Stay-At-Home Seven: November 8 to14

TV and streaming picks for the coming week

by Amber Wilkinson

The Martian
The Martian
The Martian, 6.15pm, Film4, Wednesday, 10th November

Andy Weir's book is a poster child for the way that, just occasionally, a self-published novel can go the whole way to global fame and Drew Goddard's adaptation brings it faithfully to life. With Ridley Scott at the helm, it could be argued the space stuff would always be in good hands, as the story of an astronaut stranded on a mission to Mars unfolds - but he's helped enormously by Matt Damon's sympathetic central performance. What marks his Mark Watney out from a lot of other stranded souls in cinema is his sheer ingenuity and resourcefulness with which he goes about his task - not to mention a large amount of humour, such as the lament that "it's been seven days since I ran out of ketchup". Being lost in space has rarely been more exhilarating or fun. Read our full review

Corpus Christi, 1.15am, Film4, Friday, 12th November

Jennie Kermode writes: A modern parable about a sinner who finds his way into the service of God, Jan Komasa's thoughtful, sharp-witted drama was Poland's 2020 Oscar submission. It follows habitual troublemaker Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia), who is just out of juvie when he impersonates a priest to impress a girl and accidentally finds himself with a parish to look after, discovering in the process that he has something to say on moral matters and that people want to listen, but whilst it finds some comedy in this situation it's much too smart to concede to farce or to present a morally simple scenario, continuing to ask difficult questions throughout its running time. Is Daniel learning something real or simply playing a part? Is he able to bring about real change, or is it the role that matters - and if so, to what extent was he responsible for the role he played before? Beautifully shot and with fine acting all round, this is a film which has plenty to offer regardless of your own religious beliefs (or lack thereof), an astute character study which inspires and discomfits in equal measure. Read our full review

Chained For Life, 1.05am, Film4, Saturday, 13th November

Jennie Kermode writes: A beautiful, blind young woman. The disfigured man she falls in love with at her father's clinic, only to reject him when her sight is restored. Tragedy and romance intermingle in this old fashioned Hollywood horror yarn, but all is not what it seems, for this is a film within a film, and Aaron Schimberg's astute satire rips it open to expose the exploitation that saturates it at every level. With the audience often deliberately left guessing what's 'fiction' and what's part of the film's reality - which, of course, also overlaps with our own reality - this is a film that draws out the ludicrousness of many people's attitudes to disability and makes them visible to everyone. Chained For Life is a film about guilt in the absence of shame, about musing on the human condition in the absence of humanity, and it's vicious and funny and gorgeously shot. Read our full review

The Man Who Would Be King, 1pm, Film4, Sunday, 14th November

This film features not only a great performance from Sean Connery but a matching one from Michael Caine as a pair of soldiers on the make, in this Rudyard Kipling adaptation. John Huston had been planning this for 20 years - originally with Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart in the roles, followed by a succession of other big names, including Robert Redford and Paul Newman - and it was certainly worth waiting for. There's a winning camaraderie between Connery and Caine's Daniel and Peachy and plenty of adventure on offer, with a strong underpinning of satire about British imperialism and the corrupting nature of power. Read our full review

Marie Antoinette, Great Movies, 4.25am, Friday, 12th November

Jennie Kermode writes: Perfumed and powdered and frosted with sugar, Sofia Coppola’s take on the life of France’s most famous doomed queen at first seems to be all confection but gradually reveals an astute self-awareness. Kirsten Dunst plays the woman herself, shuttled across a border and into a political marriage like a soulless objet d’art but gradually discovering that she can build a life for herself amidst all the excess. The real world seems distant, meaning almost out of grasp, and Coppola never quite lets us see the real affection she has for her incidental husband until it’s too late. Read our full review

Let The Right One In, iPlayer

An enticing mix of vampire horror, coming of age drama and teenage romance, John Ajvide Lindqvist proves adept at adaptation converting his book to a tight script, shot with a chilly realism by Thomas Alfredson, who balances the mood of mystery, dark comedy and revenge horror with a chilly prowess. This story of a bullied boy's love for a girl with a dark secret is full of surprises and shot with a realism that melds its more fantastical elements almost seamlessly with the grit of real life, helping them to hit home all the harder. The sound design also contributes much to the horror of what is unseen, from the thrum of a knife to ragged breathing. The English-language remake, which strikes a different tone is also worth a look (and available on Amazon) but the original remains the best. Read our full review

Cold In July, 12.45am, Great Movies!, Wednesday, 10th November

Jim Mickle's psychological thriller keeps you guessing as a family man's life starts to unravel after he kills a home intruder in the night. Michael C Hall - gamely taking on both the role and an Eighties mullet - is perfectly cast as a dad who suddenly finds himself in deep, with acting grace notes provided by Sam Shepard and Don Johnson as the two men he has to team up with after they stumble on a horrific conspiracy. Read our full review

With the French Film Festival UK now under way, why not check out the selection of one-minute shorts from the Mobile Film Festival on the timely theme of making peace with nature to tie in to the current COP26.

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O unholy night Sean Nichols Lynch on vampires, festive horror and Red Snow

Making Make The Devil Laugh The Mino brothers talk about their scrutiny of Japanese society

Protecting our communities and the environment Karen Arikian on The Automat, Joan Churchill, Saul Bellow, farming and environmental films

Immersion and collaboration Nicolás Postiglione on working with Moisés Sepúlveda, Agustín Toscano and his cast on his debut film

Hamptons Doc Fest Awards and a movie man Karen Arikian on the Hamptons Doc Fest awards, Stig Björkman and Joyce Carol Oates

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