With the return of Oscar season again (seriously, where does time go?!) and the constant overwhelm with options on Stan, Foxtel and Netflix (and all of the other streaming services we are signed up to but haven’t got time to look at) our screen time has truly escalated. So, where are we spending it and what do we think is worth your time?
Movies and TV shows we’ve watched are an eclectic combination of cinematic masterpieces and bingeable escapades and sometimes simply things we watch when we need background noise or just need to hear some of our favourite quotes.
Warning: there may be spoilers ahead!
On the Basis of Sex was, to put it simply, GOLD. This film was so powerful and so impactful from beginning to end. Coming from two women in business (both with very small children) it’s not surprising we found it so impactful, but seriously Ruth Bader Ginsberg was bad-ass. Felicity Jones was impeccable and Armie Hammer was as usual a delightful portrayal of a character, however, never ceases to be confusing in the ages he depicts with no sign of ageing throughout the duration of the 18 years? He is an interesting actor to consider for casting choices (think about Call Me By Your Name for instance).
We’d seen some seriously mixed reviews about Dumplin’; too conventional, too stereotypical, but also uplifting and inspiring. What is consistently sung praises though is our very own Australian Danielle McDonald who really does steal the show as the film’s lead. But a close runner up is Dolly Parton, a glorious sprinkling of her musical hits throughout - nothing enforces the feels or uplifts a moment like some country music... Quite possibly our favourite thing about the film. But this is your typical coming of age, finding your place, female friendship, mother & daughter relationships heart warmer - so if you don’t get the goosebumps and a couple of tears from a proud Mum moment it’s probably not going to be your jam.
In an ever so slight change of pace, Al can assure you Game Night is not a waste of anyone’s time (unless you hate fun). If you’re not sure what to do on Friday night (because #children), this is what you can do and it’s as much fun as being social and going out (we tell ourselves). It’s another typical Bateman movie where he’s, of course, the typical conservative type getting himself into an unrealistically outrageous situation. It feels like a comedy return for Rachel McAdams and you’ll enjoy it almost as much as Mean Girls. But as usual these films seem to be held together by the various unlikely character types of the lesser known supporting roles, like Billy Magnussun and Jesse Plemons. Seriously, Plemons can depict a weirdo in the most loving way like nothing else. Look, it’s just a bit of fun!
Steph is a bit late to the party on this one, although Reese Witherspoon is one of her favourite actresses - Wild feels different from most films she has starred in. Her performance is raw and stripped back (but the struggle is real to believe that she went on a heroin binge). This film will make you yearn to pack your shit and take off on an epic hike by yourself (PSA make sure you know how to pitch a tent and don’t pack shit you won’t need). It’ll make you understand how important the great outdoors are to our mental health, healing and regeneration of the soul. It’ll also make you realise that you can learn to live with the things you can’t control. So really, it’s a good couple of hours of decent therapy without moving from the comfort of your blankie.
These Final Hours. As far as “end of the world” movies go, this Aussie original from Zak Hilditch has got to be Laura’s favourite. It was released in 2014 but has just popped up on Stan, and is well worth a watch! Far from the US independence day style blockbusters, this film keeps its feet on the ground whilst still managing some spectacular moments. It maintains its pace, keeps you guessing, and has a stellar cast that really can’t be beaten – we’re talking Angourie Rice, Jessica De Gouw, Nathan Phillips, Sarah Snook, Lynette Curran and the list goes on.
It makes you think (without shoving anything down your throat), and is unmistakably Australian without reverting to stereotypes. To summarise – just watch it! I reckon it deserves a bit more love.
Our lives, however, wouldn’t be complete without streaming and bingeing so check out what shows we’ve been staying up all night with…
You. If you haven’t watched it, we assume you live under a rock and we’re sceptical about anyone who isn’t desperately intrigued to see Dan Humphrey (AKA Penn Badgely) play the bad guy, Joe. It’s successfully made us question our character judgement of human beings; he’s a nice guy and into books for goodness sakes (albeit he has a glass book panic room but we’ll look past that). The leading lady (Elizabeth Lail) is perfectly cast. She’s very engaging on screen and the great thing is that there’s nothing remarkable about her. That’s the beauty of it - she’s perfectly cast. Plus, she’s pretty new on the scene which we love even more!
What’s interesting though, is the fact that you can easily excuse some of Joe’s behaviour simply because, let’s face it ladies, he’s hot. This is WRONG on so many levels, which makes the casting and the message behind it very powerful. We are so quick to judge on someone’s looks. It’s unexpected to see him as the creep stalker. It’s good casting.
All round the casting in this show is on point. We (as closet fans of Pretty Little Liars) loved seeing Shay Mitchell play a less passive role as Peach and we’re sure that there are big things to come from Luca Padovan who plays Paco.
Binge this fast, before it makes you feel too uncomfortable and lose sleep at night. Also, beware of boutique bookstore owners from now on. And for the sake of Pete, close your bloody curtains!
Workin’ Mom’s (Netflix) only seemed like natural selection in TV shows for us and oh boy within the first 30 seconds…We.relate. Anyone who has kids and has attended a mothers group recently this is must. While the true insights into a mother’s life are not hard to find, this show has found every single one and have executed them so bloody well. Ironically the leading lady, Catherine Reitman is the creator, writer and quite often the director. Living and breathing it. Respect. Now I should probably go rescue my child from the arm wedged, half roll position.
Dirty John. Two words: Connie Britton. YAS QUEEN. Steph binged this in a 24 hour period because holy crap it is THAT good. It’s another You casting moment. You’re familiar with the story right? You’ve got this guy, John, played by none other than the great Eric Bana - educated, somewhat attractive, smooth - who is just the worst kind of sadistic con man. Targets vulnerable rich women online (and yes this is based on true events people) with charm, wit and humour to move into their homes and take their money. The interesting thing about this is the relationships Debra (Connie Britton) has with her daughters and the sheer frustration as a viewer that she dismisses their concerns and instincts about him. It also shows just how hard it is to leave a volatile situation after you recognise there is a real problem. Watch it. It’s disturbing yet addictive.
And now for something completely up beat - Rosehaven. We could watch Celia Pacquola and Luke McGregor sit and do absolutely nothing and would still be entertained. The latest season of Rosehaven (available on ABC iview) continues to make us laugh with its dry humour, simple narrative and adorable characters. You just can’t help but love it. It’s one of those shows you don’t have to think about, and each ep wraps up pretty well so you can watch the odd one here and there, or pick it up at the latest season and still know what’s going on.
Shot on location in Tassie, the setting is beautiful and creates a lovely green backdrop for the town. It will make you want to move there (Laura may or may not have checked out some cute real estate online).
Voila! That’s a wrap on our watching habits for February. Let us know in the comments if there’s any essential viewing we’ve left out!