Stay-at-Home Seven: June 6 to 12

Films to catch on telly this week

by Amber Wilkinson

Friends With Benefits
Friends With Benefits
Friends With Benefits, 9pm, Great Movies, Monday, June 6

It's a shame that director Will Gluck has recently retreated into CGI Peter Rabbit territory as earlier in his career he brought a welcome breath of fresh air to screens with his satire Easy A and this smart rom-com with the likeable pairing of Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis in the central roles. They play art director Dylan, who strikes up a friendship with headhunter Jamie - which evolves into a physical relationship which they pledge to ensure will have no strings attached. This, of course, is easier said than done but the team of writers, for the most part, take a clear-eyed, sparky approach and if it does stray towards formula in the end, they can hardly be blamed for giving the audience what they ultimately want from this genre.

Knives Out, 9pm, Film4, Monday, June 6 and 9pm, Sunday, June 13

Rian Johnson's whodunnit murder mystery is an old school affair in the Agatha Christie vein - complete with a sprawling country pile and a star-studded cast. When an author is found dead just as his family have gathered to celebrate his 80th birthday, everyone, of course, has a motive, and there's also an unexpected detective (Daniel Craig) in attendance. Johnson is basically having a lot of fun, not to mention the field day Craig has with his accent, and you are likely to as well, even if mystery veterans are liable to  take an early stab at the outcome.

The Untouchables, Film4, Wednesday, June 8, 11.45pm

With its all-star cast, including Sean Connery, Kevin Costner (although this was before he really hit big-time in terms of fame) and Robert De Niro, and a cleverly worked script by David Mamet, Brian De Palma's Thirties-set gangster tale is up there with the best. Costner plays Eliot Ness, a US Treasury Agent who is determined to end the lawless career of Chicago kingpin Al Capone (De Niro). Famous for its staircase nod to Battleship Potemkin, Palma's film is also packed with original set-pieces and offers an enjoyably mythic quality to some of the characters, including Connery's beat cop, which won him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Predator, 10pm, ITV4, Thursday, June 9

Jennie Kermode writes: An iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger movie from the star's Eighties heyday, this initially modest, low-budget sci-fi actioner created a remarkable legacy and remains just as much fun to watch today. That's largely testament to the directorial skills of John McTiernan, whose stunning action scenes and control of suspense make it gripping throughout. As in Die Hard, which he made the following year, McTiernan plays with the muscular action man trope whilst having fun at the expense of macho values, striking the perfect balance for a story which riffs on The Most Dangerous Game, already a well established theme in cinema. Arnie leads a group of mercenaries who are hunted through the jungle by a brilliantly camouflaged alien foe. Outgunned and outmanoeuvred at their own game, depending on a local woman to make sense of events, they are picked off one by one until it becomes clear that brains as well as brawn offer the only hope of survival. There's inspirational technology, horrific mutilation, mud wrestling, some stonking tunes and all the gunfire you can eat.

Missing Link, Sunday, BBC1 3.20pm

This animated charmer from the small Laika studios - whose impressive back catalogue includes Coraline and Kubo And The Two Strings - sees a famous explorer escort a sasquatch to Tibet in search of his kin. Hugh Jackman is a hoot as the egotistical explorer, while excellent support is provided by Zack Galifianakis as the sweetly literally minded Mr Link and Zoe Saldana as the smarter-than-both-of them Adelina, who also joins their quest. Funny and adventurous while cleverly tackling ideas of prejudice, it's a family film with a lot of heart. Director Travis Knight is in pre-production on their next film Wildwood, which is something to look forward to.

Judy, 9pm. BBC4. Thursday 9pm

This engrossing biopic zeroes in on the six months before Judy Garland's death. Rupert Goold's film - adapted from Peter Quilter's stage musical The End Of The Rainbow by Tom Edge - shows the star's struggles with alcohol and drugs, and her eating disorder but uses flashbacks to remind us of her sense of fun and sheer star power. Renee Zellweger - who took home an Oscar for this performance - may not be a ringer for Garland but she captures her look and attitude perfectly, showing the paradox of her power and fragility while nailing the musical numbers. In that regard, Goold also plays a blinder, having faith in his star to deliver the goods in generous long takes. You can also enjoy a dose of the real deal immediately afterwards as Garland's version of A Star Is Born screens at 10.50pm on the same channel.

The Abyss, 12.50am, Film4, Sunday, June 12

After tackling extra-terrestrials in space in Aliens, director James Cameron headed in the opposite direction, deep under the sea, for his next encounter with the otherworldly. After a nuclear sub crash, an oil rig crew are sent to the rescue. Some of the thriller elements may be a little overblown but the film is anchored by the well crafted relationship between estranged husband and wife Bud and Lindsey Brigham, played with just the right blend of drama and comic timing by Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and a constant sense of claustrophobic threat. Read our full review.

This week's short selection is Roger Villarroya's thoughtful Capicúa.

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