Best films to stream this week: 18 August
- Emma Simmonds
- 18 August 2021
Our weekly guide to the best films available on home entertainment platforms
Our entertainment options may have increased of late 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.
The winner of four prizes at Sundance 2021, including Best Director and the US Grand Jury Prize, CODA (the acronym for a child of deaf adults) is the second feature from writer-director Sian Heder (who was also a writer on Orange Is The New Black). It follows Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones), a shy teen who is the only hearing member of her family – a rough round the edges, Massachusetts-based fishing clan, who are all played by deaf actors, including Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin as her mum.
Defying and embracing filmic cliches in equal measure, this extremely touching and often very funny film is notable for its inclusivity, authenticity, irreverence and superb performances, particularly from Matlin and the London-born Jones, who perfectly captures Ruby's gawkiness, isolation and burgeoning sense of self.
Watch now on Apple TV+.
I'm Your Man ★★★★☆
Downton's Dan Stevens plays a cheeky and seductive robot in this hugely enjoyable and ultimately quite sweet German dramedy from Maria Schrader, which is also in selected cinemas. It sees lonely anthropologist Alma (Maren Eggert) reluctantly trial a pre-programmed romantic companion (Stevens). She's instantly irritated by his perfectly inhuman ways, before she starts to warm to this unfazed, persistent and strangely endearing character. I'm Your Man cleverly probes the potential of artificial intelligence, while taking a leftfield look at love.
Watch now on Curzon Home Cinema.
The Croods 2: A New Age ★★★☆☆
Making the jump to home entertainment just a month after its cinematic debut, albeit at a premium price-tag, The Croods 2 is a gloriously colourful and enjoyably uncutesy animation refocusing on cave-folk. The impeccable voice cast do great work here: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds return, while newbies Leslie Mann and Peter Dinklage deserve a shout-out as members of the much more evolved 'Betterman' family. The film might have a bit of a prehistoric story, with a dad's overprotectiveness of his teenage daughter once again the focus, but it foregrounds its women when it matters. And they're ferocious.
Watch now on premium on demand.
The Kid Detective ★★★★☆
Here's a hidden gem for you. Fans of the underemployed Adam Brody (formerly of The OC fame, more recently popping up in small roles in Ready Or Not, Promising Young Woman and Shazam!) will delight in this rare leading role, where he gets to employ plenty of his charm and subvert a seemingly whimsical story. In this comedy drama from writer-director Evan Morgan, Brody plays ex kid detective Abe Applebaum, who suffered a humiliating fall from grace in the eyes of his smalltown community when he failed to solve his friend's disappearance as a child. Now in his thirties, he must pull himself out of his funk for a crack at redemption.
Watch now on Sky Cinema.
Black Widow ★★★★☆
Available to own digitally for those without Disney+ and who missed this in cinemas, this rip-roaring Marvel adventure is a real winner as it finally puts Scarlett Johansson's superhero front and centre and gives her a fabulously dysfunctional fake family, comprising Florence Pugh's Yelena, David Harbour's Soviet super soldier Alexei and Rachel Weisz's brilliant scientist Melina, and pits them against Ray Winstone's dastardly Dreykov. Skilfully directed by Cate Shortland (Lore, Berlin Syndrome), if this prequel is the last we see of Natasha Romanoff (the character was killed off in 2019's Avengers: Endgame) then it's a fittingly emotional final hurrah.
Available to buy on digital.