Stay-At-Home Seven: January 3 to 9

Television and streaming selections for the coming week

by Amber Wilkinson

The Sting
The Sting

Happy New Year to all our readers, if you're looking for more streaming selections, check out our recent snowy Spotlight.

The Sting, 11.50am, ITV4, Monday, January 3

They'd already proved a tough double-header to beat in director George Roy Hill's Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and the twin wattage of Robert Redford and Paul Newman at the top of their game shines just as brightly in this slick comedy drama from the same director, this time written by David S Ward. The pair play con artists Henry (Newman) and Johnny (Redford) who hatch an elaborate sting to liberate a load of cash from mobster Doyle (Robert Shaw). Everything has the click of satisfaction in this film, from the mechanic of the sting itself to the Depression-era production design and the piano score from Scott Joplin - something the Academy acknowledged with seven Oscars, including Best Film.

The Nest, Netflix, from today

If you like tense psychological dramas, they don't come much more broody than this one from Martha Marcy May Marlene director Sean Durkin. On the face of it, Rory (Jude Law) is a smooth stock market trader with everything going for him. It's the 1980s and, thanks to deregulation, he's hoping to make a killing by trading in London, which means he's asked his American wife Allison (Carrie Coon) and their kids Sam (Oona Roche) and Ben (Charlie Shotwell) to also trade their US home for a rural pile in the English countryside. It soon becomes apparent, however, that Rory might not be nearly so successful as appearances suggest and Durkin uses complex character writing across the family until the unit creaks and groans like an ice flow under pressure. Strong performances across the board make this a compelling, tense watch.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 8pm, ITV4, Wednesday, January 5

A bit of a curiosity in the Bond back catalogue, this solitary outing by George Lazenby as 007 was the directorial debut of Peter R Hunt, who had previously edited a clutch of films from the franchise, including Dr No. Sean Connery - who had been Bond five times - was a hard act to follow but Lazenby proves adept at the action sequences and has a vulnerability that Connery never showed, which helps the film's dramatic and unexpected ending pay off. The film is one of the most faithful in the franchise to the Ian Fleming books and is also notable for its more fully written (one hesitates, with Bond, to use the phrase, fleshed out) than normal Bond Girl (Diana Rigg).

Croupier, 1.50am, Film4, Friday, January 7

Mike Hodges' intelligent thriller - which became a sleeper hit in the US before returning to a second release back in the UK - sees struggling novelist Jack (Clive Owen, putting in one of the best performances of his career ) take a job at a casino in a bid to get fresh inspiration and pay off his debts. The job proves to have an addictive quality for Jack as he cheats on his girlfriend (Gina McKee) and starts to dabble in the dark side. There's a noirish feel to the action, while Jack proves an enjoyably unreliable narrator. The film is also notable for its sterling supporting work from McKee and Alex Kingston as a punter with a dangerous plan.

Captain Underpants, BBC iPlayer, until Friday, January 7

If nothing in the schedules floats your boat this week, there's still plenty to catch up with on the BBC iPlayer, including this anarchic animation from David Soren, who was also responsible for speedy snail tale Turbo. Two boys hypnotise their teacher and take on evil-doer Dr Poopypants in a film that views silliness is a strength and  revels in schoolyard humour - something that'll likely to have your under-sevens in a fit of giggles. Adults, meanwhile, should listen out for the tones of Us and Get Out director Jordan Peele as the voice of school nerd Melvin Sneedly. Read the full review here.

Midnight Special, 12.30am, BBC2, Sunday, January 9

2016 was the year of Michael Shannon at the cinema, with the American actor notching up a whopping 10 films - so many it makes you wonder when he slept - from indies like Frank & Lola through to franchise film Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. One of the best was this sci-fi thriller, which saw him reteam with Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols. Shannon plays Roy, a dad who goes on the run with his son (Jaeden Lieberher), who isn't quite like other kids. Nichols plays his cards close to his chest, gradually revealing his film's unexpected secrets as he takes us on a road trip with surprising stop-offs and a destination you won't see coming. Read what Shannon told us about the film and our chat with him and other members of the cast.

The Sisters Brothers, 10pm, BBC2, Sunday, January 9

Jennie Kermode writes: With a stellar cast and a long-deserved leading role for the underrated John C Reilly, this twisty little Western thriller has questions to ask about loyalty, identity and the relationships we take for granted. It follows the titular brothers, professional assassins, as they travel across the Western plateau in search of a man who is said to owe money to a crime boss, but who may actually be sought after for something very different. Soon everybody wants a slice of the action and the brothers have to ask themselves what it is that they really value most. Although the film sometimes struggles to stay the pace and looks just a little too slick in the hands of Jacques Audiard, there's a lot to recommend it, with all the gunfights, trail philosophy, hard-bitten hustlers and unforgiving landscapes you can eat and some awesome performances too.

Our short selection this week is Bad Seeds. Recently selected for the Oscars short animation shortlist, director Claude Cloutier makes a virtue of simplicity in his tale of carnivorous duelling plants.

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