Stay-At-Home Seven: September 7 to 13

Streaming and TV suggestions for the coming week

by Amber Wilkinson

Trainspotting
Trainspotting
Welcome to this week's selection of films to catch on TV and streaming services. If you're looking for more inspiration, check out our Streaming Spotlight on Venice Golden Lion winners. Plus you can read last week's recommendations here.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, BBC iPlayer, until October 6

The Cold War chill seeps into every corner of this John Le Carre adaptation about a spy trying to root out a Civil Service mole. Forget the shiny surfaces of James Bond's 007, this is the hardboiled back room variety of spying, complete with a portfolio and leather-scented briefcase, with Let The Right One In director Tomas Alfredson wringing tension from every moment. At its heart is Gary Oldman's inscrutable performance as George Smiley, but the entire cast is a Who's Who of A-list British talent and includes Toby Jones, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy. Read our full review.

The Two Escobars, BBC iPlayer

Initially, it might seem that footballerAndrés Escobar and drug kingpin Pablo Escobar share little in common save for their birthplace and a surname - although they were not related by blood. Jeff and Michael Zimbalist's documentary soon begins to dig deeper, however, to chart the rise of "narco-soccer" in Nineties Columbia. Pablo was a football fan - but he and his fellow drug lords also saw the beautiful game as a beautiful opportunity for money laundering, pouring cash into clubs that saw the country rise to prominence on the world stage. The Zimbalists show how Andrés became a tragic pawn in the game. This is a complex story, told with efficiency. Read our full review.

Zodiac, BBC1, Friday, September 11, 10.45pm and on Netflix

Jennie Kermode writes: Just what is it about the Zodiac killer? He had very few confirmed kills - more San Franciscans die in traffic accidents every week. there was nothing particularly glamorous or unusual about the way he killed. Yet decades after he faded from view, hundreds of people remain obsessed by the search for his identity. It's this obsession that David Fincher understood when he crafted his masterpiece. In one of the very first scenes, Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) - the cartoonist on whose book the film is based - asks his son why he has swallowed toothpaste when it's bad for him, and the kid says "Because it's minty." It's simplicity that people can't accept. This awareness doesn't mean, however, that Fincher is immune to the bug, and he goes to great lengths to recreate details precisely, even airlifting trees to get the settings right. The film is stunningly realised with long tracking shots that will take your breath away. With all this plus Mark Ruffalo playing Inspector Dave Toschi by way of Columbo, it's easy to get drawn in. Read our full review.

The Second Best Marigold Hotel, Film4, Wednesday, September 9, 6.45pm

This well-upholstered sequel, stuffed with British acting talent, heads back to the retirement hotel in India as young owner Sonny (Dev Patel) plans an expansion in the run-up to his wedding. Writer Ol Parker does a good job of keeping several story arcs spinning at once as new relationships are forged and old ties jettisoned, although with old hands like Bill Nighy, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith peppering the cast, he's pushing at an open door. The cinematography from Ben Smithard and colourful set design offer a blast of warmth and director John Madden ensures everything moves at brisk pace that helps zip past any cliches. Read our full review.

Trainspotting, Film4, Sunday, September 13, 10.55pm

Many people who saw the Dettol advert doing the rounds on social media this week were put in mind of Ewan McGregor's monologue in this Scots classic, including author Irvine Welsh, who suggested, "Choose Death". But there's much to recommend about Danny Boyle's blackly comic drama aside from meme material. Following the lives of a group of heroin addicts in Edinburgh it made household names of then youngish stars Robert Carlyle - rarely more scary than is here - Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald and the rest. Boyle's brutal energy has lost little of its impact with the passing of the years. You could certainly choose a lot less interesting films to watch. Read our full review.

Home Alone, E4, Sunday, September 13, 5.55pm

Macaulay Culkin had appeared in a couple of films before this - including John Candy starrer Uncle Buck - but this festive film catapulted the 10-year-old to megastardom. This film - which John Hughes was inspired to write by a scene in Uncle Buck - sees Culkin's Kevin left home alone and forced to fend off a pair of burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). Employing the sort of slapstick and weapon ingenuity usually confined to cartoons, Hughes and director Chris Columbus have a blast showing the kid getting the better of the thieves. There's a sugar rush, candy coloured vibe to proceedings - but then what do you expect from Christmas? Read our full review.

42, Amazon Prime

Baseball might not be the sport of choice for most Britons, but this biopic of the first African-American Major League baseball player Jackie Robinson is much more focused on his life than on the game. Featuring a compelling central performance from Chadwick Boseman before he became a household name, Brian Helgeland's film starts in 1945 and tracks Robinson's rise through the game to break the colour barrier - highlighting not just the overt but latent racism that he faced. Boseman's magnetic central turn is well supported by Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, even if some of the scripting is a bit on the nose. The film is leaving Amazon Prime on September 14 and well worth catching before it does. Read our full review.

Our short film selection this week is Bastien Dubois' animation Madagascar, A Journey Diary about which our reviewer wrote: "Can a film be perfect? Madagascar is close, creating a sense of place that is actually dislocative - watching it one is carried away."

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