What We Do in the Shadows
Quirky cult director Taika Waititi teamed up with Flight of the Conchords’s Jemaine Clement for this charming and absolutely hilarious mockumentary which also works as a pitch-perfect spoof of reality TV.
We follow four vampires, Viago (Waititi), Vladislav (Clement), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and Petyr (Ben Fransham), as they spend their days squabbling over chores and, with the help of newly turned Nick (Cori Gonzalez Macuer), hunt and enjoy Wellington’s bars by night.
Its lovably bizarre appeal comes from the unexpectedly great mix of classic odd couple sitcom tropes, large amounts of bloody gore and a whole host of brilliantly vibrant performances across the board. Stream on Netflix now.
Described as “Godzilla meets Being John Malkovich”, Colossal is an ambitious film which successfully combines very different genres, like the big Japanese monster kaiju and a very dark self-reflective drama, to create something incredibly interesting and intelligent.
Alcoholic Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is forced to move back to her childhood home when her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) kicks her out. When a giant reptilian monster appears in Seoul and starts destroying the city, she slowly begins to realize she can control its movements.
Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo is thankfully able to sustain this wonderfully unique premise through an excellent performance from Hathaway and by subtly using it to explore serious themes like addiction and toxic relationships in a surprisingly sensitive way.
Director Ben Wheatley might’ve experienced a slight misfire with 2015’s surreal dystopian drama High Rise, but his gripping and brilliantly unsettling take on the hitman genre still manages to feel wonderfully fresh six years later.
Psychologically scarred contract killer Jay (Neil Maskell) and his longtime partner Gal (Michael Smiley) agree to take on a new job for a mysterious client (Struan Rodger) and suddenly find themselves tangled up in a terrifyingly bizarre and brutal conspiracy.
Through a clever mix of sinister reveals and ugly domestic happenings, Wheatley has masterfully managed to imbue the film with a foreboding sense of dread which works to build to a creepy and deeply shocking climax.
Ingrid Goes West
Met with glowing reviews when it debuted at last year’s Sundance film festival, Ingrid Goes West is an incredibly smart and funny black comedy which offers up a very relevant critique of how we present ourselves online.
Lonely and obsessive Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) decides to use the inheritance money left to her by her late Mum to travel to L.A and befriend her latest Instagram obsession, pretty and seemingly perfect photographer Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen).
Plaza, probably best known for her role as the cynical April in Parks and Recreation, is fantastic here, perfectly balancing Ingrid’s troubling crazy actions with a heartbreaking earnestness so she remains deeply sympathetic throughout.
Don’t Think Twice
Inspired by director Mike Birbiglia’s real life experience of New York City’s colourful improv scene, Don’t Think Twice is a sharply witty and thoughtful comedy which is as riotously funny as it is sadly bittersweet.
A wide rift opens between the members of a group of struggling but very passionate improv comedians when Jack (Keegan Michael Key) wins a coveted spot on the hugely successful Weekend Live show.
The script is able to perfectly capture both the frantic electric energy of a live performance and all-too real sense of anxiety which accompanies the crushing realisation that not everyone gets to achieve their dreams. Stream on NOW TV now.