Stay-At-Home Seven: July 20 to 26

This week's batch of films to stream or catch on TV

by Amber Wilkinson

I Am Not A Witch
I Am Not A Witch
I Am Not A Witch, Film4 on demand until August 20

This assured feature debut from Welsh-Zambian director Rungano Nyoni skewers sexual politics as it tells the tale of a young Zambian girl, Shula (Maggie Mulubwa), who finds herself accused of being a witch. Packed off to a witch camp, she is forced to work, tethered alongside her fellow "witches" by gigantic cotton bobbins, which add an edge of the surreal to Nyoni's tale. Her self-declared state guardian Mr Banda (Henry PJ Phiri) embodies the ludicrous elements of the patriarchy as well as the danger, as he brags to the women about how much longer their tethers are since he took office. There are plenty of laughs here but also poignancy as Nyoni slowly tightens the focus on Shula's plight. Read the full review here.

Heal The Living, Film4 on demand until August 19

Andrew Robertson writes: Adaptations of novels gain strength when they are also subtitled. There is something about that act of reading and distance that gives space to reflect. Heal The Living fills it with beauty. Not stark, textual monochrome: softnesses and subtleties. A moment of roadside rhythm is a lull before trauma. The gentleness of touch and tone makes it even more affecting. Read our full review here.

X+Y, BBC iPlayer until August 11

Jennie Kermode writes: "Cinema offers plenty of stories about cute autistic children and a few about struggling autistic adults, but it's only recently that it has begun to address the experiences that lie in between. X + Y is an astute coming of age tale about a boy who has learned to cope with the stresses of life through maths, but who - along with the audience - has his bubble burst early on: autism is not a passport to genius, and if he wants to compete in top level maths competitions, he's going to have to learn to work hard. He'll also face letting go of his dependency on his worried single mum (Sally Hawkins), embarking on his first tentative romance and getting a glimpse of what life is like for autistic people who don't have the advantage of his kind of talent. Ably played by Asa Butterfield, he's a complicated individual with a lot going on in his life and a refreshing change from the usual stereotypes. Rafe Spall (who can also be seen this week in One Way To Denmark) isn't quite so well served as a teacher with an overplayed illness, but makes a gallant effort, and the film packs in a lot of charm without ever becoming twee. Read our full review here

Odd Man Out, Talking Pictures TV, Tuesday July 21, 4.35pm

Two years before Carol Reed made The Third Man, he made this gripping film noir about an injured IRA man who goes on the run. Shot with a similar eye for light and shade that would win his cinematographer, Robert Krasker, an Oscar for his collaboration on The Third Man, James Mason puts in a typically compelling performance as Johnny McQueen, who is slowly bleeding to death as the police net closes in. Read our full review here.

Buried, Film4 on Demand until tomorrow

Set ups don't get much simpler than the one in Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés' claustrophobic thriller - a US contractor in Iraq (Ryan Reynolds) wakes up to discover he has been buried alive. For company in the box, all he has is a lighter, a couple of glow sticks and a mobile phone - with his captor demanding ransom before his oxygen runs out. Despite the tight confines, Eduard Grau's camerawork is endlessly inventive and Reynolds puts in a surprisingly physical performance considering the limitations of the box. Read ourfull review here.

Flushed Away, E4, Sunday, July 26, noon

The first Aardman animation to jettison stop-motion work in favour of CGI may not have the quite have the charm of Wallace and Gromit but there's enough here to keep the kids entertained. The voice talent is strong, as always, with Hugh Jackman on vocals for spoilt pet mouse Roddy St James, who finds his circumstances drastically altered after being flushed down the loo. As he tries to get back to Kensington through the sewers of London, he teams up with spirited risk-taker Rita (Kate Winslet), who is battling an evil toad (Ian McKellen), with plans for world domination. The singing slugs are a high point. Read our full review here.

The Shining, BBC1, Friday, July 24, 10.50pm

This adaptation of Stephen King's bestselling book sees Stanley Kubrick lean into the ambiguities of the novel to unsettling effect to tell this tale of a recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) who takes an off-season job at the Overlook Hotel, with his wife Wendy (Shelly Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) - who also happens to be psychic - in tow. There are plenty of haunting visuals and supernatural elements at play here, but this is also a disturbing tale of domestic abuse and psychological fragmentation. Nicholson is at his unpredictable best here as the increasingly unhinged Jack, while Duvall's slip into desperation is also compelling. If, afterwards, you fancy a deeper dive into the Overlook and the film's themes, check out documentary Room 237, available to watch on Amazon's BFI player. Read our full review of The Shining here.

We're turning to a short made before they were famous for this week's selection. Tim Burton's stop-motion animation Vincent, about a boy who wants to be Vincent Price, which showcases a meticulousness and dark humour that is present in his later feature work. 


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