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A filmmakers guide to Netflix – 10 must-watch shows and movies

Hi, I’m Oscar. As Digital Manager at Ignition Collective, I am also the resident filmmaker. The past few weeks have been strange, to say the least… however, as many of us will continue to spend the next couple of weeks at home due to the country being in lockdown, now's the perfect time to binge-watch a few Netflix series or films!

If you're fed up of spring cleaning, tired of worrying or have now baked enough banana bread to feed an army; it's time to enjoy some well-earned downtime and get absorbed into a fantastic Netflix series or film.

What’s your favourite show/film on Netflix? Did it make the list? Let us know in the comments.


Love, Death and Robots

Series – Animation


“This collection of animated short stories spans several genres, including science-fiction, fantasy, horror and comedy. World-class animation creators bring captivating stories to life in the form of a unique and visceral viewing experience.”

Love, Death and Robots is one of my favourite series of the last decade. Ongoing leaps in computer-generated imaging and motion-capture mean that the animated models can now seem uncannily human, allowing the creators to mimic epic sci-fi blockbusters on a minimal budget with robustly effective results. The superb animation is matched by the range of compelling stories, voice acting and audio scores.

Love, Death and Robots has made the list as it is perfect for anyone with a short attention span - it’s a pic ’nmix show (lots of disconnected short stories), it’s satisfyingly wicked with a generous seasoning of NSFW.

Black Mirror

Series – Sci-Fi/Drama

“An anthology series that revolves around a group of people's personal lives and how technology manipulates their behaviour.”

I love Black Mirror. It’s one of my all-time favourite binge-worthy shows - for many reasons. It’s relatable as most of the technology is parallel with that of our current day-to-day lives. The featured technology is almost always an advanced variant of something that exists: a phone or a contact lens. It’s exciting - especially as futurism is involved.

The high production value allows a lot of time and effort to go into the modelling of these scenarios and tech, which people see as an awe-inducing peer into the future.

And finally, the storylines: Charlie Brooker is an excellent writer with a defined style and knows how to create dramatic tension in his stories.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Film – Western/Drama

“An anthology of six short films that take place in 19th-century post-Civil War era during the settling of the Old West.”

Six sepia-toned snapshots of goings-on in the Wild West get poked at in this brilliant anthology mini-series. With a plethora of stars and the Coen bros. at the helm, the dialogue is rich and memorable, and the performances are polished to a gleam.

The Ballard of Buster Scruggs made this list as it’s one of the more unique series featured on Netflix. It is humorous, sincere and a welcome glimpse into the heart of the West.

Okja

Film – Adventure/Drama

“Okja is a 2017 South Korean-American action-adventure film about a girl who raises a genetically modified super pig.”

A creative, provocative tear-jerker to get your teeth into. Okja combines man-and-nature themes with the alarming food-industry revelations of Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. This said Okja remains neutral to both eco-awareness and veganism ideals - without it feeling like propaganda.

The digital creation of Okja is itself carried off with terrific skill and the pure energy and likability of this film make it such a pleasure. Okja deserves to be seen in a cinema, but we have Netflix to thank for its strange existence.

Breaking Bad

Series – Crime/Drama


“Walter White, a chemistry teacher, discovers that he has cancer and decides to get into the meth-making business to repay his medical debts. His priorities begin to change when he partners with Jesse.”

This show is as addictive as the blue meth Walter White cooks up in his Winnebago.

Breaking Bad with its 139 wins and 229 nominations is the most awarded television show ever. The show is supported by a perfect cast, who have been provided with a great depth of character to play on.

The shows plot twists, black humour, dialogue, soundtrack and characterisation make it one of the best shows ever made (in my opinion). It is a cinematic masterpiece that will have you craving the next episode. Heisenberg for the win!

Gerald’s Game

Film – Horror/Thriller

“A woman accidentally kills her husband during a kinky game. Handcuffed to her bed with no hope of rescue, she begins hearing voices and seeing strange visions.”

A simple yet brilliant premise by horror god Steven King. A couple retreats to a secluded cabin, hoping to revive their failing marriage with a sexy weekend excursion. But when he handcuffs her to the bed and promptly dies of a heart attack, she has to draw on all her initiative to take one last grasp at life while battling her inner demons.

The screenplay is beautifully adapted and retains the uneasiness, grim, dread that King is well known for. I haven't read the novel, but I feel that the film has preserved perfectly what King intended to make readers of the novel feel. I consider this to be one of the best films on my list.

Mind Hunter

Series – Crime/Drama

“Set in the late 1970s, two FBI agents are tasked with interviewing serial killers to solve open cases.”

Now into its second season, David Fincher's Mindhunter is very 'Fincher' and that's a good thing. The director behind Seven and Zodiac is the producer and directs numerous episodes of the series, which tells the origin story of the FBI's Behavioural Science Unit and its study of serial killers.

It's a talk heavy, slick, crime show adapted awesomely for the small screen. Sometimes it's funny. Often, it's chilling. But however you take it, at least "Mindhunter" is working a fresh angle, and that’s why it has made this list.

Annihilation

Film – Sci-fi/Adventure


“A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don't apply.”

Annihilation is a seriously intelligent, and visually stunning picture that benefits from its bold structure and dedicated female cast. One moment it'll be disturbing and awful, the next it will be amazing and dreamlike, and that's kind of the point. There is an amazing otherworldly quality captured both in the visuals and the narrative that really is amazing.

I was genuinely intrigued the whole way through, and there were some scenes that I was completely gripped by. It's wildly original, and it takes risks and we need that in our sci-fi. It's fearless, topped by a lovely twist ending, and is deserving of more than a casual skim through on an iPad.

Community

Show - Comedy


“A lawyer, whose law degree has been revoked, is compelled to join the Greendale Community College. Students of diverse temperaments join his study group, which leads to quirky and memorable encounters.”

Community is a nice, niche comedy. If you enjoy "The Office" or "Parks and Rec", you'll most likely enjoy "Community." Creator Dan Harmon's blend of witty, smart and quirky style definitely raises the bar for other TV shows as it develops itself on its own web of humorous references that becomes as addictive as it is funny.

It made me laugh and cry and then laugh some more. Give it a try and I'm sure you will also fall in love with these characters.

Marriage Story

Film - Drama


“A stage director and his actor wife struggle through a gruelling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.”

Marriage Story is an engaging drama from the brilliant mind of Noah Baumbach that shows how tough divorce can be, especially when a kid is involved. The story is well written from both the husband and the wife's perspective.

It almost hurts to watch it at times but in the best way possible. Led by two of the best performances of 2019, gorgeous cinematography and a mesmerising score. A masterpiece on all levels and one of Netflix's best offerings.

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