Stay-At-Home Seven: April 5-12

Unmissable films on TV and streaming services this week

by Amber Wilkinson, Jennie Kermode

Julie Estelle in The Raid 2
Julie Estelle in The Raid 2

The Raid 2, 1am, Film4, Friday April 9

Once the action starts in Gareth Evans' fast-moving sequel to his 2012 hit, it doesn't let up. Picking up where the first film left off, hero Rama is forced undercover to investigate police corruption. The plotremains squarely in its place as a handy hook for another succession ofvisceral set-pieces and face-offs. From muddy prison quads to the confined spacesof a loo, the inventiveness and the punching, kicking and general mayhem keeps oncoming. Evans has recently signed a deal with Netflix and his criminal thriller Havoc starring Tom Hardy is coming soon. Read the fullreview

The Elephant Man, 9pm, BBC4, April 8

Some of David Lynch's wilder flights of fantasy, such as Inland Empire, may have proved tough going for some audiences, but this early feature from his back catalogue, made between cult classics Eraserhead and Blue Velvet offers plenty of mainstream appeal. It tells the tragic tale of John Merrick (played with great nuance under a lot of prosthetics by the late, great John Hurt). Hurt lost out in the Oscar race to Robert De Niro for Raging Bull, but he would have been just as worthy a winner, bringing a soulful anguish to his portrayal of the disfigured Merrick, who is rescued by surgeon Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins, in a similarly strong performance). Watch it and weep. Read our full review.

Palm Springs, Amazon Prime, from Friday, April 9

There's shades of a screwball comedy to Max Barbakow's debut, which sees wedding guest Sarah (Cristin Milioti) find herself trapped in the same time loop that fellow guest Nyles (Andy Samberg) has been stuck in since he can barely remember when. There's considerable fun to be had as the pair of them tear up the town and the wedding on a daily basis, secure in the knowledge that nobody can die and that the Groundhog Day style shenanigans will see them wake up in the same place the next morning. But their budding romance is decidedly tempered by the fact that not even death will come to part them. Sharply observant, suitably romantic and very funny, Barbakow adds poignancy through the character of Roy (JK Simmons), a third person stuck in the loop. Read our full review.

An American Werewolf In London, 9pm, Sony Movies Classic, Tuesday, April 6

Jennie Kermode writes: A ripping yarn which defies the conventions of Hollywood narratives and, in so doing, feels like a true account despite its fantastic conceit, John Landis' film is one classic that has stood the test of time. It stars David Naughton as a young tourist exploring the Yorkshire moors with a friend who stumbles onto something ancient, sinister and remarkably hairy. Treated for his injuries in London, where he commences a passionate affair with Jenny Agutter's sympathetic nurse, he is shocked to discover that he has been afflicted by a curse which will take form at the next full moon. The film is rightly famous for its transformation sequence but it's the dry comedy as much as the horror that provides a thrill, and there's a fine character study at the heart of it, as well as a soundtrack that perfectly captures the mood. Read our full review.

Kind Hearts And Coronets, 10.20am, Talking Pictures TV, Friday, April 9

One of the best loved of the Ealing Comedies, this deliciously dark serial killer tale sees Alec Guinness go to town in not just one but eight performances, each beautifully calibrated - with his gung-ho suffragette Lady Agatha D'Ascoyne possibly the standout. Dennis Price, meanwhile, is the perfect killer, a draper's assistant, disgruntled at the D'Ascoyne's treatment of his mother, who sets about his elegant vengeance with aplomb. Hamer, who battled alcoholism most of his life, had an all-too brief career but he certainly secured an enduring legacy with this. Read our full review.

Brothers Of The Head, 1.55am, Film4, Monday, April 12

Jennie Kermode writes: Brian Aldiss is best known for his science fiction but every now and again he explored something different, and Brothers Of The Head is one of his standout short stories. Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe's remarkably faithful adaptation brings it to bright, searing life. It marks the début of the Treadaway twins (Harry and Luke), who play conjoined twins whose angry punk rock act is eagerly exploited by their manager, but who harbour a secret - a third, vestigial conjoined sibling, in the form of a hidden tumour, which has slept throughout their lives but now seems to be communicating with them through dreams. As the brothers fall out under its influence, the film explores the exploitation of both sameness and difference and the violence underlying it. Both twins are on tremendous form, the effects work is beautifully done and never intrusive, and the story really packs a punch. Read our full review.

A Star Is Born, Netflix

This fourth iteration of the story of a fading star who strikes up a relationship with a talented newcomer and helps her find fame - leading to romance and tragedy, showed there's a reason why this tale is a perennial favourite. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga make the perfect pairing as the older star with addiction issues and nervous newcomer, and Cooper (who also co-wrote the screenplay) proves he's no slouch in the directorial department either, moving the story along at a fair pace. He hits the sweet spot of delivering the emotional goods without overdoing it, but, be warned, you're also likely to have the Oscar-winning tune Shallow stuck in your head for a week afterwards. Read our full review.

Our short film choice this week is The Making Of Long Bird, described by our reviewer as "part "found footage", not quite "mockumentary", complicated by the simultaneous animated presence of Long Bird".

The Making of Longbird from Will Anderson on Vimeo.

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