Best films to stream this week: 21 July
- Emma Simmonds
- 21 July 2021
Our weekly guide to the best films available on home entertainment platforms
The future finally seems to be looking brighter but, with 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.
Fear Street: Part Three – 1666 ★★★★☆
Netflix's nail-biting horror trilogy wraps up with the best instalment of the bunch, which divides its time effectively between the 17th century origin story of the Shadyside curse – seen through the eyes of our protagonist Deena (Kiana Madeira), who inhabits the infamous Sarah Fier as she is branded a witch and blamed for a series of terrible events that befall the town. Back in 1994, Deena and her crew – including Gillian Jacobs' liberated hermit C Berman and Darrell Britt-Gibson's until-now-only-briefly-glimpsed Martin – apply their newfound knowledge to take down the person responsible.
Combining its elements expertly, Part Three manages to be both affecting in its revelatory backstory (some terrible Oirish accents aside) and enormous amounts of fun in its mall-based, UV-lit and neon-drenched closer – a huge visual contrast to the heavy beige of Puritan times. Madeira is the standout performer here, but shout-outs are also due to Britt-Gibson and Ashley Zukerman, playing the local police chief, and of course to writer-director Leigh Janiak (and her screenwriting collaborators Phil Graziadei and Kate Trefry) for maintaining coherence, satisfying our need for nostalgia, and infusing the whole enterprise with a modern sensibility and plenty of heart.
Available to watch on Netflix.
Bye Bye Morons ★★★☆☆
The winner of Best Film and five other prizes at the 2021 César Awards, this fun Gallic farce finds dying hairdresser Suze (Virginie Efira) joining forces with suicidal IT director Jean-Baptiste and blind archivist Serge (Nicolas Marié) to track down her long-lost son. Director Albert Dupontel (who also stars as Jean-Baptiste) dedicates his film to Terry Jones and another Python, Terry Gilliam, appears in a cameo; it certainly owes a debt to that troupe, to Gilliam's Brazil and to the work of Dupontel's countryman Jean-Pierre Jeunet with its dystopian fantasy feel and story built on coincidences and twists of fate. It goes from silly to sweet, aided by Efira's sincere lead turn and there's plenty of visual pizzazz, but a few misjudgements in the material (including the romanticisation of stalking) distract.
Watch on Curzon Home Cinema.
Well worth watching or revisiting if the recent Fast & Furious 9 has given you a need for speed but you're looking for something with more creative fuel, Drive has just slid into a spot on BFI Player. Nicolas Winding Refn's finest film to date (which bagged him Best Director at Cannes) boasts Ryan Gosling at his edgy best, playing the unnamed stunt driver / getaway driver / mechanic who catches the eye of his nice neighbour (Carey Mulligan) before her scary husband (Oscar Isaac) is released from prison. Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston and, an unexpectedly intimidating, Albert Brooks round out the excellent cast.
Available on Amazon Video.
A Simple Favour ★★★★☆
We can forgive him for the pretty appalling Last Christmas as Paul Feig usually gets it right. The director of the superb Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy as well as the enjoyable and unfairly attacked 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, pairs Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively to fabulous effect in this black comedy infused mystery. When Kendrick's mild-mannered mommy vlogger Stephanie makes a stylish new friend, Emily (Lively), she's thrilled, but it's not long before Emily disappears, leaving Stephanie to turn amateur sleuth and become entangled with her missing pal's handsome husband (Crazy Rich Asians' Henry Golding).
Watch now on BBC iPlayer.
Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar ★★★☆☆
As daft as a brush, dafter even, Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar reteams the Oscar-nominated screenwriters of Bridesmaids – Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo – to spectacularly silly effect, while they share the spotlight playing the titular besties. The pair head off on what should be the holiday of a lifetime before they find themselves tangling with a vengeful villainess (also played by Wiig) and her easy-on-the-eye sidekick (Jamie Dornan). The story feels fairly erratic but there are plenty of memorable and hilarious moments, including an unforgettable musical number for Dornan that has to be seen to be believed.
Available now on Sky Cinema.