Twelve Alternative Netflix Double Features to Stream in Quarantine | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Twelve Alternative Netflix Double Features to Stream in Quarantine

Mar 25, 2020
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There are few things worse than being quarantined for a global pandemic, but Netflix’s recommendation algorithms have to be up there. The endless deluge of bland original films and original series make it easy to forget that the service has some quality films if you’re willing to dig. Not only have we done the digging for you, we’ve paired some of the best selections into double features; everyone’s got the time and nothing makes a good movie better than another one to complement it. Here’s two dozen great flicks you may not have heard of or didn’t know were on Netflix.

Words and Double Features by Stephen Danay

1

Outbreaks on a Train

Snowpiercer / Train To Busan

Korean director Bong Joon-ho is one of the few people having a good 2020; celebrate his Best Picture win by revisiting his 2013 sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer, about a brutal class war aboard a post-apocalyptic train circling a frozen earth starring Chris Evans and Parasite star Song Kang-ho. Follow it up by transferring to Train to Busan, fellow South Korean Yeon Sang-ho’s action-horror hybrid about a passenger train fleeing a zombie outbreak. Their shared theme is a timely one: the only way forward is together.

2

Satan Prefers Blondes

Rosemary’s Baby / The VVitch

Twin portraits of innocent young women driven to the edge of madness by satanic forces that might all be in their head, both Rosemary’s Baby and The VVitch have sympathy for people cut off from society. Mia Farrow’s Rosemary finds herself trapped in New York’s Dakota Hotel, pregnant with a baby that may or may not be the anti-Christ. The VVitch travels back to 1630’s New England, where Anya-Taylor Joy’s Thomasin watches her family tear itself apart via Puritan fundamentalism and possible demonic possession.

3

Brothers in Arms

Hell or High Water / Good Time

If you’re going to rob a bank, you’d better do it with someone you trust like a brother. The Howard brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) are taking down every bank in West Texas with Jeff Bridges’ Texas Ranger in hot pursuit in the elegiac Neo-Western Hell or High Water. Meanwhile in New York City, the Nikas brothers (Robert Pattinson and Benny Safdie) are having the worst night of their lives after a failed robbery lands one of them in Rikers and leaves the other scrounging for bail money. Good Time comes courtesy of another pair of brothers (Josh and Benny Safdie) who directed last year’s breakout hit Uncut Gems.

4

I Always Wanted to Be a Gangster

Goodfellas / City of God

Two decades-spanning tales of lives of crime, separated by continents and languages. Martin Scorsese’s 1990 mob classic is fleeter than most films half its length and funnier than most comedies. It’s probably the most popular film on this list, but it never gets old. Directors Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund borrowed its structure, stylistic techniques and brash voice over for their 2002 crime saga City of God, set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Both films combine larger than life swagger with a documentary-like attention to detail, showing that crime is a lot of fun until, of course, you get caught.

5

The Girls with the Broken iPhones

Frances Ha / Obvious Child

Time-capsule snapshots of peak millennial NYC, the protagonists of Frances Ha and Obvious Child could easily end up in the same line waiting for the bathroom in a Brooklyn dive bar. As portrayed by a pre-Oscar-nominated Greta Gerwig, Frances is a loopy ball of guileless insecurities and terrible financial decisions, captured in stylish black-and-white by Noah Baumbach. Obvious Child’s Donna, played by Jenny Slate, is a stand-up comic left pregnant by a one night stand. Both films are unsparing with their cringe comedy but are always sympathetic to their hapless leads, allowing them to eke small victories out of enormous failures.

6

Indonesian Ultra-Violence

Headshot / The Night Comes for Us

After Gareth Evans made Indonesia broke new ground in martial arts violence with The Raid films, directing duo Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel - credited as the Mo Brothers - picked up the blood-slicked baton and ran with it. Headshot features The Raid star Iko Uwais as an amnesiac assassin squaring off against his old partners in increasingly brutal fights to the death. The Night Comes for Us is a martial arts film so gory it should be classified as horror, featuring machetes, razor wire, meat hooks, and enough blood to paint the Overlook Hotel.

7

Sci-Fi Doppelgängers

Moon / Enemy

A double feature about identity, insanity and, well . . . doubles. Moon stars Sam Rockwell as a lonely astronaut whose solitary existence on a lunar base is interrupted by what seems to be his clone. Earth-bound existence is even more unsettling in Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a paranoid professor who begins stalking a man who looks just like him. The former is directed by Duncan Jones - channelling the aesthetic of his father’s “Space Oddity” - the latter by Denis Villeneuve, conjuring Cronenberg-style disquiet and an all-time “what the fuck” ending.

8

Caught in a Sad Romance

Blue Jay / Lovesong

Two low-key dramas about missed opportunity and the power of human connection. Blue Jay stars Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson as high school sweethearts who spend a day together following a chance encounter twenty years down the road. Lovesong stars Riley Keough and Jena Malone as best friends who grow distant after a night of intimacy only to reunite years later when one of them gets married. Both films are heartbreaking, but neither resorts to cheap drama or phony hysterics.

9

All About that Bass Player

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World / Green Room

Bass players get their moment in the limelight in two very different but equally relentless films about punk bands. Edgar Wright’s adaptation of the video game-inspired graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim vs the World stars Michael Cera is a shiftless Toronto hipster forced to battle his dream girl’s seven evil exes while trying to win a battle of the bands. Green Room is Jeremy Saulnier’s vicious, pressure-cooker thriller about a hardcore band trying to fight their way out of a neo-Nazi compound in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest. One will make you laugh, one will make you scream, neither one lets up.

10

You Were Never Really Here

Under the Skin / A Ghost Story

Twin tales of paranormal beings failing to connect with the everyday world. Under the Skin stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien stalking the streets of Glasgow. A Ghost Story stars Casey Affleck - who spends the entire film as classic, white-sheeted ghost - as a spirit fixed to a location but unstuck in time. The most cinematically adventurous and existentially unsettling pairing on this list, both films eschew traditional narrative and character building for atmosphere and theme, alternately terrifying and melancholy.

11

We’re in the Killin’ Nazis Business

Raiders of the Lost Ark / Inglorious Basterds

Two men who changed the course of popular American cinema two decades apart offer dueling adventures set before and during World War II. Raiders of the Lost Ark is Harrison Ford’s first and most iconic outing as swashbuckling adventurer Indiana Jones, braving booby traps, snakes and swords to stop the Third Reich from conquering the earth. Inglorious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino’s bloody, talky remix of history, throwing monologues like curveballs and pulling the rug out from under even the most jaded fans.

12

Dinner Parties From Hell

The Invitation / The Lobster

Nothing takes the edge off social distancing like remembering how grueling human interaction can be. Karyn Kusama’s slow burn thriller The Invitation brings together a group of old friends for an LA dinner party that slowly spirals into a nightmare of festering grudges and disturbing revelations. Lighten the mood with The Lobster directed by Yorgos Lanthimos of The Favourite fame. Set in an absurd, dead-pan alternate world where single people must successfully mingle at a hotel or be turned into animals, it’s a nice reminder that being alone isn’t always the worst thing in the world.

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