Stay-At-Home Seven: August 29 to September 5

TV and streaming suggestions for the week ahead

by Amber Wilkinson

The BFG Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
The BFG, 3.45pm, BBC1, Sunday, September 5

Steven Spielberg has always had a keen eye for a child's perspective, so he was the perfect choice to take on Roald Dahl's tale of an orphan, Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), who finds herself befriending the giant of the title (created with one eye on the original book illustrations by Quentin Blake and played with a warm and soulful resonance by Mark Rylance). There's both a delight in the Scrumdiddlyumptious way that the BFG speaks and in the detailed motion-capture work used to bring him to life as this pair of unlikely heroes take on a handful of giants who are intent on eating human beans. Read our full review.

Buried, 1.55am, Film4, Sunday, September 5

The perfect set-up for a tight budget is offered by Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés' claustrophobic thriller, which sees a US contractor in Iraq (Ryan Reynolds) wake up to discover he has been buried alive, with the action taking place in the living coffin he finds himself in. All he has for company is a lighter, a couple of glow sticks and a mobile phone - with his captor demanding ransom before his oxygen runs out. Despite the tight confines, Eduard Grau's camerawork is endlessly inventive and Reynolds puts in a surprisingly physical performance considering the limitations of space. Read our full review

Rush Hour, Netflix

Cinema history is littered with misfiring mismatched buddy cop movies but Brett Ratner's tale, which brings together Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, is up there with the best. Chan plays a serious Hong Kong cop who finds himself shackled to Tucker's brash LA detective after a diplomat's daughter is kidnapped. The action moves at a pace, allowing Chan to showcase both his slick martial arts skills and his comic timing, but it's in the spark between him and Tucker that the film really finds its groove. You may just come for the action but you'll end up caring about the case. Read our full review.

Ray & Liz, 1.20am, Film4, Thursday, September 2

Richard Billingham draws on his own upbringing and his photographic studies of his parents to realise this gritty slice-of-life drama about a dysfunctional family. Presented as a triptych, we see his alcoholic father Ray (Patrick Romer), in a framing device, elderly and alone after Liz (Deidre Kelly) has left him. The film then flashes back to two more periods in the family's life with the focus falling on Richard's little brother Jason - first seen as a toddler and then as an older child, mostly living on pickled beetroot while trying to avoid his parents as much as possible. The strong production design - right down to buzzing flies - captures its points in time perfectly, and if there is a bleakness here, not to mention a gut punch scrutiny of Thatcher's Britain, there is also dark humour and a surprising amount of hope to be found in the unexpected kindness of others. Read our full review.

The Railway Children, 2pm, BBC2, Saturday, September 4

Just as Spielberg captures the spirit of the book with his BFG, Lionel Jeffries pulled off the same trick with this 1970 version of E Nesbit's tale of three kids left behind when their dad is wrongfully arrested. If it was nostalgic at the time it was made, the film has only gathered more old fashioned charm with the passing of the years as Bobbie (Jenny Agutter), Phyllis (Sally Thomsett) and Peter (Gary F Warren) bring youthful spirit to their adventures, with Bernard Cribbins providing excellent support. Jeffries perfectly captures the adventurous nature of the children, while also showing the growing sense of impending adulthood being felt by Bobbie. Grab a slice of jam and toast and enjoy. Read what Agutter told us about the film and our full review.

Dances With Wolves, 2.45pm, Great! Movies Action (Freeview channel 41), Friday, September 2

Kevin Costner proved he was more than just a pretty face in front of the camera when he stepped behind it to make this epic western about a Union soldier who leaves his life behind to join a Sioux community. Costner shows no signs of nerves as he takes on the sweeping vistas of America as well as the central role, alongside Mary McDonnell, avoiding the saccharine in favour of more adult and measured considerations of sacrifice and love that finds strength in simplicity. Read our full review.

Guardians Of The Galaxy, 11.20pm, BBC1, Saturday, September 4

It's easy to feel out of your depth with Marvel Comic films if you don't come to them armed with a love and knowledge of the source material and all the franchise entries to date. What a pleasure it is, then, to be able to dive straight into James Gunn's space adventure, which refuses to take itself - or anything else for that matter - too seriously. Chris Pratt stars as Peter Quill, orb stealer and bounty hunter target, who finds himself in an oddball alliance with a gun-toting raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a less than conversational but intelligent tree called Groot (Vin Diesel), assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and vengeance-seeking Drax (Dave Bautista). Sharing a similar, though more family-orientated irreverence to comic book heroes as Deadpool, Gunn and his co-writer Nicole Perlman still retain plenty of action adventure, helped enormously by the classy cast, who are clearly enjoying themselves immensely. Oh, and did I mention the Awesome Mix tape? Read our full review.

This week's short selection is documentary Tree Fellers, which recounts the story of the Belizean lumberjacks who in 1941 and 1942 helped Britain fight fascism by leaving their homeland to chop down trees in Scotland.

Tree Fellers from Sana Bilgrami on Vimeo.

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