Talk To Me
Talk To Me, Netflix, from Thursday, October 26
The idea of peer pressure takes on fresh menace in the hands of Danny and Michael Philippou. The Australian duo show a keen ear for the stresses and strains of being a young person in the modern world as they tell the story of Mia (Sophie Wilde), who is grieving in the wake of her mother's death. Although she has a strong friendship with her mate Jade (Alexandra Jensen) and Jade’s little brother Riley (Joe Bird), her grief fuels her risk-taking behaviour when a weird ceramic hand makes its way into their friendship group. The hand allows those who touch it to become briefly possessed - so long as the "door is closed" before 90 seconds is up - which is the perfect time-slot for a viral video. The rush of peer approval, magnified by Mia's existing mental state, is shown as being as addictive as a drug, with the Philippous indicating just how toxic the desire to fit in can ultimately be. Dark and disturbing precisely because it taps into the realities of being a teenager as much as the supernatural it also proved popular on the genre festival circuit, most recently picking up an audience award at Fantasia.
Titane, 10.50pm, Film4, Wednesday, October 25
Sticking with the subject of genre films - there's a lot of them about at the moment, of course, as we draw closer to Halloween - this body horror cracker from French filmmaker Julia Ducournau is one of the most unusual and best from recent years. Agathe Rousselle positively bristles with energy as Alexia, a young woman with titanium plates in her head as a result of an accident as a child, who is a car enthusiast in ways that will not be making their way onto Top Gear any time soon. Pushed to the edge by a fan, carnage ensues and she finds herself on the run. All of this is served up at blistering pace by Ducournau as Alexia decides to pose as the long-lost son of a fireman (a beefed up Vincent Lindon nailing it as usual), which brings an unexpected emotional note to the rest of the film. A spiky but mesmerising fable that hits top gear early and does not stop.
Coraline, ITVX, streaming now
If you're looking for a film with a bit of spooky bite that is also suitable for children - although perhaps not the very youngest audiences - then this adaptation of Neil Gaiman should do the trick. Coraline draws on that desire that every child has at some point - to find a secret world. The one she encounters is parallel and practically perfect... except that everyone has buttons for eyes. This is an indication of the eeriness of the film, which matches the mood of the Gaiman original and is intricately realised by the Laika animation studio, who also made the excellent Kubo And The Two Strings and Missing Link.
The Remains Of The Day, 6.05pm, Thursday, October 26, Film4
The upcoming The Taste Of Things - with its tale of older love - put me in mind of this tearjerker so I'm rather pleased it's popped up on the schedule. A buttoned up butler (Hopkins) puts his job before everything else until he finds his life changing after his former lord and master Lord Darlington (James Fox) - a man who might be rather too sympathetic to the Nazis - dies and the estate is taken over by an American millionaire (Christopher Reeves). Essentially a will they/won't they romance between Hopkins' butler and Emma Thompson's younger housekeeper, it rides on the pair's delicately worked performances and comes with all the sumptuous period trappings you'd expect from Merchant Ivory.
Wind River, 11.20pm, Film4, Friday, October 27
After what seemed like an eternity of being miscast in everything from The Bourne Legacy to the Avengers franchise, Jeremy Renner shows a real return to form in Taylor Sheridan's crime drama. He slips into the old-fashioned groove as a wildlife officer with a tragic past who finds himself teamed up with a fish-out-of-water FBI agent (Elizabeth Olson) to investigate a murder on a Native American reservation. Sheridan delivers on the film's thriller element but it is in its quieter, more thoughtful and character-driven moments of grief and connection that he elevates the material to something that has a more lasting resonance.
Rango, 11am, Film4, Sunday, October 29
Ever wondered what Chinatown might look like if it was turned into a family-friendly animation? Now's your chance. Johnny Depp is Rango, a chameleon who, in the way of so many great westerns, finds himself in a town that needs a sheriff. Water supplies are dwindling and a hero is required. The nods to spaghetti westerns are a treat for adults but director Gore Verbinksi's trademark anarchic approach also offers great fun for kids. Everyone from Bill Nighy to Timothy Olyphant and the late, great Harry Dean Stanton pops up. One of the reasons this film has such a high energy level is doubtless because, instead of voice booth recordings, Verbinski had his actors work together on stage to achieve the vocals, referred to rather cutely as "emotion capture" in the film's original publicity.
The Smallest Show On Earth, Talking Pictures TV (Freeview Channel 82), 6.45pm, Sunday, October 29
Cinephiles with a yen for old school cinemas will find this Basil Dearden film a treat. Real life couple Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna play Matt and Jean, a newly married couple who discover they have inherited a fleapit cinema, which is in the way of this sort of comedy, struggling to survive. Peppered with the sort of sight gags you might expect from the period, the real selling point here is the star-studded ensemble cast, which features Peter Sellers, Margaret Rutherford and Bernard Miles, not to mention Lesley Phillips and Sid James. It may verge on the twee by modern standards, but it remains a charming and affectionate tribute to small cinemas everywhere.
Our short selection this week is the disturbing, award-winning and definitely not for children Steakhouse. Špela Čadež's animation is a miniature psychodrama that packs a passive aggressive punch.