual French animation - although be warned it isn't for kids. It follows the adventures of a disembodied hand that breaks out of a medical lab and starts a perilous journey across a city. Meanwhile, we also follow the experiences of a young man named Naoufel - a delivery boy whose world is shaken following a long conversation over an apartment speaker with a young woman named Gabrielle. The two stories slowly start to converge in increasingly intriguing ways.

This is a beautifully animated film that offers plenty of striking imagery alongside a dark but affecting coming of age story.


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