Choice of the week
Cha Cha Really Smooth
In his deceptively beautiful romantic comedy-drama, writer-director-actor Cooper Raiff explores the existential dilemmas of a 22-year-old. His aimless yet effortlessly sociable Andrew is trapped in a McJob in his hometown in the US, while his girlfriend chases her dreams in Barcelona. He discovers a talent as a party starter (aka “jig conductor”) and is hired to oversee the bar and bat mitzvah of his younger brother’s classmates. There, he falls for the older Domino (Dakota Johnson), despite being engaged, and befriends her autistic daughter Lola (Vanessa Burghardt). It’s a warm, friendly embrace of a film, which negotiates the life expectancies of the central pair with captivating humor.
Friday, June 17, Apple TV+
Love & Mercy
Parallel timelines make Bill Pohlad’s fact-based drama about head Beach Boy Brian Wilson a more nuanced proposition than your typical rock biopic. Paul Dano plays Brian from the 60s, financially successful but pushing his artistic and mental boundaries with the (vividly recreated) production of Pet Sounds. John Cusack is the sadly disabled Brian of the 80s, under the thumb of therapist Eugene Landy (a mocking Paul Giamatti), but manages to court Elizabeth Banks’ Melinda – in his own strange way.
Thursday 16 June, 11.15pm, BBC Two
Last night in Soho
Edgar Wright picks up the gleaming highs and lows of swinging London in his lovingly realized psychological horror, which has already led to walking tours of Soho. Thomasin McKenzie plays shy contemporary fashion student Ellie, who begins to have visions of Sandie (a swish Anya Taylor-Joy), a future singer in the 1960s whose dreams of nightclub stardom quickly sour. As her dreams become increasingly disturbing, Ellie’s identity begins to merge with Sandie’s. A nostalgic treat steeped in the sights and sounds of an era that never fails to tempt.
Friday 17 June, 10.25 pm, Sky Cinema Premiere
House of Gucci
The bizarre true story of Patrizia Reggiani – who plotted to murder her cheating husband, Maurizio Gucci, heir to the Italian fashion family – gets the treatment of Ridley Scott. Running the film as Patrizia, Lady Gaga sets in motion plans to put her husband in control of the company and change his fortune. It’s a luscious camp melodrama – like The Godfather with a bigger costume budget – and offers entertaining wide-ranging performances, not least from a heavily made-up Jared Leto as cousin Paolo and Salma Hayek as Patrizia’s psychic friend Pina.
Friday, June 17, Amazon Prime Video
Finnish national treasure Tove Jansson, the artist responsible for the Moomins, is the subject of Zaida Bergroth’s captivating biopic. Less interested in her creation of the enduringly popular characters than in her tangled love life, it follows Tove (Alma Pöysti) as she wavers between relationships with Shanti Roney’s trusty politician Atos and privileged theater director Vivica (Krista Kosonen), while also trying to escape from the stern influence of her famous sculptor father. A well-drawn portrait of an artist and woman who come into their own.
Saturday 11 June, 9pm, BBC Four
The narrow margin
There’s no fat in this top-notch piece of 1952 film noir. From the start, we’re deep in a conspiracy involving Charles McGraw’s by-the-book Walter Brown. He takes the widow of mob boss Frankie (Marie Windsor) on the train from Chicago to a grand jury in LA; the problem is that there are also two hitmen on board with Frankie in their sights – if they can find her. Richard Fleischer’s direction keeps the drama taut, while the carriages play host to a claustrophobic cat-and-mouse game, with the other passengers unknowingly participating.
Saturday June 12, 01.35 am, Great! Movies Action
two of us
A rock-solid performance by Barbara Sukowa adds a touch of danger to Filippo Meneghetti’s tender French tale. She plays Nina, one half of an aging lesbian couple with Madeleine (Martine Chevallier). In public, they’re just neighbors, but secretly they live together – and plan for their future, despite Madeleine’s kids being oblivious to the relationship. However, a serious incident changes Nina’s status in her lover’s life – and creates barriers to their happiness. How she strives to overcome them gives the film its drama and poignancy.
Monday 13 June, 2.15pm, Channel 4