Best ‘staying in’ streaming options

Nicolas Winding Refn.
Image: Wiki Commons

By David Prendeville

In these trying times one small consolation is the wealth of films available to us at the click of a button. Here I look at a small portion of some of the best films to stream or streaming platforms available to viewers to gorge on over the coming weeks:

In this Irish film, produced by Fantastic Films and distributed by local company Wildcard, Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg star as a couple who get stuck in a labyrinthe-like housing estate.
Dubliner Lorcan Finnegan’s satirical horror has received strong reviews on the festival circuit, not least at its premiere in Critics’ Week at Cannes last year. The film was set to be released in cinemas at the end of March, but was instead moved on to streaming subsequent to the coronavirus pandemic. Available from, Curzon Home Cinema, ITunes and most streaming platforms.
Element’s video-on-demand platform is a valuable resource, not only for catching up with new arthouse releases, but also for the extensive catalogue of older, hard-to-get Irish films it has in its library. The film debuts of Cathal Black – Pigs (1986) – and Paddy Breathnach – Ailsa (1994) – are particularly fascinating pieces, ripe for re-discovery.
This magnificent site, set up by Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn, allows viewers free access to a host of rare B-movies and oddities plucked from Refn’s own private collection. This is an invaluable resource for cinephiles and offers a wealth of diverse treats.

Too Old to Die Young
Sticking with Refn for a moment, now might be a good time to catch up on this vast opus, which was released on Amazon Prime last year. The sheer size of the project – each episode is roughly the length of a feature in itself – coupled with its slow pace, seemed to put many people off it. For patient viewers, however, this is a show that offers rich rewards, and one that is likely to be a cult classic in the future. Available on Amazon Prime.

Blue Velvet
Why not quell the disappointment of the cancellation of the David Lynch season in the Light House cinema by enjoying one of the master director’s best works? Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rosselini and Dennis Hopper are all superb in this masterpiece. A film you’re certain to never forget. Available on Netflix.

Another monumental 80s work from a master director to recently arrive on Netflix. David Cronenberg’s extraordinarily prescient body-horror has much to say about how we consume media and features a raft of wholly unforgettable imagery. James Woods and Deborah Harry have never been better.

Good Time/Uncut Gems
The Safdie Brothers are among the most exciting young directors to come out of America in recent times. You can catch their two most recent films on Netflix – the recent, white-knuckle gambling thriller Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler and the even better Good Time – a darkly comic urban nightmare starring Robert Pattinson.

Mistress America
Fans of Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach should check out this criminally underseen screwball comedy. Gerwig co-writes and stars, while Baumbach directs. Funny, utterly charming and genuinely uplifting. Available on Netflix.

This wonderful site offers a superb selection of 30 arthouse films, with a new film being added each day. They are currently offering an astonishingly good deal of three months for 1 euro. The site has some wonderfully created programmes such as The Crimes of Jean Pierre Melville and Outlaw Auteur:Joseph Losey. Highly recommended.

The Truth
Palme D’or winning director Hirokazu Kore-eda assembles an extraordinary cast – Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke – for his first film outside his native Japan. It has received warm plaudits on the festival circuit and most recently played at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival. Available on Curzon Home Cinema.

Like The Truth and Vivarium, this is a film that has seen its theatrical window cast asunder by the current situation. The great Udo Kier and Sonia Braga star in this highly acclaimed, ultra-violent Brazilian western/horror/satire by directors Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho (the latter of which directed the admired Aquarius in 2016 and was recently present at the Dublin International Film Festival). Available on Curzon Home Cinema and Mubi.

This terrific site is a delight for fans of horror. It offers a month’s free trial to begin with and offers plans from 4.17 per month beyond that. Features a wide array of horror films from art horror to cult classics to more mainstream fare. Eye-catching exclusives include the revered, micro-budget Japanese horror-comedy One Cut of the Dead.

Dark Touch
One of Shudder’s stand-out titles is Marina De Van’s criminally underseen Irish-shot horror. A disquieting and ambitious picture. It’s a shame that no streaming service currently offers De Van’s astounding debut In My Skin. She is an artist who deserves more recognition.

Robert Altman’s fascinating Irish-shot curio, is a visceral and disturbing depiction of a descent into madness. All too hard to find over the years, now is a great time for it to be revalued and its place in the great director’s canon reassessed. Features a great performance by Susannah York. Available on Shudder.

Brain Damage
Another Shudder highlight is this utterly hilarious, outrageous and grotesque horror-comedy from Frank Henenlotter, director of iconic cult-film Basket Case.

Force Majeure
Curzon Home Cinema are offering a special deal to rent Ruben Ostlund’s satire for just 99p. Recently remade in the US with Will Ferrell, people would be advised to stick to the scabrous Swedish original.

Sunderland Til I Die
Football fans can get their fix with this highly acclaimed documentary which follows the plight of the North-East club after relegation to League One. Season Two is just about to start on Netflix. Season One is also available.

First Reformed
Paul Shrader made a triumphant return to form with this magisterial, prescient and utterly powerful drama. Ethan Hawke has never been better.
Available on Netflix

You Were Never Really Here
Lynne Ramsey’s vigilante drama is a masterclass in the direction. There is not a single shot wasted in it’s lean 89-minute duration. Features a superb performance from Joaquin Phoenix. Available on Netflix
Brian De Palma’s terrific Hitchockian thriller is full of his usual dynamic visual tropes and twisty revelations. Features a great Bernard Hermann score. Available on Mubi and Shudder

The great enfant terrible Gaspar Noe returned to form after the somewhat disappointing Love with this pulsating dance horror. With a brilliant soundtrack featuring the likes of Aphex Twin and Daft Punk, and a terrific central turn from Sofia Boutella, this formally audacious nightmare is a must-see. Available on Netflix

IFI Player
Featuring a wealth of fascinating, educational and entertaining content. From the Radharc Collection to the brilliantly eccentric films of Roy Spence to The Bord Failte Collection to an array of old adverts. Here one is provided a wonderful snapshot of Irish culture, audiovisual and otherwise, throughout various points in history.