Stay-At-Home Seven - July 1 to 8

Films to stream or catch on TV this week

by Amber Wilkinson

Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck as Ruth and Bob in David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints. Director David Lowery: 'I wanted the characters to really feel as if they could have been alive at any time.'
Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck as Ruth and Bob in David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints. Director David Lowery: 'I wanted the characters to really feel as if they could have been alive at any time.'
Ain't Them Bodies Saints, 11.35pm, Great Movies (Freeview Channel 34), Monday, July 1

David Lowery's second feature, after 2009's St Nick, saw him step fully into the indie limelight, after its premiere at Sundance. The warmth of the magic hour – expertly captured by DoP Bradford Young – matches the glow of the film's central relationship between Bob (Casey Affleck) and Ruthie (Rooney Mara). They are at the point of love where much of what goes on between them passes in unspoken understanding and, with a baby on the way, what could go wrong? Just about everything as it turns out, thanks to the pair's criminal tendencies. After a bungled job, Ruthie accidentally wings local cop Patrick (Ben Foster) and, after Bob takes the blame, he is locked up for 25 years. He is not content to stay in jail, however, and soon she is facing tough choices about the future for her and her daughter, while Bob is being hunted by more people than just the law. Lowery's film has timeless and geographically loose fell, lending it a mythical sweep and there is also a dreamlike quality, heightened by the fact that he withholds key events from the audience in favour of focusing in on the build-up to them and the aftermath. Read our interview with David Lowery.

Another Round, 1.20am, Film4, Tuesday, July 3

Thomas Vinterberg's drama considers a group of fed up teachers who decide to embark on a boozy experiment. Midlife crises are looming large for Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) and Peter (Lars Ranthe), so when one of them suggests they test Norwegian philosopher Finn Skårderud's theory that if humans were to maintain a 0.005% alcohol buzz they would perform better, it seems like a grand plan. Vinterberg and his co-writer Tobias Lindholm allow the upside – and comedy – of this to dominate initially, while gradually letting more serious themes about longing and hopefulness develop. Shot with verve by Sturla Brandth Grøvlen, the end result is an enjoyably complex brew.

Living, Netflix, streaming from Wednesday, July 4

Bill Nighy slips into the role of Mr Williams in writer Kazuo Ishiguro's reworking of Japanese classic Ikiru like a well ironed handkerchief into a breast pocket. He brings an earnest melancholy to the Fifties-set tale of a lonely lifetime civil servant, who upon realising time is running out, decides to make whatever time he has left count for something. He picks a project involving a children's playground, which is all the more poignant because of its ultimate simplicity. There's the pulse of regret and a whisper of the memory of a different life running just beneath the surface of Nighy's performance as the widower finds himself drawn to young employee Miss Harris (Aimee Lou Wood). Her decision to strike out away from his department for something new and her sunny side-up outlook - epitomised by her joy at encountering her first knickerbocker glory - seem to be looking ahead to the promise of the Sixties, rather than, like Williams, backwards to the loss of war and a life spent following the rules. Director Oliver Hermanus has a real feel for the spaces of the time period, you can virtually smell the furniture polish and document dust, and he finds contrast between the suited orderliness of the office and Kodachrome-style colours that are used elsewhere.

Moulin Rouge!, 10.25pm, BBC2, Thursday, July 4

This musical is big and brash but completely beguiling and, like the Spectacular Spectacular that the denizens of the Moulin Rouge are planning to stage, a "gargantuan bedazzlement". The plot, mirrored by the play within the film, involves a wet-behind-the-ears writer Ewan McGregor falling for star courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman), who in turn is attempting to woo a rich and obnoxious duke (Richard Roxburgh, sporting a fine, twirlable moustache) so that he gives money to the establishment's impresario Zidler (Jim Broadbent). Essentially, it's show time and Luhrman never lets us forget it right from its big blousy introduction to the establishment which features a mash-up of Smells Like Teen Spirit and Lady Marmalade among other things. He finds the sweet spot of sparkle and sleaze so that even though it's incredible on one level, it still feels slightly sweaty and seedy. Hang on to your top hat and enjoy the ride.

Hidden Figures, 6.20pm, Film4, Friday, July 5

Some stories have taken a long time to be told – and this one, about the unsung backroom revolutionaries in NASAs space race, is certainly one of them. African-American mathematicians Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and Katherine Johnson (Taraji P Henson) acted as "human computers" for the space agency, running the numbers that would help to put astronauts in orbit – and bring them back again. Theodore Melfi accentuates the skill and passion of his three leads – with Spencer, Monáe and Henson all putting in gripping performances – that allows him to shine a light on not just the overt but latent racism and white privilege they were up against and that still has plenty of resonance in the modern world. Bonus random fact that emerged this week - Kevin Costner, who plays a NASA boss in the film, was on morphine due to kidney stones while filming the last two weeks of it.

The Maze Runner, 8pm, BBC3, Thursday, July 4

Jennie Kermode writes: When one is a teenager there are inevitably a lot of things about life that don’t make sense, and that experience of dislocation is neatly captured in Wes Ball’s surreal post-apocalyptic thriller. Like the other boys. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) is amnesiac when he awakens in the village, a crude assemblage of huts surrounded by unscalable stone walls. By day, the walls part to reveal a maze which might lead to escape, but at dusk they close and those trapped behind them can be crushed to death, or worse. Bit by bit, the boys are trying to map the maze, but their work is complicated by internecine tensions, and never more so than when, for the first time, a new arrival turns out to be a girl (Kaya Scodelario). The film explores the darker side of human nature while – the odd bit of gore aside – keeping things suitable for a young audience.

The Woman in Black, BBC1, Friday, July 5

Daniel Radcliffe proved he had considerably more about him than just playing a wizarding schoolboy, as he took on his first role outside the Harry Potter franchise in this adaptation of Susan Hill's creepy tale. He plays widower Arthur Kripps, a lawyer who is on a mission to shepherd the sale of a coastal mansion which, in the way of such spooky stories, is cut off from the mainland twice daily by the tide. Things take a turn for the sinister with the death of a local child, as the film blooms into a solid reworking of regular haunted house themes. James Watkins does a good job of turning the screw of dread, with the sound design helping enormously. This may be an old-fashioned film but it proves some ideas are built to stand the test of time.

Today's short selection is Questbound - Forbidden Ventures Of The Undead Soul.

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