Stay-at-Home Seven: June 23 to 27

TV film picks for the week ahead

by Amber Wilkinson

Ryan Gosling as Luke in Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond The Pines
Ryan Gosling as Luke in Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond The Pines
The Place Beyond The Pines, 11.15pm, BBC2, Monday, June 20

Anne-Katrin Titze writes: Breathing and carnival noises - Ryan Gosling, covered in tattoos up to his throat, bleached blond, with a knife, invites us to follow him. Across the fairground we stroll, as he puts on layers of clothing, first a torn tank top, then a jacket, striptease in reverse. He signs autographs for little girls. He is Luke, a motorcycle stunt driver for the carnival. There is Eva Mendes as Romina, in a tank top of her own; does he remember her? He gives her a ride. Ben Mendelsohn, with the same acuteness he gives his dog trading idiot robber in Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly, adds a mysteriously benign presence. Bradley Cooper portrays police officer Avery Cross, a rookie from a wealthy family. He chews gum to calm his nerves. Ray Liotta, who plays the good bad guy in Killing Them Softly and a badly corrupt police officer called Deluca under Derek Cianfrance's direction, looks clean as a whistle.The Place Beyond the Pines, tells stories of fatherhood with a fine-tuned generosity, as haunted men cycle through patterns spinning out of control. Read more about fathers, sons and rebellion in the film here.

The African Queen, 9pm, BBC4, Thursday

It doesn't matter how many times you sail away with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in this Oscar-winning classic directed by John Huston it never loses its charm. Bogart and Hepburn play a gin-loving river sailor and a prim missionary who end up on an odd couple river trip to try to sink a German gunboat. The slowburn romantic elements balance beautifully with the film's more comedic moments and its sense of adventure, as Bogart and Hepburn spark off one another. Shot by Jack Cardiff, who had a few tricks up his sleeve, including filling a camera lens with feathers to mimic a swarm of flies, it earned Bogart his first and only Oscar and marks the only time the pair were cast together.

Hellboy, 9pm, ITV4, Tuesday, June 21

Slime and sorcery are to the fore in this tale of a cat-loving demon who - despite being summoned for the Nazis - is raised by John Hurt's professor to take on the bad guys instead. Director Guillermo del Toro keeps the pace racing along, which is handy because the story is decidedly thin, involving the return of Rasputin and a load of stuff you won't really care about. Surprisingly, that doesn't matter too much with characters this well drawn. Ron Perlman is in his element as Hellboy - Red to his friends - charming, vulnerable and world weary in equal measure, with Rupert Evans executing excellent straight man duties alongside him and David Hyde Pierce providing perfect (uncredited) vocals for Red's friend Abe Sapien ('played' on screen by Doug Jones).

The Silence Of The Lambs, 10pm, BBC4, Wednesday, June 22

Let's be honest, a glass of chianti has never looked quite the same since Anthony Hopkins slurped his Oscar-winning way through a line about it in Jonathan Demme's crime thriller. Although Brian Cox had already put in a memorable turn as sadistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter (in that case, Lektor) in Manhunter, Hopkins put his own silky stamp on it with this intense performance that is reciprocated by Jodie Foster as FBI agent Clarice Starling, who finds herself embroiled in a psychological wargame with the incarcerated murder as she tries to snare another monster. Much darker than your average Academy Award winner, Demme knows exactly what to show and what not to show to generate horror and tension. Chillingly effective even on a repeat watch.

Honey Boy, 11.20pm, Film4, Wednesday, June 22

There's a searing intensity to Shia LaBeouf's semi-autobiographical tale of life for a child star and his ex-rodeo clown dad, directed with panache by Alma Har’el who has a real handle on conveying life on the fringes. LaBeouf plays an incarnation of his own father with Noah Jupe and Lucas Hodges picking up the role of his son, Otis, at the ages of 12 and 22. The film charts the father and son's volatile relationship as we see the jealous dad shape the sensitive kid into the troubled young man with addiction issues. There's a raw feel to much of this because of its confessional nature but it's ultimately a compassionate portrait of a man coming to terms with his past.

Kind Hearts And Coronets, 12.55pm, Talking Pictures TV, Thursday, June 23

There's plenty of good reasons this deliciously dark serial killer tale is one of the best loved of the Ealing Comedies. Chief among them is surely Alec Guinness' multiple performances as he gets to go town and back again with eight beautifully calibrated characters - although his gung-ho suffragette Lady Agatha D'Ascoyne is possibly the standout. Dennis Price, meanwhile, is the perfect killer, a draper's assistant, disgruntled at the D'Ascoyne's treatment of his mother, who sets about his elegant vengeance with aplomb. The director Robert Hamer, who battled alcoholism most of his life, had an all-too brief career but he certainly secured an enduring legacy with this.

The Thing - 9pm, Horror Channel Thursday, June 23

When it comes to disturbing horror monsters and film tension that barely slackens for a second, James Carpenter's remake of The Thing From Another World (also well worth a watch and available on BBC iPlayer) is right up there with Alien. Kurt Russell stars as helicopter pilot MacReady on an Antarctic expedition that's about to find itself in all kinds of bloody trouble courtesy of a shape-shifting alien. Beginning with a hell of a chase scene, soon paranoia and madness beckon as the men try to stay alive against an increasingly nightmarish foe. Those of a delicate sensibility should note that Carpenter doesn't hold back but, if you like that sort of thing, this film is all the better for it.

Menashe, 2.20am. Film4, Monday, June 27

Technically, we're dipping into next week but if you happen to be up late on Sunday night, then this engrossing drama from Joshua Z Weinstein. He takes a clear-eyed approach to the Hasidic community, charting the tale of a man who faces losing custody of his son following the death of his wife if he doesn't remarry quickly. Comic Menashe Lustig plays the lead and the story carries all the more heft because it is loosely based on his own life. Weinstein captures the everyday rhythms of Menashe's daily routine without overly romanticising them or feeling the need to pick them apart, so that we are drawn into the fabric of this Orthodox community as well as Menashe's attempts to reconcile his feelings - as producer Alex Lipschultz told us: "We just wanted to make something that was objective but fair". Young Ruben Niborski also puts in an impressive performance as Menashe's young son Rieven, who is also grappling with grief.

This week's short selection is My Nephew Emmett, directed by Kevin Wilson Jr, it sees an uncle try to protect his nephew and was Oscar nominated.

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