What to watch: our recommendations for this week

W

ant to hunker down in front of a screen but stuck for something to watch?

Here are the films, TV shows and special streaming events on our cultural radar right now, plus some of our favourites from recent weeks that you can catch up on…

We may earn commission from some of the links in this article, but we never allow this to influence our content.

December 23, 2022

Vardy v. Rooney: A Courtroom Drama

First, there was the post that started the whole Wagatha Christie phenomenon. Then there came the trial, and the play. This is the next iteration in the Wagatha story: a two-part Channel 4 drama which stars Michael Sheen as Coleen Rooney’s barrister and Game of Thrones alumna Natalia Tena as Rebekah Vardy. Tune in to witness the bonkers reality of the trial of the century: it doesn’t get weirder than this.

I Hate Suzie Too

Suzie Pickles is back, and this time around she’s attempting to rehabilitate her reputation as a reality TV show contestant in the latest edition of the hit Sky show. Written by Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper and starring Piper, season two (billed as an “anti-Christmas special”) is darker, funnier and more tragic than ever before: you won’t be able to look away.

Emily in Paris Season 3

Another year, another season of Emily in Paris. This year, everybody’s favourite hapless American is facing more than a few dilemmas: namely, which job to choose, and which boyfriend. Look, it’s not rocket science. But its cheerful zaniness makes it the perfect choice when it comes to opening Netflix and sticking something on over Christmas, so why not.

A Year on Planet Earth

For anybody who needs their fix of nature this festive season, look no further: Stephen Fry takes the reins from David Attenborough in this new ITVX documentary series. The show will examine the ways in which life is connected and how natural events affect the lives of individual animals.

December 16, 2022

Riches

Think Succession, but British. Launching Saturday, this ITVX show tells the story of the super-successful Richards clan. When its head Stephen (Hugh Quarshie) dies, the stage is set for a power struggle like no other as his estranged American children return – much to the dismay of the rest of the family.

1923

Who knew Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford could be the dream pairing we all wanted to see? This upcoming Paramount+ show is the next iteration in Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone series, which follows the Dutton family as they struggle to survive in a turbulent time for the American West.

Litvinenko

David Tennant gives it his all in a (rather brief) appearance as the doomed Alexander Litvinenko in this sensitively-handled ITVX drama about his demise. Though the show is a slow burner – it mainly follows the criminal investigation into his death – it’s also chillingly relevant to today.

The Recruit

YA heartthrob Noah Centineo (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before) tries his hand at a new genre: the spy thriller. The adrenaline-powered Netflix show casts Centineo as a lawyer for the CIA who suddenly finds himself entangled in the world of international espionage when an asset threatens to expose agency secrets.

December 9, 2022

Quintessentially British

Tune in to hear some of our greatest acting treasures (among others) reminisce on the meaning of what it means to be British. Film-maker Frank Mannion turns his camera on the British public, interviewing cabbies, tailors, footballers and more on what makes the UK so unique. And yes, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen pop up to talk about Shakespeare: delightful.

I Am Ruth

Kate Winslet acts her socks off in this powerful drama from Channel 4. The latest episode in the “I Am…” series sees her appear as Ruth opposite real-life daughter Mia Threapleton, who plays her troubled on-screen daughter Freya. As Freya slips into depression and anxiety, Ruth struggles to cope – and the result is an unmissable hour of television.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton

ITVX

This gorgeous ITVX period drama has been adapted from the novel of the same name by Sara Collins. In it, servant girl Frannie is arrested for the murder of her master and mistress. She protests her innocence, but there’s a catch: she’s also addicted to laudanum and can’t remember anything that happened on the night in question.

A Spy Among Friends

Also debuting on ITVX (which launched on December 8) is Cold War drama A Spy Among Friends, which stars Guy Pearce as infamous double-agent Kim Philby and Damian Lewis as Nicholas Elliott, the man who sets off on a mission to confront and extract a confession from him. It’s all very tense, and there are a lot of cut-glass English accents: perfect spy fodder, in other words.

December 2, 2022

The Patient

Steve Carell takes the helm of this Disney+ thriller. In it, he plays Dr Alan Strauss, a psychotherapist who is kidnapped by one of his patients (Domhnall Gleeson). He’s about to embark on the job of a lifetime: Gleeson’s character is a serial killer who wants curing of his homicidal urges and failure (understandably) is not an option.

Branson

This major four-part documentary from Sky, landing on Sunday, takes a deep dive into the colourful life of entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. Featuring jaw-dropping footage and fascinating insights into Branson’s life from friends and family (from multiple near-death experiences to being thrown in jail), this is Branson as the original business disruptor.

Sr.

This poignant and touching Netflix documentary puts Robert Downey Jr in the position of interviewer to his ailing father, Robert Downey Sr. Taking place at home, on the road — and as his health declines, in bedrooms and hospitals — and splicing in old footage from Downey Sr’s films, it’s an unusual but moving portrayal of the father-son bond.

Willow

Thirty years after his screen debut, Willow (Warwick Davis) is back. In this Disney+ series, evil is threatening the land of Tir Asleen once more, and a rag-tag bunch of royals, misfits and kitchen maids will set out to vanquish it. Oh, and the promised child, Elora Danan, also makes an appearance. Expect magic, action and quips galore.

November 25, 2022

Bones & All

“Sickeningly brilliant” is how our critic described Luca Guadagnino’s cannibal romance, which stars Timothée Chalamet as an anthropophagite with attitude. Co-star Taylor Russell is magnetic as his flesh-eating love interest. In cinemas now.

Wednesday

The Addams family’s now teen daughter is the star of the show in this wonderfully wacky Netflix series. In it, Wednesday (Jenna Ortega, below) gets sent to a Hogwarts for creepy kids and must investigate a murder spree while also — horror — fitting in.

Strange World

The ever-versatile Jake Gyllenhaal heads up this Disney animated film as the voice of Searcher Clade, the head of a legendary family of explorers. They head to an uncharted new land but have to contend with a mischievous blob, a three-legged dog and some rather hungry monsters. In cinemas.

Matilda

The feel-good film of the year is finally in cinemas. Newcomer Alisha Weir shines as Matilda in the movie adaption of the West End musical – the end result is so good you’ll wonder why it took so long to commit it to screen. Also, Emma Thompson chews the scenery as Miss Trunchbull: yes, please.

Upright

Before Milly Alcock broke through as Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon, she was in Upright alongside Tim Minchin. In the first series their characters (Lucky and Meg) set off on a wacky road trip across the Australian outback; in the second series, now airing on Sky, they’re back for more.

November 18, 2022

In Her Hands

Get ready to be inspired by the story of Zarifa Ghafari. At 26, she became one of Afghanistan’s first-ever female mayors, as well as the youngest-ever mayor to hold the title. But of course, it’s not plain sailing, and the film documents Ghafari’s fight for survival as the outside world closes in.

The Menu

This class war black comedy stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult as a rich young couple who visit an exclusive restaurant hidden on a remote island. However the chef (Ralph Fiennes, excellent as ever) has other ideas and the whole thing soon descends into mayhem and bloodshed.

Armageddon Time

Boasting an all-star cast (including Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain), Armageddon Time is director James Gray’s autobiographical coming-of-age tale. In it, Paul is growing up in 1980s Queens, New York when he makes a new friend and begins to question everything he knows.

Disenchanted

15 years after the original, Amy Adams is back for another bite at the (poisoned) apple as Giselle, the fairy-tale princess stuck in the real world. This time around, she’s still married to lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey), but when she wishes to improve her family’s life it all goes dramatically wrong.

November 11, 2022

The Crown, season five

It’s back and bigger than ever. Jump into the latest season of Netflix’s flagship show to discover the royal family at breaking point: Charles and Diana’s marriage is on the rocks, the royals are rapidly becoming obsolete and Windsor Castle is about to go up in flames … It’s still gripping stuff, even if it plays a bit fast and loose with the truth at times.

Retrograde

The latest documentary from the National Geographic (in cinemas today) is a fascinating look at the past nine months of America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman follows a US Special Forces Unit, a young Afghan general and the civilians who are caught in the crossfire of the Taliban takeover. It’s really harrowing stuff.

A Bunch of Amateurs

When anything is described as a portrait of “shared artistic folly” you know it must be good — this documentary takes us into the oldest British working-class amateur filmmaking club in Britain, Bradford Movie Makers. Come for the gorgeous Yorkshire accents and stay for the gentle British humour; appropriately, it’s in cinemas.

The Swimmers

Alternately shocking and heart-warming, The Swimmers is the true story of sisters Yusra and Sara Mardini, who escaped Syria as refugees, helped save their floundering lifeboat in the waters off Greece, and one (Yusra) ended up making it to the Olympics. It deserves to be seen on a big screen and is in cinemas for a limited time.

November 4, 2022

Enola Holmes 2

Sherlock Holmes’ precocious little sister is back for second helpings in this fun, bouncy Netflix sequel. In it, Enola seeks to solve the mystery of a missing matchstick girl – but of course, there’s more to the case than meets the eye and she’s soon in over her head.

Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me

This heartbreaking documentary is out now on AppleTV+ and seeks to tell the behind-the-scenes story of Selena Gomez’s adult stardom. Through backstage footage and interviews with friends, an image emerges of a fragile woman for whom fame is less of a goal and more of a trial.

Lyra

Directed by BAFTA-award winning Alison Millar, Lyra follows the life and death of Northern Irish investigative journalist Lyra Mckee. Based in Lyra’s hometown of Belfast, the film celebrates her journalistic career and struggle for justice – and mourns her untimely murder on the eve of Good Friday.

Return To Dust

Could this be the most controversial film of 2022? Pulled from Chinese movie theatres, it has nevertheless earned rave reviews for its tale of evolving love between two outcasts: the story of middle-aged farmer Ma, and the unmarried and disabled Guiying. Written and directed by Chinese writer Li Riujun, it’s out in cinemas from today.

October 28, 2022

The Devil’s Hour

Peter Capaldi does his best to menace the audience in this crime thriller from Amazon Prime. In it he is Gideon, a criminal with mysterious ties to social worker Lucy Chambers (Jessica Raine). Lucy keeps waking at 3.33am each morning — the Devil’s hour — and when she is linked to a series of brutal crimes in the area, only Gideon can help explain why.

The White Lotus S2

Jennifer Coolidge continues her career renaissance in the new season of The White Lotus at the helm of an A-list cast. This time a new batch of overprivileged guests are staying in a Sicilian hotel. When a body washes up, what results is a razor-sharp examination of privilege, sexual politics and vice. Sit back and enjoy.

Medieval

Touted as the most expensive Czech film ever made, Medieval tells the story of notorious 15th-century warlord Jan Žižka, who managed to defeat the biggest armies in Europe with his band of troops. With spectacular battle scenes, this is a film worth seeing on as big a screen as possible — just as well that it’s out in cinemas from today.

SAS Rogue Heroes

In a Libyan desert during the Second World War, three men strike up a plan to attack the Germans from the air. Steven Knight (of Peaky Blinders fame) is the scriptwriter for this rollicking series, which tells the story of the founding of the SAS. It’s stylish, it’s foul-mouthed and, most importantly, it’s fun.

October 21, 2022

Decision to Leave

South Korean director Park Chan-wook is back with this intriguing romantic mystery film, as detective Hae-jun (Park Hae-il) falls for widow Seo Rae (Tang Wei, left) who happens to be the prime suspect in his murder case. It’s been lauded as a sensual masterpiece — not a surprise, considering Park is best known for his 2016 film The Handmaiden.

All Quiet on the Western Front

Based on the 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque, Netflix’s remake of the First World War tale explores the realities of trench warfare from the German perspective, lamenting the waste of young lives and the follies of the men who sent them into battle. Daniel Brühl stars.

The Good Nurse

Netflix’s film, based on real events tells the story of Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain), who befriends a new nurse on her ward, Charlie Cullen (Eddie Redmayne). But when patients start dying unexpectedly, suspicions fall on Charlie — and Amy is faced with a horrible truth.

Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor

It’s time! After five years, Jodie Whittaker is hanging up her sonic screwdriver and making way for the new Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa. This is her last adventure, so come along to BBC One on Sunday night and watch her fight Daleks, Cybermen and also the Master, played by returning star Sacha Dhawan.

My Policeman

In cinemas for just a week before it lands on Prime Video, this film adaptation of Bethan Roberts’s novel stars Harry Styles as a closeted copper who becomes one third of a sad love triangle with his lover Patrick (David Dawson) and wife Marion (Emma Corrin).

October 14, 2022

Candy

Another day, another true-crime drama. But this Disney+ one, starring Jessica Biel, is actually quite good. Biel is Candy Montgomery, a housewife who killed neighbour Betty Gore with an axe. As it turned out, Betty was married to Montgomery’s lover Allan Gore… and Montgomery ended up walking free. Get ready for an in-depth exploration of female rage.

Shantaram

The TV adaption of the bestselling book is finally here. Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam stars as Lin, an Australian convict who is running from his past. He winds up in 1980s Bombay, and rapidly gets involved withKarla, a mysterious woman with her own shadowy agenda. Naturally, trouble ensues.

Somewhere Boy

Channel 4

Channel 4’s latest drama is both darkly funny and heart-breaking. When Danny (Lewis Gribben) was a baby, his mother died in a car crash. To cope, his grieving dad locked him away from the world and brought him up in isolation. But when Danny turns eighteen, he suddenly finds himself in a world he doesn’t recognise at all – and sets out to find his mother’s killer.

Sue Perkins: Perfectly Legal

You’ve seen her on Bake Off, now get ready to watch Sue Perkins tackle the wilds of Latin America in what looks like a mild mid-life crisis sponsored by Netflix. Top of the agenda: do dangerous things you couldn’t get away with in the UK, which include taking a hammer to a car and a lot of fireworks.

October 7, 2022

A Friend of the Family

This mind-boggling true-crime drama from Peacock has to be seen to be believed. Set in 1970s Idaho, it stars Anna Paquin as housewife Mary Ann Broberg, whose Mormon family is gradually inveigled by Robert Berchtold – with devastating consequences for the Brobergs’ daughter Jan.

The Midnight Club

This creepy Netflix horror drops just in time for Hallowe’en. Based on the hit novel by Christopher Pike, it tells the story of a group of teen cancer patients who make a ghoulish pact: the first one to die will contact the other members of the Midnight Club from beyond the grave.

Let the Right One In

It’s been remade, and remade. Now, thanks to Paramount+, the beloved Scandi vampire tale is getting another bite (pardon the pun) at the apple. The series’ focus is Eleanor, who was turned into a vampire at age 12, and her father Mark, who does his best to provide her with the blood she needs.

Wreck

What Agatha Christie did with the Orient Express, BBC Three’s Wreck attempts to do with cruise ships. In this slasher horror, teens working on board are being stalked and killed by a mysterious figure dressed as a duck mascot. Yes, you read that right.

September 30, 2022

The Old Man

It’s Jeff Bridges as you’ve never seen him before: old, decrepit, and struggling to put his socks on by himself. Yes, this is a Netflix action film with a difference. Our ageing hero is on the run from the CIA: watch him outfox his enemies with a microwave, old guns and a lot of statins.

This England

Two years may be too soon to relive the Covid-19 pandemic. Not so for Michael Winterbottom, whose latest Sky show is a damning expose of what went on in Downing Street in the weeks before lockdown. If that’s not enough, it features Kenneth Branagh in heavy prosthetics are Boris. Tune in and weep.

The Walk-In

It’s all about the politics this week. The Walk-In, which airs Monday on ITV, stars Stephen Graham as Matthew Collins: an anti-far-right campaigner who manages to foil a plot to murder an MP thanks to an informant. The most jaw-dropping part? It’s all true.

Jungle

Prime Video’s latest offering has intriguingly been labelled TV’s first “rap musical”. Tune in for a story about two young men trying to better themselves in South London – it also features a whole host of the country’s best rap and grime artists. A must-watch if you’re a fan.

September 23, 2022

Karen Pirie

ITV’s latest offering stars Lauren Lyle as the titular Pirie, a female detective fighting for recognition in a male-dominated world. The show, which was adapted from a Val McDermid book by Emer Kenny (who also stars), follows Pirie as she seeks to solve a cold case in St Andrews.

A Jazzman’s Blues

This sweet and sad Netflix film is both a love story and a murder mystery. Set in the Deep South and spanning 40 years, it tells the story of an aspiring jazz musician who sets out to make a name for himself. Needless to say, things don’t quite go to plan.

Catherine Called Birdy

Lena Dunham brings her particular brand of feminist chaos to this joyful medieval romp. In it, Game of Thrones alumna Bella Ramsey plays Catherine, a 14-year-old girl determined to never get married — regardless of what her wastrel father Lord Rollo might think.

The Strictly Come Dancing launch show

The contestants for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing (Ray Burmiston/PA)

/ PA Media

Grab your scorecards and get ready to shout “Se-ven!” at the television screen, because Strictly is back. This year, the first live show kicks off tomorrow and features guests including Paralympian Ellie Simmonds and Kaye Adams.

September 16, 2022

In from the Side

Get ready to have your heartstrings stamped on. This debut film from Matt Carter tells the story of an affair between Mark and Warren, two members of a (fictional) south London gay rugby club — and the spiralling impact their relationship has on their lives, team-mates and partners.

Bloody Oranges

If you like satire, look no further. This film from French director Jean-Christophe Meurisse has been described as a hybrid of Armando Iannucci and Julia Ducournau, and is a vicious look at contemporary life in modern-day France. Get ready to be shocked.

Crossfire

If armed gunmen attacked your hotel, what would you do? Keeley Hawes takes the helm in this nail-biting BBC series as ex-police officer Jo, who must use her training to help prevent further tragedies and save her family’s lives. If your stress levels can handle it, it’s binge-worthy.

Do Revenge

Teens these days. If they’re not hooking up, they’re finding ways to make each other’s lives miserable. Or at least, that’s the premise of this wickedly charming Netflix film. In it, Maya Hawke and Camila Mendes star as two high schoolers who agree to go after each other’s bullies.

September 9, 2022

Mike

Airing on Disney+ Day (September 8, for the uninitiated), this limited-edition series about Mike Tyson is a deep dive into the life of one of the most legendary boxers ever to grace the ring. In addition to charting the ups and downs of his career, it’s an examination of class, race and the media.

Gutsy

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton star in this AppleTV+ docuseries about the power of gutsy women. Though the premise is perhaps a bit hackneyed, the sheer star power on screen – everybody from Megan Thee Stallion to Gloria Steinem make guest appearances – makes it worth a watch.

Munich Games

This fast-paced series from Sky is unlike anything else you’ll see this autumn. Describing itself as a “high-stakes political thriller”, it tells the story of an Israeli and German secret agent who have to work together to stop a terrorist attack, fifty years after the Munich Massacre. Prepare to bite your nails (a lot).

American Gigolo

Anything starring Jon Bernthal is a must-watch, and that goes doubly for this remake of American Gigolo. Airing on Paramount+, the show is a modern-day reimagining of the 1980s classic, in which Bernthal plays the titular Julian Kaye, a male escort to LA’s rich and famous who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit.

September 2, 2022

Blackbird

Welcome to the Michael Flatley passion project. Blackbird, billed as a spy thriller and romance, was written, directed by and stars the Lord of the Dance himself as troubled secret agent Blackbird.. So far the critics haven’t been kind, but as an unintentional hoot this already has the makings of a kitsch classic.

In cinemas

I Came By

Get ready to see Hugh Bonneville as you’ve never seen him before: nasty. In this Netflix film, he plays Hector Blake, a posh fella whose house is broken into by poor graffiti artist Toby (George MacKay). Unfortunately, Blake’s basement hides a secret and when Toby discovers it, the film tips sideways into an edge-of-your-seat thriller as things get very dark, very quickly.

On Netflix

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

A day may come when we’re tired of Lord of the Rings adaptions, but it is not this day! Prime Video has pumped millions of pounds into its lavish new show, which tells the story of a Middle-earth that’s thousands of years younger than the version we see in the films. Bad news: no Aragorn. Good news: eye-popping set design, and a kick-ass Galadriel.

On Prime Video


Source link

WORLD NEWS