Stuck on what to stream this month? Unlike other lists, we’re on hand to recommend a variety of films for every mood, from tear-jerkers to trailblazers. Here are our picks for the best films to stream in the UK this month.
The Silver Screen Classic
Angel Face (1953) dir. Otto Preminger
A lesser known classic of American noir from Otto Preminger, Angel Face is a psychoanalytic thriller as disturbing as it is unshakably stylish. Frank Jessup (Robert Mitchum) is an ambulance driver trying to make his dream of becoming a sports car mechanic come true. However, and in classical noir fashion, he becomes involved in the schemes of the beautiful but dangerous Diane Tremayne (Jean Simmons), whose family offers Frank his dream job. What follows is a tense and fascinating examination of ambition and character, complete with stylised camera movements that communicate a frightening amount of detail about those in the frame. The influential film critic Robin Wood—a specialist on Alfred Hitchcock films among other things—named Angel Face one of his top ten favourite films of all time, just a taste of the high praise that Preminger’s sensational story deserves.
Available to stream on BBC iPlayer
The Dirt (2019) dir. Jeff Tremaine
As musical biopics go, The Dirt is not up there with the likes of Rocketman or Elvis as definitive recent entries in the genre. That being said, Jeff Tremaine’s film still earns its stripes. Released mere months after Bohemian Rhapsody, which in almost all areas and ways failed to dive deeper into the messier aspects of Freddie Mercury and Queen’s life, The Dirt is surprisingly honest. Covering the amazing highs and the insidious lows of the infamous Mötley Crüe, The Dirt does not shy away from the most difficult parts of the band members’ lives—an all the more remarkable feat given that the band themselves acted as co-producers. It isn’t all misery, however. Tremaine and his cast (including a surprisingly capable Machine Gun Kelly) throw themselves into all the fun and anarchy that Mötley Crüe are known for, and if nothing else it makes for a rocking good time.
Available to stream on Netflix
Tater Tot & Patton (2017) dir. Andrew Kightlinger
A quiet, beautiful drama, Tater Tot & Patton stars Happy Death Day’s Jessica Rothe and Bates Wilder as an estranged niece and uncle spending time on a lowly ranch in South Dakota. What sounds like the recipe for a corny millennial comedy ends up becoming something entirely different, with director Andrew Kightlinger instead delivering a beautifully shot and deeply moving character study. Tater Tot & Patton succeeds in capturing the erratic nature of some distant family relationships, made all the more difficult by an unspoken trauma that haunts Wilder’s character throughout the film. The film’s realism is surprisingly easy to get sucked into, helped by some stunning camerawork and a script that is quite happy going along on a gentle beat. A hidden jewel of American cinema, Kightlinger’s film stokes equal measures of affection and pity in just the right doses, completed by two fine performances from Rothe and Wilder.
Available to stream on Amazon Prime
The Foreign Language Gem
M (1931) dir. Fritz Lang
If forced to pick highlights from Fritz Lang’s career, M would surely be up there. Lang’s first sound film follows a hunt by both the police, the criminal underworld, and the general public for a serial killer of children (played by an outstanding Peter Lorre). M is indispensable when looking at the modern state of the crime and thriller genre. The movie came at what can be considered the twilight of the German Expressionist era of films, with which Lang—along with F.W. Murnau and Robert Wiene—is most commonly associated. It embraces and unleashes the best of that era, resulting in what even today stands up as one of the most gripping crime thrillers ever put to screen. It is a legendary entry in movie history, and what many nostalgic viewers still consider to be cinema’s finest era, M is up there with the most important films ever made.
Available to stream on BFI Player
The Fox and the Hound (1981) dir. Ted Berman, Richard Rich & Art Stevens
Disney entries like Bambi, Up, and Coco all leave your face stained with massive tears of sadness or sometimes joy. None of these however hold a candle to The Fox and the Hound when it comes to the crying department (a strange title to hold, but a deserved one). Generously adapted from Daniel P. Mannix’s novel, the film follows the increasingly strained friendship between Tod the fox (Mickey Rooney) and Copper the bloodhound (Kurt Russell). The whole film makes for an extraordinary experience, and is one of the criminally overlooked contenders for Disney’s ‘classic’ animations. One scene in particular, however, is heartbreaking; the gentle Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan) forced to drive her beloved Tod out to the forest to abandon him, accompanied by a teary-eyed inner monologue and ‘Goodbye May Seem Forever’ (also sung by Nolan). If this moment doesn’t leave you a crumbling wreck, you are scarcely human.
Available to stream on Disney+
Chef (2014) dir. Jon Favreau
If the thought of Jon Favreau in a food truck doesn’t make you smile, nothing will. After a confrontation with a food critic, Carl Casper (Favreau) loses his job and decides to open up a food truck with his young son instead. There, he looks to rediscover his autonomy as well as his palette, and rekindle strained relationships with his family. Favreau said he wanted to go “back to basics” with Chef, having directed a handful of big blockbusters before this (as if to hammer home the point, several Marvel Cinematic Universe stars make an appearance here). The result is a light, colourful and funny comedy drama that plays to Favreau’s strengths as both a director and a performer. The humour and amazing looking food do wonders to bring Chef’s truths to the fore; truths about the difficulties of work and family that all too many viewers can relate to.
Available to stream on STARZPLAY
The Watermelon Woman (1996) dir. Cheryl Dunye
The Watermelon Woman is a pivotal entry in the history of New Queer Cinema. It is the first feature film directed by a black lesbian. Cheryl Dunye also stars as a young woman working in a video store, who is also attempting to film her own documentary about a black actress from the 1930s who was famous for playing the stereotypical “mammy” roles of the period. A stimulating and amusing romcom that doesn’t try anything too forcefully, The Watermelon Woman invites you to draw your own conclusions about history, identity, and cinema woven throughout. Dunye’s performance is mesmerising, and her portrait of Philadelphia even more so, the very texture of the urban landscape coming alive in tracking shots at street level. The film’s importance cannot be overstated, and Dunye’s exceptional talent is now getting the wider audience that it always deserved.
Available to stream on MUBI
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) dir. Kim Jee-Woon
Kim Jee-Woon’s psychological horror is based on the Joseon Dynasty era folktale, Janghwa Hongryeon Jeon. The tale has been made into various films before, but A Tale of Two Sisters is the best adaptation that there is. When a patient returns from a mental institution with her sister, she comes back to a home full of threats, dangers, and distressing events. The end twist is as brutal as everything which precedes it, and Jee-Woon’s impressively restrained approach makes everything seem that little bit more sick and twisted (not to mention scary). More than anything, it is a bloody indictment of all the nasty things people can and will do to one another – a depressingly ever-present fact across the world today. Not one to bring up your mood then, but A Tale of Two Sisters remains hypnotically fascinating nonetheless. Just stay away if you really love birds…
Available to stream on Amazon Prime
- Films To Stream In The UK In June 2022
- Films To Stream In The UK In May 2022
- Films To Stream In The UK In April 2022
- Films To Stream In The UK In March 2022
Words by James Hanton
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