7 of the best films to stream this week
It’s not all big-hearted family films during the festive season. This week sees powerful dramas from the likes of Will Smith, Rebecca Hall and Letitia Wright too. Happy viewing!
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Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)
This Netflix Original sees Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro reinvent the classic story of a wooden puppet brought to life in an eye-catching stop-motion musical tale.
WATCH: The official trailer for Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio
It might not be as bubbly and simple as some of the other adaptations of the story, especially in the moments where Pinocchio ends up fighting for Italian fascists in the Second World War (!), but there’s still a lot to admire, not least a fruity voice-turn from Oscar winner Christoph Waltz as the evil Count Volpe.
The Silent Twins (cinemas)
Prepare to be astounded by this true story of twin sisters June and Jennifer Gibbons who only communicated with one another. As a result, they created a rich and fascinating fantasy world, escaping the reality of their own lives while living in the high-security Broadmoor Hospital. Letitia Wright (Black Panther) and Tamara Lawrance (TV’s No Offence) astonish as the title characters in this poignant and sensitively handled drama.
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We all know Robert Downey Jr but did you know his father - Robert Downey Sr - who was an influential underground filmmaker in the 60s and 70s? And whilst Robert Jr even featured in some of his dad’s films as a child, this new documentary is a chance for the Iron Man star to get to know his father properly. After all, when your dad was as eccentric and unconventional as Robert Sr, a regular father/son relationship was never going to be on the cards. The result is seriously eye-opening, shedding particular light on the root of Robert Jr’s own personal issues.
Resurrection (rent/buy on all major platforms)
The great Rebecca Hall (so good in The Night House, The BFG and Vicky Christina Barcelona) plays Margaret, a poised, focused and successful business woman and mother. That is until David (Tim Roth) - an old abusive boyfriend - reappears on the scene, leading to someone so seemingly in control losing it big time. Tim Roth is brilliantly weird in this, partly because he’s so calm but also because of what David has to tell Margaret when they meet again after twenty odd years apart. But it’s Hall’s movie, proving once again why she’s one of the best in the business. The thrills might not be fast and furious but Resurrection’s measured eeriness will get under your skin.
Emancipation (Apple TV+)
Inspired by the true story of “Whipped Peter”, an escaped slave who - in 1863 – showed his disfigured and whipped back to two photographers, the resulting picture becoming both evidence of the savagery experienced by slaves at the hands of their owners and of Peter’s own dignity. Produced by and starring Will Smith, the big question is: do we still want to watch him after *that* slap at the Oscars? Whatever your feelings, it’s another undeniably majestic turn from Big Willy, with strong support too from co-stars Ben Foster and Charmaine Bingwa.
How’s this for a cast? Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Anya Taylor Joy, Zoe Saldana, Mike Myers, Chris Rock, Robert de Niro and even Taylor Swift all star in this eccentrically funny whodunnit about three American friends who bond in Amsterdam just after the 1st World War. On returning back to New York, they uncover a sinister plot at the heart of US politics, haphazardly weeding out the bad guys along the way. It’s certainly long (134 minutes) and undeniably ramshackle but that quirky quality is also Amsterdam’s greatest strength, with Christian Bale’s mad scientist Bert the most charmingly unlikely hero of the year.
A Christmas Story Christmas (Sky Cinema)
Have you seen A Christmas Story? Don’t worry if you haven’t. Although it was a brilliantly funny and nostalgic look at a 1940s child’s Christmas, the movie from 1983 never made much of an impact in the UK, despite being a festive favourite across the Atlantic.
Nearly forty years later comes this sequel, A Christmas Story Christmas, with the action now set in the 1970s and the character who was a boy in the first movie, Ralphie, married with two children. With his family having to spend the festive season back in his hometown, Ralphie gets sentimental about his own childhood Christmases, leading to the same blend of warmth and silliness that made the original so successful. Worth investigating.
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