Stay-At-Home Seven: November 1 to 7

Our pick of TV and streaming films for the week ahead

by Amber Wilkinson

Fighting With My Family
Fighting With My Family Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival
Fighting With My Family, 9pm, Film4, Monday, November 1

Florence Pugh shows off her versatility in this enjoyable comedy drama, written by Stephen Merchant and based on the true story of a teenage wrestler from Norfolk who gets a shot at the WWE bigtime. The film sticks to a tried and tested formula, all coated with Hollywood shine, but Pugh gives the action some emotional dynamite as the feisty Paige, who finds herself increasingly at odds with her equally ambitious brother (Jack Lowden). Dwayne Johnson, who is also executive producer, also has plenty of fun in a cameo role. Read our full review.

A Most Violent Year, 10.55pm, Great Movies!, Wednesday, November 3

JC Chandor took a dive into the troubling landscape of New York in 1981 in this film about ambitious immigrant Abel (Oscar Isaac), who is trying to expand his heating oil business. Despite the title, this is less about overt violence than a broody sense of intense threat and internal struggles - of morality and marriages. Isaac and Jessica Chastain, who plays his wife, bring a depth to the ebb and flow of the disturbing undercurrent, while the strong supporting cast includes Alessandro Nivola as Abel's main rival. Cinematographer Bradford Young ensures the grim and intense mood extends to the look and feel. Read our full review and our interview with Alessandro Nivola.

Jumanji - The Next Level, Netflix, from Thursday November 4

Jake Kasdan's likeable sequel sees the gang of friends sucked back into the video game world, where losing all your lives could be permanent. This time around the Spencer, Martha, Fridge and Bethany are joined by Spencer's grandad Eddie and Eddie's estranged buddy Milo (played by Dannys DeVito and Glover in the real world). The body-swap fun this time sees Eddie find himself bulked up as Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) while Milo is transformed into Kevin Hart's zoologist, and the Fridge is stuck with Jack Black's overweight cartographer. Martha keeps her Ruby Roundhouse avatar (Karen Gillan). Essentially this is more of the same family fun, although there is a pinch of poignancy added by the older pair of characters getting a new lease of life. Another sequel is already in the works that will, reportedly, focus on the back story of bad guy Jurgen the Brutal (Rory McCann).

Bad Times At the El Royale, Film4, 10.55pm, Thursday, November 4

Drew Goddard's puzzle box of a film has the mystery appeal of a satisfying Agatha Christie, as a group of seven strangers arrive at a rundown hotel with a dark past. The hotel is carved in two between California and Nevada and the action also unfolds across more than one time period - and some unexpected spaces. As secrets begin to be revealed the surprises keep coming and if the scripting is occasionally on the baggy side, you can only forgive Goddard for feeling that he didn't want to lose a minute with this cast, which includes Cynthia Erivo, Jeff Bridges and John Hamm and Chris Hemsworth. Erivo also gets to show off her excellent singing skills with a beautiful rendition of Unchained Melody. Read our full review.

Rams, Film4, 1.45am, Friday, November 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.

Portrait Of A Lady on Fire, 9pm, BBC4, Saturday, November 6, then on iPlayer

Celine Sciamma's award-winning 18th century drama is a sumptuous and passionate affair. Noémie Merlant stars as Marianne, an artist who has been hired to paint a secret portrait of headstrong young woman Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) - whose mother wants the painting to send to a prospective husband. Soon Marianne's study of Héloïse becomes much more intense than mere professional interest as Sciamma offers up a sensual exploration of artist and muse. Tension abounds, from Marianne's initial fear of having her secret project discovered to problems thrown up by forbidden love, but Sciamma always keeps the female gaze front and centre. Read our full review.

Truman & Tennessee, 9pm, BBC4, Sunday, November 7, then on iPlayer

Jennie Kermode writes: They're two of the biggest names in US literature. As gay men, they both had to deal with the weird dichotomy of being celebrated by a society which discriminated against them at the same time. They both had issues with alcohol and they both devoted their careers to exploring the experiences of ordinary Americans and the aspects of US society which many preferred not to acknowledge (and some publishers and studios sought to hide, with varying degrees of success). But did you know that they knew each other? Lisa Immordino Vreeland's dual biopic explores a tumultuous friendship which endured through decades in spite of spite and petty betrayals. Packed with insightful interviews, archive footage from events like the Black & White Ball and clips from performances based on their work, it benefits from remarkable access to their notes and private correspondence, which allows them the opportunity to speak for themselves. It's a must for fans of their work, for anyone with an interest in that period of US creative history, and for people interested in the creative process, which the two men approached in very different ways. Read our full review and our conversation with the director.

Our short selection this week is from Fyzal Boulifa, who went on to make an impact with his debut feature Lynn + Lucy. The Curse tells the tale of a woman caught visiting her older lover - and you can watch it for free over on Film4

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