Stay-At-Home Seven: June 14 to June 20

Telly and streaming picks for the coming week

by Jennie Kermode

Double Indemnity
Double Indemnity

Welcome to this week's Stay-At-Home Seven. If you want something other than football, this is our guide to the best of what you can see on TV over the coming week.

The Monuments Men, Film4, 7.40pm, Monday, June 14

Sometimes the strangest stories are true. George Clooney, directing as well as acting, has always had an eye for them, and here he presents the tale of a platoon of art experts and museum curators sent behind German lines in the last days of World War Two to try and retrieve looted masterpieces. It’s a flawed film whose comic aspirations ultimately overwhelm the drama, making it hard to suspend disbelief, but the great cast, featuring Cate Blanchett, John Goodman and Bill Murray, means there’s still fun to be had. There’s still very little material dealing with this aspect of the war and while Clooney might not do a good job of explicating the details, he provides an entertaining introduction to an important subject.

Double Indemnity,Great! Movies Classic, 7.45pm, Tuesday, June 15

In the whole, long history of film noir, there never was a femme fatale like Barbara Stanwyck’s Phyllis, who oozes sexual charisma and ruthlessness as a bored housewife wondering just how much money she could make if her husband died. Fred MacMurray is the insurance agent who doesn’t take a lot of persuasion to go along with her scheme, but once the deed is done and he realises that she has no more use for him, he begins to feel differently about it. Handsomely shot with deep inky blacks and shadows everywhere, it’s heavy on atmosphere, and it set the tone for a generation of filmmakers; you can still see its influence in crime thrillers today.

Face/Off, ITV4, 10pm, Wednesday, June 16

When what you need is action and the plot takes second place to style, John Woo delivers. This delightfully silly tale of an FBI agent trying to prevent a criminal mastermind from blowing up Los Angeles (don’t ask) takes those old Star Trek episodes in which Captain Kirk used to get split in two and fight himself one step further. It stars John Travolta, Nicolas Cage and experimental face swapping surgery. You can pretty much guess the rest, but there are plenty of high octane thrills including an edge-of-your-seat speedboat chase and more explosions than you can shake a stick at, all flawlessly delivered.

Bad Times At The El Royale, Film4, 9pm, Thursday, June 17

Amber Wilkinson writes: This puzzle box of a film from director Drew Goddard has the mystery appeal of a satisfying Agatha Christie, as a group of seven strangers arrive at a rundown hotel with a dark past. The hotel is carved in two between California and Nevada and the action also unfolds across more than one time period - and some unexpected spaces. As secrets begin to be revealed the surprises keep coming and if the scripting is occasionally on the baggy side, you can only forgive Goddard for feeling that he didn't want to lose a minute with this cast, including Cynthia Erivo, Jeff Bridges and John Hamm and Chris Hemsworth.

Spotlight, BBC2, 11.20pm, Friday, June 18

The extraordinary story of how a special investigative journalism at the Boston Globe broke the story of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church – a story which they first thought concerned a single priest but which would grow to expose abuses all around the world – Tom McCarthy’s low key, intelligent drama is a masterclass in how to manage a big subject without getting overwhelmed. It’s also one of the best films about journalism ever made. Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo shine in an ensemble cast which perfectly balances characters and issues without giving way to sensationalism or exploiting the victims. McCarthy works much like the journalists themselves, building up his narrative layer by layer to enable viewers to accept what once seemed unimaginable. Read our conversations with director Tom McCarthy, writer Josh Singer and star Brian d'Arcy James.

Hidden Figures, Channel 4, 7.30pm, Saturday, June 19

Today space travel is all about computers. At the start of the Sixties, the same incredibly complex calculations were literally done with pencil and paper – and although it was white men who got all the glory, it was black women whose tremendous mathematical skill made it possible. Theodore Melfi’s riveting drama pays tribute to those women and hinges on a trio of great performances from Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, with Kevin Costner’s supporting work also worthy of mention. The beautifully detailed production provides important historical context and will give you a fresh sense of awe at the achievements of spacefaring programmes then and now.

Apollo 13, ITV4, 2.10pm, Sunday, 20 June

We usually try fit a kids’ film into this list, but this is one that works for kids and adults alike. It’s a film that will remind older viewers of the wonder they felt when they first heard about human efforts to reach out into space, and it’s also a reminder of just how brave astronauts need to be – a dramatisation of a real life incident which went very wrong but ended up teaching us crucial lessons. Tom Hanks plays the commander who must work out what to do when his fragile craft suffers massive damage, and somehow get it safely home. There’s sterling support from Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon, and the special effects, which were stunning in their time, still look good today.

We're stepping back in time for this week's short selection this week. Words For Battle is by celebrated UK documentarian Humprhey Jennings. It dates from 1941 and considers conflict through the nation's poetry and other writing.

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