Best films to stream this week: 16 Jun

Kajillionaire

Our weekly guide to the best films available on home entertainment platforms

The future finally seems to be looking brighter but, with plans still feeling precarious and our viewing habits perhaps permanently changed, we'll keep casting our expert eye over the newly arrived films on TV and streaming services each week, bringing you the cream of the current movie crop. Let us do the decision-making for you, and then just sit back and enjoy.

Shiva Baby ★★★★☆

Following its one-night-only appearance in cinemas last week, this American indie gem from writer-director Emma Seligman (making her debut as a feature director and expanding on her 2018 short) delivers an onslaught of social awkwardness. It's set at the shiva of an elderly family friend that our protagonist Danielle (an amusingly deadpan Rachel Sennott) doesn't remember, and involves her bumping into her sugar daddy Max (Danny Deferrari) in the company of her oblivious parents (scene-stealing work from Polly Draper and Fred Melamed), while her spiky ex, Maya (Molly Gordon), provides further complications.
Watch now on MUBI.

Kajillionaire ★★★★☆

This hilariously surreal effort from writer-director Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know) piles on the eccentricity in a way that's pretty damn delightful, as it follows a family of not terrifically successful con-artists (the parents are played by Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger, no less, with Evan Rachel Wood as their surfer-dude-resembling daughter). The trio get stuck into a more ambitious than usual heist, bringing a new partner into the fold in the shape of Gina Rodriguez's kind-hearted Melanie, who Wood's bizarrely named Old Dolio takes a rather sweet shine to, with the pair's burgeoning bond ultimately threatening the family's pretty messed-up status quo.
Watch now on Sky Cinema.

The Big Sick ★★★★☆

Loosely based on the real story behind writers Emily V Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani's romance, The Big Sick, from director Michael Showalter (the director of The Lovebirds and creator of Wet Hot American Summer and Search Party), is a deliciously different romcom, whose screenplay was nominated for an Oscar. Nanjiani also stars as his Pakistani-American namesake Kumail, who negotiates the cultural differences of a new relationship with Zoe Kazan's Emily before she gets very ill indeed. The unusual chain of events brings him close to her parents, brilliantly played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.
Watch now on BBC iPlayer.

Zama ★★★★☆

Arthouse cinema fans are in for a treat this week as the idiosyncratic and incredible Zama – the most recent work from the Argentinian director of The Headless Woman, Lucrecia Martel – is added to BFI Player. Based on the 1956 novel from Antonio Di Benedetto and set in a remote South American colony in the late 18th century, the film muses on identity, masculinity and legend as it follows Spanish magistrate Don Diego de Zama, who endures various humiliations as he impatiently awaits transfer. The Spanish-born Mexican actor Daniel Giménez Cacho brings plenty of pathos to Zama's predicament in a gorgeously shot, scathing satire of colonialism.
Watch now on BFI Player.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday ★★★☆☆

Now available to rent following its Sky Cinema premiere, this biopic from the director of Precious and The Paperboy, Lee Daniels, can be a bit of a muddle, inexplicably choosing to focus on legendary singer Billie Holiday's speculative relationship with FBI agent Jimmy Fletcher (Moonlight's Trevante Rhodes) rather than the myriad other interesting aspects of her life. Nevertheless, it contains a truly spectacular performance from singer Andra Day (in her first-ever leading role), which bagged her a well-deserved Golden Globe and saw her nominated for an Oscar. Capturing Holiday to a T, she absolutely ensures this is worth your while.
Watch now on demand.

The Big Sick

  • 4 stars
  • 2017
  • US
  • 1h 59min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Michael Showalter
  • Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano

Culture clash comedy written by real life couple Emily V Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. It plays out with charming, sometimes toe-curling honesty and an acknowledgement of how complicated life can get when expectations weigh heavy and tradition unceremoniously intervenes.

Zama

  • 4 stars
  • 2017
  • 1h 55min
  • Directed by: Lucrecia Martel
  • Cast: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Lola Dueñas, Matheus Nachtergaele

Don Diego de Zama (Cacho) is a Spanish magistrate in 18th century South America, awaiting transfer to a more civilised place. Martel juxtaposes the ludicrous finery of the European characters against the ragged, scorching landscapes and it’s a scathing satire of colonialism as well as a subtle portrait of a man unravelling.

Kajillionaire

  • 4 stars
  • 2020
  • US
  • 1h 46min
  • 12
  • Directed by: Miranda July
  • Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger, Gina Rodriguez, Richard Jenkins

From acclaimed writer/director Miranda July comes a profoundly moving and wildly original comedy. Con-artists Theresa (Debra Winger) and Robert (Richard Jenkins) have spent 26 years training their only daughter, Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood), to swindle, scam, and steal at every opportunity. During a desperate, hastily…

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

  • 3 stars
  • 2021
  • US
  • 2h 10min
  • Directed by: Lee Daniels
  • Written by: Suzan-Lori Parks
  • Cast: Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Natasha Lyonne, Garrett Hedlund, Miss Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Evan Ross, Tyler James Williams, Tone Bell, Erik LaRay Harvey, Melvin Gregg, Dana Gourrier, Leslie Jordan
  • UK release: 26 February 2021

In the 1940s, Billie Holiday (Andra Day) was targeted by the government to try to radicalise the war on drugs. Led by Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher (Trevante Rhodes), the Federal Department of Narcotics is ultimately aiming to stop her from singing her song, "Strange Fruit."

Shiva Baby

  • 4 stars
  • 2020
  • US / Canada
  • 1h 17min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Emma Seligman
  • Written by: Emma Seligman
  • Cast: Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, Polly Draper, Danny Deferrari, Fred Melamed, Dianna Agron
  • UK release: 11 June 2021

Shiva Baby follows Danielle (Sennott), a young bisexual woman grappling with tradition and independence, who, along with her mother and father, attends a shiva, a Jewish gathering of friends and family during a time of mourning. Set over the course of this single climactic day-long event, the film perfectly captures the…