Stay-At-Home Seven: October 4 to 10

TV and streaming picks for the week ahead

by Amber Wilkinson

Almost Famous
Almost Famous

Welcome to this week's selection of films to catch on telly and streaming services. If you're looking for more inspiration, check out our recent Streaming Spotlight on animated films.

Almost Famous, Great! Movies (Freeview Channel 33), 11.50pm, Monday, October 4

Cameron Crowe's consideration of the Seventies music scene is loosely based on his own experience of being a teen pop critic at the time, which helps give it a ring of truth. 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. Read our full review.

Hunger, 1.55am, Film4, Tuesday, October 5

Steve McQueen’s intense debut feature recounts the last days of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands’ in Northern Ireland's Maze prison, but also broadens out to examine the atmosphere and events that existed within the infamous H-Blocks of the Long Nesh prison in the early Eighties. Featuring a towering performance from Michael Fassbender in the central role, as he moves from zealot to a shadow of the man he was as he succumbs to hunger, the script by Enda Walsh finds time to consider the fabric of Sands' incarceration as well as the man himself. Shot with an eye for brutal beauty by Sean Bobbit, the immaculate craftsmanship serves rather than overshadows the complex portrait of both the time period and Sands himself. As McQueen put it at the time: "For me it was never about left and right it was always about you and me, in a sense of who we are as human beings." Read our full review.

The Babadook, 9pm, BBC4, Thursday, October 7

If you're looking for something to get you in the Halloween horror mood early, then Jennifer Kent's breakout debut should definitely do the trick. Her riff on parent and child psychological chills lifts its "monster" - the Babdook of the film's title - from a story book, so that her film delivers not just the story she crafts but the weight of dark fairy tales we all carry with us in our subconscious. The tale begins some years after the fatal accident that claimed Samuel's dad as his mum, pregnant with him, was being rushed to hospital. Grief swirls around the pair as her loss and his emotional problems feed on one another in increasingly disturbing ways. Carefully calibrating just the right level of unease, helped enormously by intense performances by Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman as the troubled mother and son, Kent allows the tension to build almost imperceptibly at first until reality is so skewed, the primal reigns supreme. Read our full review. Read our full review.

The Childhood Of A Leader, showing on w4free.com

There's another dysfunctional mother and child relationship at the heart of Brady Corbet's debut chiller, a fable about fascism that unfolds episodically in moments from a young boy's life in rural France. The focus is the youngster's tantrums, which spiral increasingly as the film progresses, with Corbet careful to show that the kid (Tom Sweet) is as much of a victim as he is a villain, steeping in isolation and the stress of a household that is kept strictly in line by his father (Liam Cunningham). Featuring often disorienting camerawork from British cinematographer Lol Crawley and an emotionally turbulent score from Scott Walker, the film loops destructively forward, dragging us in its wake. Read our full review.

Hitchcock's Shower Scene 78/52, BBC4, 11.30pm, Thursday, October 7

Documentarian Alexandre O Philipe likes nothing more than a deep dive into a film or subject, with his back catalogue also taking an indepth look at everything from Alien to Klingon speakers. This 2017 film is surely his most specific and detailed, however, immersing us in the three-minute shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Philipe assembles an impressive array of talking heads, including American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis, sound guru Walter Murch and a plethora of others to dissect not just the mechanics of the scene but what made it so shocking and transgressive then and now. Read our full review.

Patti Cake$, Film4, 1.50am, Friday, October 8

The story of a New Jersey kid who dreams of being a rapper may flirt with a lot of familiar ideas but Geremy Jasper's feature debut has enough energy to make you forgive all that - not least thanks to the breakout performance from Australian actress Danielle Macdonald at its heart. She became an instant Sundance star thanks to her ability to spit rhymes like a pro and there's an authenticity to the script that cuts through cliche. The film is also notable for the supporting turn by cabaret-star-turned-actress Bridget Everett, who proves there's a lot more to her game than 'funny side-kick' as Patti's drunken and emotionally complex mum Barb. Read our film review here.

Zootropolis, 3.05pm, BBC1, Sunday, October 10

Bunny Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) is the epitome of bright-eyed and bushy tailed, when she heads from the carrot farm to the big city to join the police force. Where she might once have been labelled 'prey', she is now benefiting from an equalities push, even if it does seem a lot like lip service from the lion mayor (JK Simmons) - an interesting thread that runs through the whole film. But trouble is brewing in Zootropolis, including an otter-gone-rogue and Judy is soon on the chase, with her career at stake, and only a rogue fox (Jason Bateman, at his finest) on hand to help. There's plenty to enjoy here, from the intricately crafted city itself to the fun nods to Chinatown and The Godfather but, most importantly, the action hinges on a strong story about self-belief and the importance of friendship. The bunny is brilliant... but, truth be told, it's the sloths who really steal the show. Read our full review.

This week's short selection is Naptha, written and directed by Moin Hussain, which considers lost and gained heritage through the experience of father and son Malik (Ernest Igancius) and Faraz (Divian Ladwa), whose relationship begins to shift. Watch the full film over at Film4.

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