Shelf Survey: The Best Things We Watched In March

Tiger King, Portrait Of A Lady On Fire and streamable content topped our what to watch list in March

We watched a lot of movies in March. Like most of the world, the coronavirus pandemic has forced us inside and glued to our screens — more so than usual. That means plenty of new and old watches to get us through hours of self-isolation, social distancing and quarantine.

While we’re aching to return to theatres, there’s plenty to keep us occupied at home when it comes to streaming options, VOD, and our own movie collections. We’ve got you covered whether you’re trying to entertain the kids at home or looking for some well-deserved “me time”.

We want to know what you’ve loved this month too: Let us know what the best thing you watched in March in the comments or on Twitter and help your fellow film fans out with some social distancing suggestions. For more ideas, check out what made our list in January and February.

And yes, we’re obviously obsessed with Tiger King, too.

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Here’s what That Shelf’s writers were loving in March:

Uncorked (2020)

Sometimes it is the simple tales that stick with you the most. The plot of Uncorked, involving a young man torn between his dreams and his family, is nothing new. However, it is the strong and nuanced performances by an ensemble cast that allows the film to soar above its familiar trappings. – Courtney Small

Where to watch it: Netflix

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Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (2019)

It’s a film stunning in its beauty and scope. Each frame is a painting, the camera acts as a conduit for its characters and not its audiences, and the slow build of painstaking, forbidden desire through mere glances is mesmerizing. It’s the most romantic film I have ever seen – that it’s created by a queer woman for queer audiences makes it all the more powerful, intimate, and a cinematic classic. – Akash Singh

Last thing I got to see at TIFF Lightbox before everything got shut down. It doesn’t hurt that both leads gave very engaging performances that make you lean in. – Daniel Grant

Where to watch it: On VOD in April, home media release May 19

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Creep (2014)

Using a minimalist approach, Creep centres around filmmaker Aaron (Patrick Brice) who answers a Craigslist ad from Josef (Mark Duplass) inquiring about filming him for a day in a remote location for his unborn child. What could possibly go wrong? Penned by Duplass and Brice – who also directed the film – Creep has moments nail-biting tension woven with dark humour. Best part, if you like this film, there is a Creep 2 and if you like that as well, Creep 3 is in the works! Enjoy! – Erin Fernie

Where to watch it: Netflix

 

The Ice Storm (1997)

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Bless the recent Criterion sales from Unobstructed View: they’re making social distancing a breeze! One of the first watches of my quarantine viewing was a return to Ang Lee’s 1997 drama The Ice Storm. It might be the unsung gem of Lee’s canon. (And the ice crystals have never looked as sad and chilling as they do on Criterion Blu-ray.) The Ice Storm observes a different kind of social isolation and distancing by looking at boredom and alienation in a well-to-do suburban neighbourhood. As funny as it is tragic, the storm evokes a cooling of the sunny ways of American life that held such promise and it puts the family’s distractions (sex, Nixon, and all that) in perspective. Watching Lee’s ’70s-set drama, which features a devastating Joan Allen, a never-better Sigourney Weaver, and a delightfully cringe-worthy key party, I couldn’t help but imagine the period films that the 2020 quarantine will inevitably inspire. – Pat Mullen

Where to watch it: DVD/Blu-ray (both Criterion and regular), Google Play/YouTube, iTunes

 

Bacurau (2019)

A smart, stylish, and hyper-violent thriller that works as a popcorn flick and wild social commentary. – Victor Stiff

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Where to watch it: Streaming soon

 

Synchronic (2019)

Benson & Moorhead’s brand of character-based high-concept storytelling is my jam. – Adam Stovall

Where to watch it: in theatres later this year

 

Going the Distance (2010)

Going the Distance is a comedy that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. It’s no surprise that former real-life couple Drew Barrymore and Justin Long have great chemistry on-screen, but the supporting cast that includes Christina Applegate, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Ron Livingston, Rob Riggle, and Jim Gaffigan shouldn’t be overlooked. Directed by Nanette Burstein (Hillary), it’s laugh-out-loud funny and is a feel-good movie that we could all use right now. It’s a shame screenwriter Geoff LaTulippe hasn’t written anything else, but he still has one of the greatest IMDb profile pics of all-time. – Rachel West

Where to watch it: buy/rent on iTunes/Google Play/YouTube

 

The Blob (1988)

The 1988 remake of The Blob was an instant favourite when I caught it on Canada’s SPACE channel as a teen, but I wasn’t so sure it would hold up upon repeat viewing in my thirties. I was pleasantly surprised. This movie is so much fun and definitely superior to the original movie – minus the theme song, of course. It really feels like The Blob gets slept on simply because it’s a remake of a creature classic. Great effects and makeup, genuinely decent character moments and humour (the screenplay is by Frank Darabont), siiiiick motorcycle jumping action, and people getting melted left and right by a giant alien protozoa! What else could you ask for?! Absolutely nothing. The unknown contagion aspect feels particularly relevant right now, but thankfully that subplot is a lot more entertaining in the movies. – Will Perkins

Where to watch it: Hollywood Suite

 

Frozen II (2019)

Let’s be real. Being cooped up at home with your kids while trying to work from home is less than ideal. Not only do you have to do your work and meet your deadlines, you’ve got to constantly take breaks to make meals, organize home-school or craft projects, help architect blanket forts — it’s working two full-time jobs simultaneously. Any rules about screen time have completely vanished in our household and I’m more than happy to turn to Disney+ and just let the kids binge their faves. Frozen II is available now to stream, and it’s a welcome treat to return to Arendelle; not only is it beautifully animated, it delivers a subtle message about reconciling with colonialism and exploitation. And the soundtrack makes a great background for your most mind-numbing work tasks. – Jenny Bullough

Where to watch it: Disney+

Tiger King (2020)

Tiger King is a docuseries that literally has it all. There is greed, corruption, animal activism, power ballad music videos, drugs, political races, swingers, missing husbands, and that does not even crack the surface. However, much like Tickled, The Imposter, Tabloid and other recent great-stranger-than fiction documentaries, there is an underlying commentary about the American Dream that makes the series so riveting. Joe Exotic and the other key individuals in the Big Cat industry are all hustlers who will stop at nothing for fame, wealth and power. They captivate us because we are living in an age where people at various levels of society are defiantly cheating the system in plain sight. As a result, one walks away from the series feeling sorry for Joe Exotic’s loyal staff and the animals who ultimately get caught in the crossfire. – Courtney Small

Where to watch it: Netflix

 

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind (2019)

Celebrity. Addiction. Toxic Relationships. Not necessarily the first words that come to mind when you think of Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot. At least not if you’re more familiar with the current incarnation of the singer-songwriter: mild-mannered, soft-spoken, and still touring at 81 years old. It’s hard to reconcile that man with one who battled addiction amid international superstardom, headlined L.A.’s famous Troubador, and influenced musicians from Bob Dylan to Geddy Lee. But with a host of interviews from Lightfoot, his contemporaries, and his fans, interspersed with an impressive amount of archival footage, directors Martha Kehoe and Joan Tosoni have no trouble showing audiences exactly how Lightfoot went from small-town Ontario boy to one of the world’s most lauded musicians. – Emma Badame

Where to watch it: CBC Gem, DVD

 

The Sinner (2017-2019)

Okay, not a movie but The Sinner is a procedural crime show that hooked me with the first episode. Bill Pullman and Carrie are incredible in the first season, and Bill reprises his role as Detective Harry Ambrose in the second season. It is engrossing enough to be escapist, though dark, and was easy to binge while the real work crumbles around us. – Deirdre Crimmins

Where to watch it: Netflix, Stack TV on Amazon Prime, Global TV App

Best TV show you’re currently watching:

Lovesick  – who knew a British comedy about a guy telling his sexual partners he has an STD could be so charming?

Little Fires Everywhere

Dave

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – still got it!

The Office – Re-watching The Office is the mental comfort food we need as a family right now.

Matty and Benny Eat Out America

The Crown

My Brilliant Friend

Breeders



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