Stay-At-Home Seven: August 10 to 16

Movies to catch at home this week

by Amber Wilkinson

Behind The Candelabra
Behind The Candelabra
Here's our latest batch of films to catch on the telly or streaming services this week. You can read last week's here and if you're looking for more inspiration, we're feline groovy this week, with a streaming spotlight on cat ladies.

Behind The Candelabra, BBC iPlayer, until Friday, 14 August and Netflix

Director Steven Soderbergh made this Liberace biopic for television but you wouldn't know it from the look or the star-studded cast, led by Michael Douglas as the flamboyant pianist and Matt Damon as his much younger lover Scott Thorson (from whose book, with Alex Thorleifson, this is adapted by Richard LaGravenese). The relationship between Thorson and Liberace was hurricane levels of stormy and Soderbergh gleefully throws himself into the job with the same ostentation that Liberace threw himself at the world. Douglas and Damon prove to be a winning double-act as the preening pianist and - if Thorson's book is to be believed - the man who he literally sculpted to please him. Packed with black comedy and a surprising amount of pathos and emotion this is a rhinestone-studded treat. Read what Michael Douglas and Matt Damon said about the film and our full review.

Elle, Film 4 on Demand

Paul Verhoeven has forged his career on being provocative and this not-quite rape-revenge thriller continues in similar vein, hinging on an outstanding performance from Isabelle Huppert. Laced with black humour, there's no doubt that Huppert's video game executive - sexually assaulted in the film's opening section - has become a mistress of compartmentalisation because of the everyday misogyny she encounters in her office. But what happens in the aftermath of her attack next sparks with ambiguity. David Birke's script refuses to conform to the usual tropes of victimhood or revenge, with Verhoeven creating something much more subversive, but no less gripping, in the process. Read what Isabelle Huppert told us about working with Verhoeven and our full review.

Rango, Film4, Monday, 10 August, 2.45pm

If you've ever wondered what Chinatown might look like if it was turned into a family-friendly animation, now's your chance. Johnny Depp is Rango, a chameleon who, in the way of so many great westerns, finds himself in a town that needs a sheriff. Water supplies are dwindling and a hero is required. The nods to spaghetti westerns are a treat for adults but the characters director Gore Verbinksi's trademark anarchic energy are also great fun for kids. Everyone from Bill Nighy to Harry Dean Stanton pops up and the animation is lent undeniable energy by the fact that rather than voice booth recordings, Verbinski had his actors work together on stage to achieve the vocals, referred to rather cutely as "emotion capture" in the film's original publicity. Read our full review

A Walk In The Woods, Film4, Thursday, 13 August, 10.40pm

As comfortable and familiar as an old pair of hiking boots, this is the sort of film it's easy to spend an hour or so with. Adapted from Bill Bryson's memoir by Bill Holderman and Michael Arndt, the end result has the warmth of autumn sunlight as we take a mosey with Bryson (Robert Redford) and his shambling buddy Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte). What follows is a gentle examination of friendship and man's relationship with himself, others and nature, although these ideas are part of the scenery, with knock-about humour the main event. Read what Nick Nolte said about the film and our full review.

Berlin Syndrome, Film4, Sunday, 16 August, 1.10am

This tense thriller from Cate Shortland sees a holiday romance turn sour, as Aussie tourist Clare (Teresa Palmer) discovers Andi (Max Riemelt), the sweet guy she just met, is a lot more obsessive than he first appears and soon has her held captive in his apartment. By keeping the viewpoint firmly with Clare, Shortland avoids voyeurism and adds to the ambiguity as the tension mounts. Read our full review.

BlackKklansman, Netflix

Following on from the premiere of Netflix exclusive Spike Lee's Da Five Bloods, this Cannes Grand Prix winner is fresh on the streaming platform. Inspired by the unlikely true tale of an African American police officer (John David Washington) who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s, with the help of his white Jewish colleague (Adam Driver). This isn't just a period satire but a commentary on the racism that still exists in society. Lee's message may be delivered with humour but it's no less of a stinging indictment on the state of the world for that. Read what Spike Lee said about the film in Cannes and our full review

The Damned United, BBC4, Thursday, August 13, 9pm

This partly fictionalised drama about football coach Brian Clough's short spell as Leeds United manager in 1974 offers Michael Sheen yet another opportunity to slip under the skin of an icon - a list of roles that also includes Tony Blair, David Frost and, most recently, Chris Tarrant. As with all his roles, he goes beyond mere mimicry of the outspoken but charismatic coach to a place of emotional investment. Football supporters with a grounding in the history of the period will doubtless enjoy this most, but by keeping his focus mostly on the off-pitch machinations at the club, writer Peter Morgan ensures there's plenty for non-footy fans to enjoy as well. Read our full review

Think you're having a bad day? You'll feel better after spending six minutes the panicking headspace of Billy in Cold Light Of Day. He is stressed out about everything, not least what to get his girlfriend for her birthday. Zam Salim went on to make after-life Up There, and you might recognise Alan McCafferty, who plays the central role of Billy here, as Jake from Scots comedy drama High Times.

COLD LIGHT OF DAY from zam salim on Vimeo.

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