Stay-At-Home Seven: July 19-26

TV and streaming picks for the week ahead

by Amber Wilkinson

Snowpiercer Photo: Lionsgate

Welcome to this week's selection of films to catch on Freeview and streaming services. If you're looking for more inspiration, we've recently shone our Streaming Spotlight on Cannes winners.

Snowpiercer, 11.40pm, Film4, Tuesday, July 20

Tilda Swinton has had a seriously high-profile couple of weeks thanks to appearing in a record-breaking five films at this year's Cannes - and there's an opportunity to catch up with her standout piece of character acting work this week in Bong Joon Ho's chilly tale of a future dystopia set within the confines of a train. She plays a sort of sub-Margaret Thatcher dictator type with a broad Yorkshire brogue who is second in command on this train to nowhere - a collection of carriages with the elites in the lap of luxury at the front while the less fortunates live in the hellscape that is its tail end, which is forever looping a ravaged world. As a metaphor for society's haves and have-nots, the film is familiar if on (and about) the money but it is elevated by visually arresting action sequences that make excellent use of the train's cramped spaces and high concept class system as Chris Evans' Curtis Everett leads the revolutionary charge towards the front. Read our full review, plus our interviews with the director and John Hurt, who also co-stars as Everett's mentor.

Killing Escobar, 9pm, BBC2, Tuesday, July 19, then on iPlayer

Jennie Kermode writes: The unlikely tale of a Glaswegian hard man who grew up in the shadow of Barlinnie, did jail time himself, then reinvented himself as a mercenary soldier and found himself leading a doomed mission to assassinate Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, this has all the ingredients of a great action movie, but it's a documentary. Peter McAleese recounts much of his story directly, with natural flair, because although he's older and wiser now - and not the kind of man you might expect - he still has a soldier's sense of humour. It's illustrated with never-before-seen footage recorded bu=y a journalist who tagged along hoping for the scoop of the decade, and supported by the testimony of other mercenaries who help to fill in the parts that Peyer is less clear about - exactly what happened at the point when everyone thought he was going to die. A thrilling watch. Read our full review.

Lady Bird, 10.30pm, BBC1, Saturday, July 24, then on iPlayer

Jennie Kermode writes:Greta Gerwig's deftly scripted drama, cruelly overlooked by the Oscars, picks up where Atonement left off in recognising Saoirse Ronan's ability to surrender herself to characters who don't know what they're doing. Her young heroine, rebranding herself with the film's title, leaves home to embark on college life while her mother panics and her father tries to soothe the escalating tensions between them. Lady Bird is naïve and may come across as fickle but she's fierce and emotionally true to herself, with a big appetite for life even though she hasn't figured out what she likes yet, stumbling through the social minefield of things that are and are not perceived as cool. Nothing much happens but everything is reshaped by experience, the same landscape painted in different colours. Mother, her perception coloured by her generation as well as passing time, really can't understand, but despite a succession of small heartbreaks the kid is alright. Read our full review.

Whisky Galore!, 3.50pm, BBC2, Friday, July 23, then on iPlayer

Seventy years have done little to dim the subversive joy of Alexander Mackendrick's Hebridean wartime comedy, which deservedly still makes its presence felt in top 10 lists of Scottish films. Released in a run of weeks that also included fellow classics Passport To Pimlico and Kind Hearts And Coronets, this tale of locals trying to salvage 50,000 cases of Scotch from a stricken US ship while outwitting a pompous Englishman (Basil Radford) who has been sent to the island has an anti-authoritarian sweep that is rounded out beautifully by a cast of well drawn and likeable characters. Read our full review.

The Witch, 1.55am, Friday, July 23 

Superstition, fable and religion come together to form a chillingly atmospheric mix in Robert Eggers' feature debut, a historic horror which, in testimony to its beautiful crafting, premiered at Sundance not in the traditional Midnight section but the US competition. The setting is 17th Century America, where Yorkshireman William (Ralph Ineson), his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie) and their family have been banished from their settlement. Puritanical in their beliefs, their new home is marked by extreme isolation on the fringes of a forest, a place where eldest daughter Tomasin (Anna Taylor-Joy, making her breakout film debut) finds it tough to look after her younger siblings. When, one day, her baby brother disappears in the middle of a game, the family begins to unhinge, as the fears of the parents are passed to the children and disturbing psychosexual tensions also emerge. Eggers draws fully on the iconography of the period, along with painters like Caravaggio and Goya, to craft a bone-chilling study of fractured family and faith that also offers up a canny little origin story about "a witch in the woods". Read our full review.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, 7.55am, E4, Saturday, July 24

The residents of Bikini Bottom have always been cheerfully unhinged and this enjoyably surreal sequel carries on that fine tradition. The plot - although this sort of thing barely needs one - concerns the theft of the secret Krabby Patty recipe by a pirate (Antonio Banderas, having even more fun than usual) but that's really just something to hang the general mayhem on as SpongeBob takes a slapstick swim through time and space and the jokes arrive in waves. Read our full review.

The Square, 12.50am, Film4, Monday, July 26

Technically dipping into next week here, but only just and Ruben Östlund's satirical sideswipe at everything from capitalism to the art establishment and toxic masculinity is well worth staying up late for. Although sometimes slightly unwieldy in structure, his tale of museum curator Christian (Claes Bang, who has since found international fame with the BBC's recent Dracula adaptation), who finds no good deed goes unpunished, carefully skewers modern society by showing what happens when liberal ideals come crashing headlong into reality. With strong visuals, that also major in "squares", strong supporting performances by the likes of Elisabeth Moss and a desert-dry ear of humour,  Östlund - who claims "everything should have a monkey in it" - throws so many ideas into the mix it's hard not to be gripped. Read our full review.

This week's short selection is Oscar-nominated animation This Way Up - about a pair of undertakers who have a spot of bother with their latest charge.

This Way Up by Smith and Foulkes from Nexus Studios on Vimeo.

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More news and features

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