Movies on Demand – SBS

One of the advantages of doing freelance and casual work is not being exposed to office generated germs and thereby getting ill is less common. So I haven’t been properly sick in a while now … until last week when I managed to get an ear infection. I actually blame Facebook for this – there’s been something going around and my interaction with the online world has clearly exposed me to it. I know right? Rude.
Since mid-last week I’ve had to sleep a lot or just lie down as I was a bit wobbly. Because I couldn’t concentrate on reading I watched a lot of things. Thankfully at the moment SBS are offering an ace selection of 400 on demand movies through their site. This means if you’re sick or stuck at home for long periods of time you don’t have to drag yourself down to the DVD store to pick something up or risk getting late fees as you’re too sick to take it back, bandwidth withstanding.
Of the movies currently on offer (from what I can tell they put more up each week), I think I’ve watched four. The links below in the movie titles should take you straight to where you can watch them. I gather they are Australia-specific though.
My first selection was Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979). It’s nice to watch something light and silly when a bit run down so YAY – Monty Python! Always good for what ails one.
From that I went to something either I can’t remember (due to a mixture of illness and medication) or something thought I had watched … No wait – it was Brick Lane (2007) and yes I did watch it as I’d read the book by Monica Ali. If you’ve not read or seen it basically it’s about Nazneen, a Bangladeshi woman who sent to London as a teenager for an arranged marriage. Nazneen (played with beautiful sensitivity by Tannishtha Chatterjee), her husband and two daughters live in the multi-cultural (well at least it was) London suburb of Brick Lane. The book and movie explore how she comes to terms with her new home and how it is changing. Pretty much her life isn’t a walk in the park and she worries about her sister who is still in Bangladesh. It’s been a long time since I read the book but I really enjoyed it and the film.
To get back to something lighter (well in my humble opinion) I then watched Velvet Goldmine (1998). Directed by Todd Haynes it’s a fictionalisation (I think that’s the right way to refer to it) of the ’70s glam rock scene, based around the mythologies of Iggy Pop and David Bowies’ lives and relationship. It also has a sprinkling of Oscar Wilde so thereby contains many elements I am interested in. The cast is ace too, including Christian Bale, Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and (Australia’s own) Toni Collette. It also has a killer soundtrack featuring Pulp, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, T-Rex and Teenage Fanclub with Donna Matthews.
Today as I was still needing rest I watched Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (2010). I was so pleased to see it as I’d known about the film for some time and I love Serge Gainsbourg’s music (not so much his reggae era). The film might best be described as a biography with a dash of Surrealism. French actor Eric Elmosnino was physically convincing in the titular role but some of the edits cut abruptly from one time to another further down the track and I felt I was missing stuff. It was still really good though. Except when my cat decided to sit on the keyboard and block out the screen with her furson.

Cats - no appreciation for the cinematic arts.

Cats – no appreciation of the cinematic arts.

The rest of the collection is filled with a whole slew of offerings either I’ve been wanting to see or things I’ve not heard of which sound fascinating. Precious (2009) is now available so I’m looking forward to watching that, preferably when in an up beat mood as I hear it’s pretty heavy going.
Basically what SBS have done is collate a treasure trove of movies in all types of genres so the old ‘something for everyone’ chestnut is covered. And they’re free! If you’re stuck at home for any reason and have access to the web, I highly recommend having a look.

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