Stay-At-Home Seven - October 30 to November 6

Films to catch at home this week

by Amber Wilkinson

Henry Pettigrew and Lorn Macdonald in The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde
Henry Pettigrew and Lorn Macdonald in The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde Photo: Courtesy of EIFF
The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 9pm, Sky Arts, Monday, October 30

Hope Dickson Leach may have moved the action of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic from London to Edinburgh, but she's stayed true to the gothic nature of the original. A film that started life as a hybrid theatre production with the National Theatre of Scotland, this is the tale of man and monster reflected through the eyes of lawyer Utterson (Lorn Macdonald). Rather than focusing on the transformation of the doctor (Henry Pettigrew) we all know so well, it's the increasingly power-mad Utterson's shift that holds sway. Dickson Leach uses the theatricality of the hybrid to strong stylistic effect and told us she relished returning to the source material saying she was "bewitched by the text". If you're looking for more horror-inflicted viewing on demand this week, it's worth checking out Channel 4's FilmFear collection, which features an eclectic mix including Midsommar, Titane and A Quiet Place. ITVX also has a special Halloween collection to stream called Dark Nights, Halloween Frights.

The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, ITVX on demand

Jennie Kermode writes: One of few 20th Century stories to achieve truly mythic status, embedding itself in the popular consciousness, Jack Finney's 1955 novel The Body Snatchers has spawned a host of adaptations, including Philip Kaufman's popular 1978 take with Donald Sutherland, 2007 version The Invasion, with Nicole Kidman, high school-set reworking The Faculty, teen drama Assimilate and last year's The Changed with Clare Foley - but this film, made just one year after the release of the book, remains the definitive take. It's one of the masterpieces of US Cold War paranoia cinema, with an unabashed comparison to the perceived Communist threat in its story of mysterious pods from which clones of people emerges, gradually replacing the real thing. As Kevin McCarthy's small town doctor determines, the only sure way to avoid being copied is to resist going to sleep - but the longer he does so, the harder he finds it to think straight, and as it's impossible for him to know who he can trust, escape seems ever more unlikely. Gorgeously shot, it has a sequence near the end which is simply unforgettable.

The Trufflehunters, 11.35pm, BBC4, Tuesday, October 31, then on BBC iPlayer

If the clocks going back have put you in a grey mood, or you've simply had enough of Halloween horror, then this delightful documentary should be the perfect anecdote. You'll soon find yourself on a gentle stroll in the Italian forests where a group of elderly truffle hunters roam with their faithful dogs who have a nose for the good stuff. The dogs are every bit as engaging as their masters, not least Birba, who isn't just a forager for her octogenarian owner Aurelio, but a sounding board as he contemplates the possibility of finding late romance. Each owner, including 88-year-old Carlo - whose wife thinks he's much too old for roaming theforests at night, is delightfully eccentric and captured with warmth by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw. There are some more serious points being made about the industry but this is mostly a simple and satisfying  pleasure. As Kershaw told us: "They are very humble people who don't think of what they do as being extraordinary."

Mother!, 1.40am, Film4, Wednesday, November 1

It may not be full blown traditional horror but there's plenty that's sinister in Darren Aronofsky's surreal film. The story hinges on a magnetic central performance from Jennifer Lawrence as the wife of a writer (Javier Bardem) who is battling writer's block, her face filling the camera a lot of the time. Things are odd from the beginning and rapidly get downright peculiar as a series of unwelcome guests begin knocking on the door. Aronofsky isn't interested in the niceties of plot so much as he is pulling the levers of psychological unease and anxiety as he fuels his quasi-religious/quaisi-ecological allegories. Lawrence's character tries to hold it together against the increasing onslaught as the director dials the mayhem way up beyond 11 - not a faultless movie by any means but you have to admire both the commitment and the excess.

Shakespeare In Love, 10.40pm, BBC1, Wednesday, November 1

John Madden's film caused considerable upset when it pipped Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan to the Academy Award back in 1999, with many feeling the visceral war drama should have taken home the statuette. But while it's tempting to think that serious drama should always trump more lightweight entertainment, there's plenty to recommend about this playful charmer, co-written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, which snagged seven Oscars in all, including two for stars Judi Dench and Gwyneth Paltrow. Set against a backdrop of Elizabethan England, we meet the bard (Joseph Fiennes) as he's grappling with writer's block - Romeo And Ethel, The Pirates Daughter, is proving surprisingly tricky - and who finds unexpected inspiration and romance with Paltrow's Violet De Lesseps. Essentially a farce with the trappings of a costume drama, the film has plenty of fun messing about with familiar Shakespearean themes and mixing them with anachronistic punchlines, while not forgetting to serve up a decent slice of romance on the side. Read our full review.

Apollo 13, 8pm, ITV4, Thursday, November 2

Sometimes fact can seem even stranger than fiction but despite all that happens in it, Ron Howard's film about all the things that very nearly saw Jim Lovell's 1970 Moon mission end in tragedy, sticks close to the truth. Based on Lovell's book, Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, it was praised on release by people within NASA, including Lovell, for its accurate depiction of what happened. Who better to be the hero at the helm than Tom Hanks, as Lovell, who finds himself hampered by not only leaking fuel that means the mission must be aborted but toxic gas level that could kill his whole crew. Although Hanks is perfect for his role, the rest of the ensemble cast is as airtight as spacesuit, featuring Ed Harris in mission control, Kathleen Quinlan as Lovell's wife on the ground and Gary Sinese as an astronaut pulled from the Moon shot.

Mean Streets, 11.10pm, Film4, Friday, November 3

With Flowers Of The Killer Moon in cinemas, why not treat yourself to this early Martin Scorsese classic too? It was the first time he collaborated with Robert De Niro - the beginning of a partnership that currently stands at 11 features - and the film has notched up its 50th anniversary this year. De Niro is in support as the loose cannon Johnny Boy, with Harvey Keitel (who had previously featured in Scorsese's debut feature Who's That Knocking At My Door), in the lead. He plays Charlie, a small-time wiseguy with big aspirations and a penchant for Catholic guilt. This is a character-driven slice of life at the gritty end. Powered by a full-blooded soundtrack incorporating hits like the Rolling Stones' Jumpin' Jack Flash and The Ronettes' Be My Baby (a revolutionary approach at the time), kinetic camerawork and dialogue that crackles with energy, these streets still feel as mean and keen as ever. Speaking of his relationship with Scorses, Keitel has said: ''We were one and the same being in many ways.''

This week's short film selection is Voyager, directed by Kjersti Helen Rasmussen, who went on to write and direct her first feature, Nightmare, last year.

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