News Of The World
Welcome to this week's Stay-At-Home Seven. If Valentine's Day put you in the mood for romance, you can also find more streaming suggestions in this week's Streaming Spotlight.
Swimsuit Issue, Netflix
A whole batch of Nordic titles dropped on Netflix last week, including Thelma director Joachim Trier’s debut feature Reprise and this sort of "Pool Monty" from Sweden. Since Måns Herngren's film in 2009, there have been other men's synchronised swim team films, most notably French offering Sink or Swimand British comedy Swimming With Men. All of them trade in a similar formula, with this one revolving around Frederik (Jonas Inde), who undergoing a midlife crisis and trying to reconnect with his daughter 17, finds himself attracted, along with his mates, to the idea of a swim team. Inde and Amanda Davin, as his daughter, Sara, given the film some spark and, if you're looking for something to warm your heart this week, you could do a lot worse than jump in. There's another batch of films from the region landing this week too. Read our full review.
News Of The World, Netflix
Jennie Kermode writes: Nothing to do with the ill-fated newspaper, this is the story of a former Civil War Captain (Tom Hanks) who makes his living reading the news to the inhabitants of isolated American communities and one day gets roped into escorting a troubled child (System Crasher's Helena Zengel, once again getting well deserved award nominations) across country to stay with her aunt. Taken by Kiowa people years earlier when her birth family was massacred, the girl has been orphaned a second time by soldiers determined to drive native people off the land. As they travel across a stunningly photographed landscape, the two overcome language and cultural barriers and gradually bond, but their journey is fraught with danger and nothing about the future can be taken for granted. Read our full review.
Bad Tales, MUBI, from Thursday
MUBI is currently offering the chance to watch the streaming service for free for 24 hours and you could do a lot worse than catch this tale of stewing Italian suburbia from filmmaking brothers Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo. The kids are not all right thanks to the toxic frustrations of fatherhood that are being foisted on them. As a long, hot summer wears on troubling connections start to form between the youngsters as the tension mounts. Read our full review.
Road Games, my5.tv
Jennie Kermode writes: An assured debut from Abner Pastoll, who would later go on to make the widely acclaimed A Good Woman Is Hard To Find, this is a story with some very dark themes which unfolds in bright sunshine on an idyllic stretch of country road. Here, signs warn drivers not to pick up hitchhikers because there's a serial killer in the area, so Jack (Andrew Simpson) is relieved when free spirited local girl Véronique (Joséphine de La Baume) agrees to join him in looking for a ride. Not only do they find one but the driver invites them to stay at his house overnight. It's only later that he realises something is very wrong. With a wonderful supporting performance from Barbara Crampton, this playful and charismatic little film packs more of a punch than you'd expect. Read our full review.
Nightcrawler, BBC iPlayer
Jake Gyllenhaal brings a large range of unsettling micro-expressions to Louis Bloom, the sociopathic wannabe newsgatherer at the heart of Dan Gilroy's directorial debut. His chilly dangerousness, which puts him in a league with Jason Bateman and Mr Ripley, is paired with the naive warmth of Riz Ahmed's Rick as Louis senses he can make a killing with the "it bleeds, it leads" attitude of a local TV news station. Gilroy's film, which is shot with a sleek neon-inflected night-time cool by Robert Elswit that recalls the best of Michael Mann, is a scathing satire of a "ratings at any price" attitude, which Louis takes to its horrifying limits. Read our full review.
Ain't Them Bodies Saints, my5.tv
David Lowery's second feature, after 2009's St Nick, saw him step fully into the indie limelight, after its premiere at Sundance. The warmth of the magic hour - expertly captured by DoP Bradford Young - matching the glow of the film's central relationship between Bob (Casey Affleck) and Ruthie (Rooney Mara). They are at the point of love where much of what goes on between them passes in unspoken understanding and, with a baby on the way, what could go wrong? Just about everything as it turns out, thanks to the pair's criminal tendencies. After a bungled job, Ruthie accidentally wings local cop Patrick (Ben Foster) and, after Bob takes the blame, he is locked up for 25 years. He is not content to stay in jail, however, and soon she is facing tough choices about the future for her and her daughter, while Bob is being hunted by more people than just the law. Lowery's film has timeless and geographically loose fell, lending it a mythical sweep and there is also a dreamlike quality, heightened by the fact that he withholds key events from the audience in favour of focusing in on the build-up to them and the aftermath. Read our interview with David Lowery and full review.
Stan & Ollie, BBC1, Friday February 15, 10.35pm
Steve Coogan has always been an acting chameleon and he proves his chops again here as Stan Laurel, matched by a sympathetic performance from John C Reilly as his long-time partner, Oliver Hardy, as the pair struggle with a career in decline and an increasingly testy relationship. Jon S Baird's film is a gentle sort, that begins with a beautifully shot piece of business between the two men before settling into more moving territory about the boys' last run around the block. The film also finds plenty of interest in the relationship between Stan and Ollie's wives Ida and Lucille, with Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson's performances proving just as magnetic as that of the two main stars. Read our full review.
If that puts you in mind for a bit of the real Stan & Laurel, why not have a laugh with Someone's Ailing - released previously in the UK as part of a DVD boxset?