The films fit for a Queen

All this week in our must-have guides, the Mail’s TV critic Christopher Stevens and Weekend magazine film critic Simone Andrews are rounding up the best TV available through streaming and catch-up channels to help you and your family through the coming weeks. 

We’ve already had riotous comedy, brilliant drama and fascinating factual shows, while tomorrow it’s the best family entertainment. 

Today, it’s the most unmissable movies. 

Saoirse Ronan stars as Mary Stuart, with Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I in Mary Queen of Scots

GRIPPING DRAMA   

Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool (2017, 15) iPlayer

Soft-hearted, fact-based romance starring Annette Bening as Hollywood star Gloria Grahame who, in 1979, was in the twilight of her career but still full of energy. 

Performing on stage in London, she meets and embarks on a relationship with Peter Turner (Jamie Bell), a young aspiring actor from Liverpool. Julie Walters and Vanessa Redgrave also star.

Foxcatcher (2014, 12) iPlayer

Sporting biopic following the incredible strange-but-true story of two wrestler brothers (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) and a wealthy sponsor (Steve Carell). 

With excellent performances, it’s a fascinating, twisted character study.

Burton & Taylor (2013, 15) iPlayer

One of Hollywood’s most glamorous and volatile couples, twice-divorced Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor (Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter) are reunited in New York in 1983 for a stage performance of Noel Coward’s Private Lives. 

Sparks fly and hard spirits flow, but really the couple are still rather fond of each other.

Made In Dagenham is the true story of the Ford car plant sewing machinists, whose strike in 1968 paved the way for equal pay for women

Made In Dagenham is the true story of the Ford car plant sewing machinists, whose strike in 1968 paved the way for equal pay for women

Made In Dagenham (2010, 15) iPLAYER

The true story of the Ford car plant sewing machinists, whose strike in 1968 paved the way for equal pay for women. 

It’s told with a light touch and features an endearing cast that includes Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins and Geraldine James.

Wonder Boys (2000, 15) iPLAYER

 Michael Douglas is the dope-smoking English professor finding it impossible to complete his second novel, which now runs to thousands of pages. His lack of direction extends to all areas of his life which, in Curtis Hanson’s darkly comic drama, slowly unravels before his eyes. 

Tobey Maguire is his troubled but brilliant student.

The Cruel Sea (1953, PG) iPLAYER

From a novel by Nicholas Monsarrat who served in World War II, this tense film follows the men of the Royal Navy convoys as they face U-boats, and nature’s wrath, on the Atlantic. Jack Hawkins and Donald Sinden star.

Suffragette (2015, 12) ALL4

The fight of the suffrage movement in Britain is brought vividly to life. Carey Mulligan plays a working-class mum empowered by the drudge of her menial work to stand up for her rights, with Meryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst.

All The Way Home (1981, PG) MY5

An adaptation of James Agee’s novel A Death In The Family, with Sally Field as the Tennessee widow raising her children alone in 1915. William Hurt and Ned Beatty also star. If you’re missing the theatre, this was filmed as a live stage production.

The Mirror Crack’d (1980, PG) Britbox/MY5

Angela Lansbury is Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, who finds her sleepy village of St Mary Mead a swirl of excitement when a film crew arrive to shoot a costume drama. Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak play two stars with a poisonous rivalry.

The Favourite (2018, 15) NOWTV/SKY

Intoxicating drama with Olivia Colman as Queen Anne in a performance that won her an Oscar. Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’s vision of British history is unlike any you’ve ever seen.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018, 15) NOWTV/SKY

Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant make quite a double act in this fact-based drama about a struggling writer who makes money from literary forgeries. McCarthy is cat-loving Lee Israel, with Grant as her drinking buddy Jack Hock.

Mary Queen Of Scots (2018, 15) N0WTV/SKY

Saoirse Ronan stars as Mary Stuart, with Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I, in this sumptuous historical drama charting the cousins’ rivalry and the bitter politics that powered it.   

Marriage Story depicts the breakdown of the relationship between a self-absorbed theatre director (Adam Driver) and his actress wife (Scarlett Johansson) in close-up

Marriage Story depicts the breakdown of the relationship between a self-absorbed theatre director (Adam Driver) and his actress wife (Scarlett Johansson) in close-up

The Mule (2018, 15) NOWTV/SKY

Director and star Clint Eastwood plays a man in his 90s who turns to drug-running after losing his flower farm livelihood. Bradley Cooper is the DEA officer on his tail.

The Old Man And The Gun (2018, 12) NOWTV/SKY

Inspired by the life of career criminal and prison escape artist Forrest Tucker, this stars Robert Redford as a charming wanted man who, at 61, has no intention of going straight. Sissy Spacek is the woman he falls for.

Marriage Story (2019, 15) NETFLIX

FAMILY FAVOURITES 

Mary And The Witch’s Flower (2017, U) ALL4

Magical Japanese animation from the celebrated Studio Ghibli. Set in England, it boasts a terrific English- voice cast that includes Kate Winslet.

Toy Story 4 (2019, U) NOWTV/SKY

Buzz, Woody (right) and pals make a welcome return in a film full of warmth.

Aladdin (2019, PG) NOWTV/SKY

Live-action version of Disney’s 1993 animation. Mena Massoud is street kid Aladdin who is on a magical adventure with Naomi Scott’s Princess. Will Smith is the genie.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (2019, PG) NETFLIX

Fact-based drama set in Malawi, where 13-year-old William (Maxwell Simba) helps his community survive a famine with a novel invention.

Peter Rabbit (2018, PG) NETFLIX

Modern update for Beatrix Potter’s tales with James Corden voicing Peter, who has a new wardrobe (but still no trousers). The sequel is one of the casualties whose cinematic release has been postponed.

Horrible Histories: The Movie (2019, PG) AMAZON PRIME

Rotten Romans are taken to task by the children’s comedy troupe in their first cinematic offering. 

Sebastian Croft is a teenager sent to chilly, grey Britannia where he is captured by Emilia Jones’s feisty Celt. Educational and highly entertaining, it’s win-win.

The breakdown of the relationship between a self-absorbed theatre director (Adam Driver) and his actress wife (Scarlett Johansson) in close-up. Laura Dern won an Oscar for her portrayal of a divorce lawyer.

The Two Popes (2019, 12) NETFLIX

Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce engage in lively conversation as Pope Benedict XVI and his successor, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, in a series of fictionalised face-to-face meetings.

The Laundromat (2019, 15) NETFLIX

Steven Soderbergh’s fact-based black comedy stars Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas as the shameless lawyers at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal.

The Irishman (2019, 15) NETFLIX

Martin Scorsese’s gangster drama follows Robert De Niro’s ageing hitman as he recalls his dealings with gangsters and Al Pacino’s union boss Jimmy Hoffa. A thrilling three-and-a-half hour epic.

Stan & Ollie (2019, PG) Amazon PRIME

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are convincing as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in this biographical drama charting the comedy duo’s comeback tour of the UK in 1953. Stan’s had enough and Ollie’s health is poor, but their close bond remains. Special mention to Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson as their long-suffering wives.

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs (2018, 15) NETFLIX

An anthology western from the Coen brothers that strings together a series of short stories, some funny, most tinged with violence. Liam Neeson and Tom Waits star.

Beasts Of No Nation (2015, 15) NETFLIX

Disturbing drama about child soldiers in a fictional West African state in the grip of civil war. Idris Elba is the sinister warlord who recruits nine-year-old Agu (Abraham Attah) after the young boy flees his village when his family are slaughtered.

Troop Zero (2020, PG) AMAZON PRIME

Uplifting comedy drama about school misfits who, in 1977, band together in order to win a talent show. Christmas Flint (McKenna Grace) wants her voice recorded on the Golden Record that will be sent up with the Voyager shuttle in the hope her dead mother will hear her sing.

The Professor And The Madman (2020, 15) AMAZON PRIME

More than two decades after Braveheart, Mel Gibson is back in Scottish brogue, but dials it down for a subtle performance as James Murray, the Scottish professor who compiled the Oxford English Dictionary in 1879. Sean Penn is the madman and murderer who assisted.

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are convincing as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in this biographical drama

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are convincing as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in this biographical drama

FAB FANTASTY   

Twelve Monkeys (1995, 15) iPLAYER

Mind-bending sci-fi thriller from Terry Gilliam. Bruce Willis is a prisoner travelling back to a time before a virus ravaged the Earth. If that sounds too close to the bone, fear not, it is superb escapism with a wild-eyed turn from Brad Pitt in an insane asylum.

Cat People (1942, PG) iPLAYER

Horror classic, all mood and sultry atmosphere, with Simone Simon as the woman who believes she is stalked by an animalistic curse.

Triangle (2009, 15) MY5

Devilish psychological horror with a twist. Melissa George stars as a single mother who discovers an abandoned ocean liner while on a sailing trip. When she steps aboard, it’s clear all is not shipshape.

Avengers: Endgame is the highest-grossing film of all time, this concludes the marvellous cycle of Marvel superhero movies

Avengers: Endgame is the highest-grossing film of all time, this concludes the marvellous cycle of Marvel superhero movies

Avengers: Endgame (2019, 12) NOWTV/SKY

The highest-grossing film of all time, this concludes the marvellous cycle of Marvel superhero movies.

Us (2019, 15) NOWTV/SKY

Jordan Peele’s follow-up to his 2017 Oscar-winner Get Out is another literate, lively horror, with unexpected twists. Lupita Nyong’o is the mother whose family are targeted by disturbed doppelgangers.

Bird Box (2018, 15) NETFLIX

Sandra Bullock is the woman fighting for survival in a bleak apocalyptic world where seeing the dark presences that have invaded the Earth will be the death of you.

SIDE-SPLITTING COMEDIES

Mindhorn (2016, 15) iPLAYER

Brilliantly silly British detective spoof with Julian Barratt as an out-of-work actor trying to recapture his glory days — as a TV detective with a bionic eye — by getting involved with a real-life case involving a killer who thinks his TV character is real.

Mindhorn is a brilliantly silly British detective spoof with Julian Barratt as an out-of-work actor trying to recapture his glory days

Mindhorn is a brilliantly silly British detective spoof with Julian Barratt as an out-of-work actor trying to recapture his glory days

Man On The Moon (1999, 15) iPLAYER

Andy Kaufman was best-known as Latka Gravas in the U.S. sitcom Taxi, and it was hard for many — including Andy — to separate the real Andy from his screen persona. In this biopic, Jim Carrey portrays the man and his many characters with humour and pathos.

Force Majeure (2014, 15) ALL4

Swedish comedy drama recently given a Hollywood remake as Downhill starring Will Ferrell. At a luxury ski resort, a businessman dad tries to deny a public show of cowardice after he flees the powder cloud from a controlled avalanche, abandoning his wife and children.

The Inbetweeners Movie (2011, 18) ALL4

Will, Simon, Jay and Neil (Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison), the teen friends from the hit TV sitcom, get up to no good in their first big-screen outing as they take themselves off for a much-needed holiday in Crete after their A-levels.

The Angriest Man In Brooklyn (2014, 15) MY5

Robin Williams loses his cool with his doctor who, in a flap, gives him an incorrect diagnosis. Thinking he’s only got 90 minutes to live, will he calm down long enough to put things right?

Elsa & Fred (2014, 12) MY5

Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer are the older opposites attracting in this romantic comedy in which vivacious Elsa coaxes grouchy new neighbour Fred out of his shell.

Small Time Crooks (2000, PG) MY5

Woody Allen’s comedy stars the director as a bungling thief who opens a cookie shop with his wife (Tracey Ullman) so they can tunnel into the neighbouring bank vault.

Shazam! (2019, 12) NOWTV/SKY

Enjoyable superhero spoof in which a troubled teenage runaway acquires the ability to transform into a beefy adult superhero (Zachary Levi).

The Sisters Brothers (2018, 15) NOWTV/SKY

Splendid dramedy western following bickering assassin brothers (John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix). Riz Ahmed is their target, while Jake Gyllenhaal plays a private detective who has his own agenda.

Eddie Murphy finally gets a role worthy of his talents after a series of flops in Dolemite is my Name

Eddie Murphy finally gets a role worthy of his talents after a series of flops in Dolemite is my Name

Ghostbusters (1984, PG) NOWTV/SKY

The original paranormal clean-up crew — Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd — set up shop to prevent supernatural evil from tearing up New York City. The 1989 sequel, as well as the female-led reboot, are also available.

The Naked Gun (1988, 15) NOWTV/SKY

Riotous spoof cop show Police Squad! hits the big screen. Leslie Nielsen is Frank Drebin, the hapless detective who must foil a plot to assassinate our Queen.

Murder Mystery (2019, 12) NETFLIX

A romantic mystery with old-school charm. Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler star as the bickering couple tumbling into mystery and comic intrigue on an anniversary trip to Europe.

Uncut Gems (2019, 15) NETFLIX

Adam Sandler as you’ve never seen him before, delivering his best performance in this frantic drama. He plays a New York diamond dealer eyeing the deal of his life but finding his luck has cut and run.

Dolemite Is My Name (2019, 15) NETFLIX

Eddie Murphy finally gets a role worthy of his talents after a series of flops. In this enjoyably seedy biopic he plays flamboyant entrepreneur Rudy Ray Moore, who made Blaxploitation big business in the 1970s.

The Last Laugh (2018, 15) NETFLIX

Comedy road movie with Chevy Chase as a comic and Richard Dreyfuss as his first manager. Reuniting after many years, they flee their retirement communities to get the show back on the road.

Booksmart (2019, 15) AMAZON PRIME

Superb coming-of-age comedy in which best friends Molly and Amy (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever) realise they could have had more fun at high school. With one last night to let rip, they decide to go for it at a series of graduation parties.

Brittany Runs A Marathon (2019, 15) AMAZON PRIME

Jillian Bell is the wine-loving, cash-poor singleton training for New York’s marathon to get in shape and shed the pounds.

Late Night (2019, 15) AMAZON PRIME

Sharp comedy in which Emma Thompson stars as a veteran talk show host hoping to boost her flagging ratings by hiring a young writer.

Blinded By The Light (2019, 12) AMAZON PRIME

Feelgood story from Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha. Javed (Viveik Kalra) is a second-generation Pakistani teen struggling to fit in who’s lifted when he tunes into the music of Bruce Springsteen.

ALL ACTION

The Place Beyond The Pines (2012, 15) iPLAYER

This energetic drama follows the actions of two men — Ryan Gosling’s moping stunt rider and Bradley Cooper’s ambitious cop. Their lives couldn’t be more different, but they are ultimately bound together.

Model Sasha Luss is an assassin in the mode of Nikita, but with a woman as her handler in Anna

Model Sasha Luss is an assassin in the mode of Nikita, but with a woman as her handler in Anna

A Simple Plan (1998, 15) iPLAYER

Better known for splatter horror and superheroes, Sam Raimi goes low-key for this moody thriller. Two brothers and a friend (Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton and Brent Briscoe) stumble upon a suitcase of cash in a crashed plane — and are led into devastating temptation.

Escape From Alcatraz (1979, 15) iPLAYER

Dirty Harry director Don Siegel brings his uncompromising edge to the tale of the only successful break-out from the supposedly escape-proof prison. Clint Eastwood is among the men who were never heard of again.

HOW TO GET ALL THE ON-DEMAND SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES  

WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO GET STARTED 

On demand services can be watched through internet-connected devices such as smart TVs, computers, tablets, phones and smart TV boxes. 

The majority of TVs bought after 2010 will be smart TVs, which means that they can connect to the internet. 

You can also make older TVs smart with a set-top box or by plugging in a device known as a TV stick, such as a Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick. 

Before you get started, you must ensure that your house is wi-fi connected, and this means signing up with a broadband provider. 

Companies, such as Sky, Virgin, BT and Talk Talk offer a range of options.

FREE-TO-AIR SERVICES 

The free services, BBC iPlayer (bbc.co.uk/iplayer), ITV Hub (itv.com/hub/itv), All 4 (all4.com), My5 (my5.tv) and UKTV Play (uktvplay.uktv.co.uk), allow you to watch shows and films that have already aired on the various channels from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and UKTV at no extra charge. 

They also feature a selection of other box sets from their archives.

SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES

There are also a number of streaming services for which you will have to register and pay a monthly fee. 

The U.S. giant Netflix (netflix.co.uk), which includes hundreds of hours of films and TV shows, including royal family saga The Crown, starts at £5.99 a month and doesn’t offer a free trial. 

The video offering from Amazon (amazon.co.uk/piv) comes as part of the Amazon Prime subscription, which costs £7.99 a month after a 30-day free trial. 

NowTV (nowtv.com), is Sky’s on-demand catalogue available through a set-top box rather than a satellite dish. 

It costs £8.99 a month for an ‘Entertainment Pass’, which gives you access to channels such as Sky One and Sky Atlantic. 

A seven-day free trial is available and other passes — to Sky Sports and Sky Cinema — can be added on at an extra cost. 

Apple TV+ (apple.com/uk/apple-tv-plus) costs £4.99 a month after a seven-day free trial, for access to Apple-produced series. 

BritBox (britbox.co.uk) is your best bet for British TV box sets as it boasts a wide range of classic shows from the BBC and ITV archives. It costs £5.99 a month after a 30-day free trial. 

Disney+ (disneyplus.com/uk), which has just launched, offers access to the company’s vast library of film and TV for £5.99 a month or £59.99 per year.

Gangster No 1 (1999, 18) ALL4

Violent crime thriller starring Malcolm McDowell as a veteran mobster reminiscing about his grisly rise to power in 1960s London, with Paul Bettany playing him as a younger man.

Monster (2003, 18) MY5

Charlize Theron is unrecognisable as real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos; she gained 30lb for a performance that won her an Oscar. 

Wuornos was convicted of murdering six men (she admitted to killing seven), and was executed in 2002.

Greta (2018, 15) NOWTV/SKY

Neil Jordan’s thriller stars Isabelle Huppert as Greta, the lonely widow befriended by young waitress Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz). Greta, a woman with a secret room full of chilling baggage, quickly gets terrifyingly clingy.

Hotel Mumbai (2019, 15) NOWTV/SKY

Gripping thriller inspired by the 2008 terrorist attacks in the Indian city. Arjun (Dev Patel) is the waiter at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel who puts his life at risk to look after his guests.

Spenser Confidential (2020, 15) NETFLIX

Action comedy based on characters created by crime writer Robert B. Parker and starring Mark Wahlberg as the disgraced cop who doesn’t get the fresh start he hoped for. Instead, he hunts down the corrupt cops and drug kingpins who put him in prison.

Lost Girls (2020, 15) NETFLIX

Powerful true-crime drama with a strong performance from Amy Ryan as Mari Gilbert. She’s a gutsy mother who won’t rest until police find her missing daughter as the bodies of other young girls drawn into sex work are found in the bleak marshlands of Long Island.

Red Joan (2020, 12) NETFLIX

Judi Dench plays the ‘granny spy’ inspired by real-life KGB agent Melita Norwood. Retired Joan is approached by Special Branch who have uncovered her betrayals as a young woman at a secret atomic research facility.

1922 (2017, 15) NETFLIX

Stylish adaptation of a Stephen King novella in which a farmer and his teenage son are slowly driven mad after committing a terrible crime.

The Report (2019, 15) AMAZON PRIME

Political thriller that investigates the use of torture by the CIA following the 9/11 attacks, and the agency’s attempt to cover it up. Adam Driver and Annette Bening star.

Anna (2019, 15) AMAZON PRIME

Director Luc Besson revisits his 1990 hit La Femme Nikita. Model Sasha Luss is an assassin in the mode of Nikita, but with a woman as her handler.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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