Stay-At-Home Seven: September 20 to 27

Streaming and TV suggestions for the week ahead

by Amber Wilkinson

A Monster Calls - Yew Tree
A Monster Calls - Yew Tree
A Monster Calls, 11.55pm, BBC1, Friday, September 24

Scheduled at a very odd time of day given the teenage audience that it is largely aimed at, this story of how the fantastical helps a young boy come to terms with his mum's terminal illness is worth catching on iPlayer afterwards. Lewis MacDougall and Felicity Jones play the mum and son in question as the youngster gets a surprise when an ancient yew tree creaks to life and pledges to tell him three stories in return for one of his own that will reveal "the truth" about a nightmare he's having. Classically structured and well paced, though its darker themes around loss should be approached with caution, particularly for younger, more sensitive children, this is an intelligent film that explores its themes with care. As the film's co-star Sigourney Weaver puts it: "It's very Spanish - filled with a lot of passion and confidence and honesty". Director Juan Antonio Bayona is currently filming episodes of The Lord Of The Rings TV show, which should prove an excellent fit for his blend of the real and the imagined. Read our full review.

Whiplash, 11.15pm, BBC2, Wednesday, September 22

Expanded from the short film that won the top prize at Sundance, Damien Chazelle repeated the feat with the feature and then went on to snag three Oscars to boot. The film, about a single-minded drummer Andrew (Miles Teller) who finds himself locking horns with a bloody minder conductor (JK Simmons) uses the drum beats and jazz rhythms of Chazelle's regular composing partner Justin Hurwitz thrum through the film as the intensity, both of Andrew's performance and his war of wills reaches crisis point. Read our full review.

All The Money In The World, 11.40pm, Channel 4, Saturday, September 25

You might say 16-year-old John Paul Getty III was a victim of circumstance - kidnapped in Rome and with a grandfather who, despite being the richest man in the world, refused to pay the ransom. Ridley Scott's film also found itself in trouble not of its own making when Kevin Spacey - who was playing the billionnaire - became embroiled in sexual assault allegations just as the film was nearly finished. Scott made the decisive move of recasting and reshooting the relevant scenes with Christopher Plummer - a $10 million gamble that paid off as Plummer brings a charm to the miserly patriarch that stops him becoming a cartoon villain and netted himself BAFTA, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations in the process. The rest of the film, as you would expect from Scott, delights in the details, but it's Plummer who remains the biggest draw, his portrayal as rich as his character. Read our full review.

Edward Scissorhands, 6.55pm, E4, Saturday, September 25

Jennie Kermode writes: A modern fairy tale set in a pastel coloured suburban America, Edward Scissorhands was responsible for the meteoric rise of director Tim Burton and star Johnny Depp, while providing the perfect swansong for the great Vincent Price. The veteran actor here plays an inventor who dies tragically before his greatest creation is complete. With an assortment of blades in lieu of hands, our hero causes fear in everyone who meets him - until, that is, he's adopted by a plucky Avon lady (Dianne Wiest) and unexpectedly finds himself flavour of the month. Along the way he begins an awkward romance with her teenage daughter (Winona Ryder) - but of course, prejudice doesn't die that easily, and the good times were never going to last. Burton's visual imagination couples with one of Danny Elfman's most enchanting scores in an enduring classic which offers spooky thrills, sharp satire and a whole lot of heart. Read our full review.

Capernaum, 1.45am, Channel4, Monday, September 27

The plight of children on the poverty line in Lebanon is put front and centre by Nadine Labaki's neorealist drama about youngster Zain (Zain Al Rafeea, in a performance that doesn't just show him as a victim but as a kid who is railing furiously against the injustices he faces), who runs away from home after his parents sell his sister. The story unfolds in two strands - one showing him scraping by on the street and the other in the confines of a courtroom where he is suing his parents for neglect. Although Labaki leans into the melodrama a little heavily in places, this is nevertheless a deeply affecting film that grips at a visceral level. Al Rafeea is now resettled in Norway, something Labaki told us about. Read our full review.

The Incredible Shrinking Man, 1pm, Friday, September 24, Horror Channel (Freeview channel 68)

Don't miss this Fifties classic tucked away on the Horror Channel this week. Jack Arnold's film, based on the book and adapted for the screen by Richard Matheson, charts the strange affair of all-American guy Scott Carey (Grant Williams) after an encounter with a strange mist causes him to start to shrink. Beyond the film's commentary on masculinity and gender, not to mention its sideswipe at media feeding frenzies that has lost none of its power today, this also delivers in terms of action, with its practical effects some of the best of the period, and philosophical bite. Read our full review.

Prince Avalanche, showing on w4free.com

W4free is a comparatively new player in the VoD world but this free-to-watch platform has some interesting titles available, including this quirky comedy drama from David Gordon Green. A remake of Iceland's Either Way, it pairs the diligent Alvin (Paul Rudd) with his altogether more feckless younger brother-in-law Lance (Emile Hirsch) and explores their odd couple relationship as they paint road markings on the rural roads of Texas. Although driven by the comic ups and downs of the central relationship, Green also offers more melancholic wider commentary on man's less than welcome impact on the natural landscape, which has only become more relevant since this film was made. Read our full review.

This week's short is Oscar-nominated documentary Joe's Violin, which offers a touching dual portrait of two lives that become connected through the instrument of the title

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