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The middle of the month (and the middle of a punishing heatwave) is proving to be a little quiet – but there’s still plenty of films to stream while you take shelter in the darkest and coolest corners of your home from the blistering gaze of the sun. Those in the mood for some emotional drama will find plenty to move them in Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother, those looking for something more along the lines of comfort food can fall back on the dependable Nora Ephron and the charmingly archaic You’ve Got Mail. And if you fancy an action-packed blockbuster, Netflix’s Project Power should help pass the time.
For those looking for something a little outside the box, there’s a number of indie horrors new and old on display on Shudder, as well as a display of up-and-coming UK talent via S.O.U.L. Fest, hosted by BFI.
Please note that a subscription will be required to watch.
Project Power - Netflix
You can't move for super-powers in Hollywood at the moment, but new Netflix thriller Project Power takes a different approach to superhuman abilities. Set in a compelling New Orleans milieu very much still in the shadow of Hurricane Katrina, the movie follows Jamie Foxx's character as he attempts to track down the suppliers of a drug that gives the user a super-power unique to them for five minutes. Sounds cool, but the side effects can be brutal.
It's an intriguing concept from writer Mattson Tomlin – Matt Reeves's co-writer for The Batman – and is brought to the screen with considerable style by Nerve directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. Rising star Dominique Fishback shines as a small-time dealer moving supplies of the drug and, while the movie is certainly a little over-stuffed and more noisy than it is coherent, there's plenty of fun to be had with its memorable action sequences and enjoyably fresh take on the well-worn world of super-powers.
By Tom Beasley
You’ve Got Mail - Amazon Prime Video
One of a couple of Nora Ephron-directed rom-coms of the nineties where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fall in love with each other via long-distance communicae (the other being Sleepless in Seattle), You’ve Got Mail plays with a strange and exciting new phenomena – the internet!
The book superstore magnate, Joe Fox (Hanks) and independent book shop owner, Kathleen Kelly (Ryan) fall in love in the anonymity of the Internet – both blissfully unaware that he’s trying to put her out of business. Like it’s spiritual predecessor Sleepless it’s one of the all-time comfort movies, not to mention that seeing people wowed by the magic of AOL inboxes is amusing in how immediately archaic a practice it seems.
Also new on Prime: The Last Samurai, The Meg
All About My Mother - MUBI
Part of a MUBI retrospective about the films of Almodovar, one of Spanish cinema’s greatest and most renowned dramatists, All About My Mother makes a perfect compliment to his most recent work Pain & Glory. Similarly introspective (and, of course, presented in bold and lavish colour), All About My Mother follows Manuela (Cecelia Roth), a nurse and single mother who returns to Barcelona following the sudden death of her teenage son Esteban.
She’s there to search for Lola, a trans woman who is her former lover and parent to Esteban, with whom she has long since lost contact. Manuela becomes waylaid by reuniting with old friends, and meeting and caring for Rosa (Penelope Cruz), a pregnant nun. As with all of Almodovar’s Sirk-inspired melodrama, it’s meant to accentuate a strongly political point, in the case of this film, working to change public stigma towards victims of HIV.
Also new on MUBI: The We and the I, Correspondances
Intruder - Shudder
One of the last gasps of that specific style of 80’s slasher movies, director Scott Spiegel’s Intruder is very much a rehashing of familiar tropes but manages to feel creative nonetheless. Following the overnight stock crew of a supermarket, the poor workers find themselves pursued by a mysterious maniac. Spiegel was a regular mainstay of B-movie horror icon Sam Raimi, Spiegel having co-wrote Evil Dead 2 and appeared in many of Raimi's films.
In line with that long time collaboration, Spiegel also shows great curiosity with camera placement, constantly messing around with wild shots from inside shopping trolleys, phones, wherever he can place it. Raimi himself, screenwriter Lawrence Bender as well as Raimi’s horror muse Bruce Campbell make their own appearances in this film (though the latter is somewhat brief). It all has a charming, self-aware and DIY feel to it, not least of all when the gore begins – for fans of old-school splatter, this is full of devilishly creative murders.
Also on Shudder: Host, La Llorona
S.O.U.L Fest Shorts volume 1: Visions - BFI Player
The second annual S.O.U.L (Screening Our Unseen Lives) Fest, a month-long series of film premieres, shorts presentations, Q+As and Panel discussions, is taking place throughout August on BFI Player and the BFI’s and SOUL’s YouTube channels. Taking place every Saturday of SOUL Fest, these events will coincide with the weekly release of three shorts programmes on BFI Player, showcasing some of the most exciting filmmakers in the country.
The first of these shorts programmes features a selection of films by various new talent from minority backgrounds, including Carl Earl-Ocran, Daniel Rands, Candice Onyeama, Eyerusalem Lema, Adekemi Roluga, Chris McGill/Siobhan Fahey and Jeremiah Towolawi. If you’re interested in viewing the future of British cinema, look no further.
Also new on BFI Player: One Deadly Summer