Stay-At-Home Seven: May 31 to June 7

Telly and streaming picks for the coming week

by Amber Wilkinson

Eeb Allay Ooo!
Eeb Allay Ooo! Photo: Saumyanda Sahi/NaMa Productions
Welcome to this week's Stay-At-Home Seven. If you're looking for more home viewing suggestions, check out our most recent Streaming Spotlight on Swedish films.

Eeb Allay Ooo!, 1.45am Channel 4, Wednesday, June 3

There's a strong documentary feel to the framework of this satirical debut from Prateek Vats that immerses us in the world of the hapless Anjani (Shardul Bhardwaj), newly arrived in Delhi but desperate to contribute to the household income of his pregnant sister (Nutan Sinha). He gets a job as a monkey-shooer (a job that genuinely exists in the real world), the only problems being that he is petrified of them and monkeys are considered sacred by the majority Hindu populace and so must not be harmed. The title of the film refers to the shouts intended to scare them off and there's a gentle humour to Anjali's attempts, while something sharper, concerning the Kafkaesque nature of the task and the way that the monkeys in many ways have a better status than many of the people living in the city runs beneath the surface. Read our full review.

Strange But True, Netflix

There's a lot going on in Rowan Athale's American indie thriller, which is shaped around and crafted out of a family's grief. There's the out-there premise, for a start - adapted from John Searles' novel - that sees a woman (Margaret Qualley) turn up on the doorstep of her dead boyfriend Ronnie's parents (Greg Kinnear and Amy Ryan) claiming that she is pregnant with his child, even though it's five years since he passed away. The claim sends Ronnie's mum looking for a logical explanation and his younger brother Philip (Nick Robinson) seeking rather less plausible answers. Athale jettison's the early frigid tension for southern fried Gothic at the film's midpoint but his commitment to the new tack is so complete he just about gets away with it thanks to the strong mood and cast. Read our full review.

Birds Of Passage, 1.25am, Film4, Wednesday, June 3

Don't be put off by the two-hour running time of this Colombian film, the time is put to good use by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra as they craft a gripping, decades-spanning crime clan epic packed with Shakespearean films but also encompassing more modern ills, including capitalism and colonialism. The film charts one indigenous family's baby steps into the drugs trade before watching the decline of the clan as honour falls victim to profit. Beautifully shot (by Gallego) this marries its drug war themes to an ethnographic lament in beguiling fashion. Read our full review.

12 Years A Slave, 9pm, Film 4, June 2

It seems incredible to think that, in 2014, Steve McQueen's film became the first produced and directed by a black filmmaker - and written by an African American (John Ridley, adapting from Solom Northrop's memoir) - to win the Best Picture Oscar, although McQueen lost out in the Best Director stakes to Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity. It's apt, then, that the film reminds us that the issues surrounding slavery and the powerful and the powerless aren't just something from the history books but still, unfortunately, fiercely a part of our times. Based on the true story of violinist and family man Northrop (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who was born a free man but who was kidnapped and transported to Louisiana - where slavery still raged. McQueen shows not just the physical abuse but also the psychological violence that stems from white privilege and the difficulties of breaking free from something so culturally ingrained. There's a rawness and subtlety to the action and performances - both from Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o as a housemaid who unfortunately catches the eye of brutal slave owner Epps (Michael Fassbender) - that brings home the horror and makes sure it takes up residence in your head. Read our full review.

The Ladykillers, 11am, Film4, Saturday, June 5

The Coen Brothers may have had a second bash at this in 2004 but Alexander Mackendrick's deliciously dark original tale of a group of criminals who find their plans foiled by a little old lady is still the best. Alec Guinness may be the name that springs to mind when you think of it but his master criminal is matched step for step in this gleeful Ealing comedy by Katie Johnson, who plays dear Mrs Wilberforce, the unwitting lady from whom Guinness' ne'er do well rents his lodgings. Light and shadow play key roles in this collaboration between Mackendrick and cinematographer Otto Heller as the murkiness of the criminals (who also include Herbert Lom and Peter Sellers, in his breakthrough role) contrasts with the lavender and light of Mrs W. A restored version of the film, celebrating its 65th anniversary, is also going to be available in cinemas from Friday. Read our full review.

Missing Link, BBC iPlayer until May 28

The most recent charmer from the small Laika studio - whose impressive back catalogue includes Coraline and Kubo And The Two Strings - sees a famous explorer escort a sasquatch to Tibet in search of his kin. Hugh Jackman is a hoot as the egotistical explorer, while excellent support is provided by Zack Galifianakis as the sweetly literally minded Mr Link and Zoe Saldana as the smarter-than-both-of them Adelina, who also joins their quest. Funny and adventurous while cleverly tackling ideas of prejudice, it's a family film with a lot of heart. Read the full review.

The Hurt Locker, 11.45pm, BBC1, Saturday, June 5

Before Chloe Zhao swept up the top Oscars for Nomadland this year, Kathryn Bigelow was the only woman to have won the Best Director Oscar. Fortunately, there's no tokenism involved in Bigelow's triumph, which also deservingly won the Oscar for Best Picture. Her film charts the struggles of an elite bomb disposal squad in Iraq and drips with tension from the start. It also features three heavy-weight performances at its heart - from Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty and, particularly, Jeremy Renner as a risk-taking sergeant who is addicted to adrenaline. Beyond the well-executed action, Bigelow confronts us with the horrors of war, showing the terror and dehumanisation it can cause alongside its impact on everyone it touches. Read our full review.

This week's short selection is Jason Carpenter's award-winning animation The Renter, of which our reviewer says: "For a tale ostensibly based on the creator's "time in day care" this short manages a level of malice on a par with The Night Of The Hunter." Carpenter has gone on to supply excellent animation work to feature documentaries, including Kailash and The Biggest Little Farm

The Renter from Jason Carpenter on Vimeo.

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