Stay-At-Home Seven: August 2 to 8

Telly and streaming picks for the week ahead

by Amber Wilkinson

Om Puri and Linda Bassett in East Is East
Om Puri and Linda Bassett in East Is East
We've got a bit of a retro focus going on for this week's selection and if you're looking for more inspiration, you can catch the tale of a tiger or two in this week's Streaming Spotlight.

East Is East, 11.25pm, Film4, Monday, August 2

Ayub Khan-Din skilfully adapts his culture clash play for the big screen, while Damien O'Donnell directs with plenty of energy to tell this Seventies set story of a Pakistani migrant to the UK, George Khan (Om Puri), his British wife Ella (Linda Bassett) and their family. Khan has a grand plan for his kids that includes arranged marriages but they have other ideas with revolution on the horizon. The humour here skewers its targets but there is a nuance to the compromises that must be reached which displays a winning warmth for the push and pull of families. Puri and Bassett meanwhile are a delight as the couple charting an enduring love between their two different cultural standpoints. Read our full review.

'71, Netflix, from Tuesday August 3

You wait weeks for a film set in 1971 and then two arrive at the same time, although this tense thriller sets a very different tone to East Is East. Black Watch playwright Gregory Burke invites us to spend a night at the 'hellmouth' that was Belfast Falls Road in 1971, as seen through the eyes of young British squaddie Gary Hook (Jack O'Connell) on his first tour of duty. Things go wrong fast and he finds himself trapped in no-man's land with all hell breaking loose. Burke is interested in people not politics, keeping the focus on the sudden outbreaks of inhumanity and humanity in the madness, expertly crafting his thriller from the swirling fog of war, while O'Connell and first-time director Yann Demange keep us bolted to the squaddie's naked fear. Read our full review.

Almost Famous, 9pm, Great! Movies (channel 51), Tuesday, August 3

With apologies for suggesting you get a real retro kick this week, it would be a shame to miss Cameron Crowe's consideration of the Seventies music scene, loosely based on his own experience of being a teen pop critic at the time. Patrick Fugit plays Crowe's alter ego William Miller, who finds himself catapulted into the staff of Rolling Stone at just 16. We follow his rites of passage as he goes on tour with a band. There's an ensemble cast joy to this film, which also features Frances McDormand as his overprotective mother, Billy Crudup and Jason Lee as band members and the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman as older critic Lester Bangs, as well as a nostalgic glow for the period that holds a ring of truth. Read our full review.

Mary And The Witch's Flower, 3pm, Film4, Wednesday, August 4

After Studio Ghibli temporarily halted production following the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki, veterans Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura went on to form Studio Ponoc.This was its first feature film outing and its tale of a holidaying schoolgirl who finds herself whisked off to witch school is very much in the spirit of Ghibli even if it doesn't quite hit the heights of that studio's best. Still, if the story arc may be familiar to adults, there's plenty here for children to enjoy and the visuals are beautifully realised. The English voice cast is also top notch, featuring Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent. Spookily, given the retro nature of this week's recommendations, it is based on the book, The Little Broomstick, which was published in, yup, 1971. Read our full review.

Rams, 1.15am, Film4, Thursday, August 5

This pitch black tragicomedy from Grímur Hákonarson tells the story of two brothers who have been feuding for 40 years and whose flocks are threatened by an outbreak of a deadly disease. Hákonarson has a real eye for the finer points of farming life - also seen in his more recent The County (available to watch on Curzon Home Cinema) - as well as a good ear for dry comedy but this is also a deeply humanistic portrait that goes in unexpected directions. Read our interview with Hákonarson and our chat with Atli Örvarsson about the film's score, plus our full review.

Pride And Prejudice, 11.30pm, BBC4, Thursday, August 5

Jane Austen adaptations come and go but Joe Wright's 2005 film, with the book brought to the screen by Deborah Moggach, remains one of the most seductive. Keira Knightley puts in a spirited performance as Elizabeth Bennett, relishing in her verbal bouts with the broody Mr Darcy (Matthew McFadyen, admittedly not quite able to erase memories of Colin Firth's TV turn in the role) as they inch towards romance. With its high production values and strong supporting cast, including Brenda Blethyn and Donald Sutherland, you're likely to fall in love all over again. Read our full review.

Kubo And The Two Strings, Film 4, Friday, August 6

Animation studio Laika may not be a household name like Ghibli, but they soon will be if they go on crafting stop-motion crackers like this. The directorial debut of Travis Knight - who is currently attached to a film version of The Six Billion Dollar Man starring Mark Wahlberg - this is the absorbing tale of a young boy (Art Parkinson) who goes on a dangerous quest with his talking monkey (Charlize Theron on no-nonsense vocals) and a samurai who is stuck in a bug outfit (Matthew McConnaughey). Using origami as inspiration for the animation, every inch of the film is a visual feast built around memorable characters and a plot that is inventive from beginning to last. Funny, scary and heartfelt in all the right places, it's a family treat. Read our full review.

This week's short selection is Peter Baynton's award-winning animation Over The Hill, about a sinister old folks' home and three resourceful residents that features a fabulous score from Oliver Davis, who went on to provide the music for Thomas & Friends.

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