selection of the week
Directed by Sarah Gavron but based on months of workshops with its non-professional teenage cast, this London-based drama has genuine authenticity. Bukky Bakray stars as Shola, aka Rocks, a British-Nigerian girl whose mother leaves home and leaves her to look after her little brother, Emmanuel (a heartbreaking D’angelou Osei Kissiedu). She tries to hide this from her close-knit group of schoolmates and the authorities, but her prospects grow increasingly desperate. An incredibly compelling film about female friendships that lights up whenever Rocks and her pals are together, with her BFF, British-Somali Sumaya (Kosar Ali), a vital presence.
Sunday, October 30, 10:15 p.m., Channel 4
Still not outdone by the many, many reboots and sequels (TCM Movies is showing #2 through 5 this week), John Carpenter’s 1978 Chiller is one of the blueprints for the modern horror genre. With well-chosen jump scares and relatively discreet bloodletting backed by Carpenter’s own menacing electronic music, it also has a well-rounded final girl in teenage babysitter Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis, who impresses in her first film role). Threatened by the masked killer Michael Myers, unlike her doomed school friends, she is an active participant in his fate.
Saturday October 29 at 11:35 p.m. Channel 4
The Florida Project’s Sean Baker digs again into the lives of the poor in this sharp comedy-drama. Mikey Saber (a wonderfully narcissistic turn on Simon Rex) is a former porn actor who returns to his Texas hometown and makes his way back into his estranged wife’s home and life. He then meets teenage saleswoman Strawberry (Suzanna Son) and uses her to plot a way back into the sex industry. Shot in Baker’s easy-going style, it’s hilarious while also treating the lives of its working-class characters with respect.
Sunday, October 30, 10 p.m., 2 a.m., Sky Cinema Premiere
In this imaginative mix of folk horror and immigration drama, Sopé Dìrísù and Wunmi Mosaku star as a couple who arrive in Britain as asylum seekers after fleeing South Sudan, only to find they are a “night witch” and a multitude of ghosts within brought the decrepit council to their assigned house. Writer-director Remi Weekes skillfully builds suspense – while throwing in some truly chilling moments – as noises in the walls, frightening presences and dark memories ambush them, drawing them back to past choices they hoped they could forget.
Sunday 30 October 10.45pm BBC Two
Moderator: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
With his manly presence and “a voice that could make a wolverine purr,” San Diego TV news anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) has it all. Then ambitious journalist Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) is hired, and love rears its confusing equal footing. Adam McKay’s 2004 comedy is beyond words silly and has great one-liners, a great cast (Steve Carrell’s dimwitted sportscaster steals most of the scenes he’s in), and a fight scene between rival news teams that’s for the ages.
Tuesday, November 1, 9 p.m., Sky Showcase
Strange: The Al Yankovic Story
If you’re looking for an emotionally raw biopic that tells the true story of the US parody songsmith, you’ve come to the wrong place. Eric Appel’s derided comedy hero is a proud, ridiculous reimagining of Yankovic’s story, from coming out as an accordion player and writing Eat It – the original song Michael Jackson stole for Beat It – to his transformation into a power Couple with a manipulative Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood). Daniel Radcliffe is a left-leaning choice to play Al, but he nails the deadpan humor and naïve joy as his witty lyrical reimaginings of pop hits bring fame and heartache.
Friday, November 4th, The Roku Channel
Selena Gomez: My mind and I
“How do I learn to breathe my own breath again?” We’ve all been there, right? But ridiculous psychobabble aside, this documentary is a raw look at the pitfalls of getting too much too soon. Gomez rose to fame as a child on the children’s TV show Barney & Friends and has subsequently branched out into music. About a decade ago, however, she was first diagnosed with lupus and then with depression and anxiety. The main issue? “I’ve worked my whole life, since I was a kid.” This film follows her recovery.
Apple TV+, starting Friday, November 4th