The movies to stream this weekend: 'Spencer', 'Boiling Point', 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye'

Boiling Point, Spencer, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye are new to UK streaming this week (Vertigo/STX/Searchlight)
Boiling Point, Spencer, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye are new to UK streaming this week (Vertigo/STX/Searchlight)

This week, awards contenders (and snubs) new and old in the lead-up to this year’s Oscars: with Prime Video releasing Pablo Larrain’s Spencer, Netflix releasing Philip Baratani’s quite literal pot-boiler thriller Boiling Point, while Disney+ adds Jessica Chastain's likely-to-be-Oscar-winning turn in The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

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Pick of the week

Spencer - Prime Video

Kristen Stewart is fantastic as Princess Diana in 'Spencer'. (STX Films)
Kristen Stewart is fantastic as Princess Diana in 'Spencer'. (STX Films)

With Spencer, Chilean director Pablo Larrain’s English language films continue down an interesting path of intense character studies within the confines of the upper class and the burdens of maintaining public appearance (see also: the elegiac Jackie, starring Natalie Portman).

Read more: Everything new on Prime Video in March

Following the late Princess Diana during a critical weekend in the early ‘90s, when she decided her marriage to Prince Charles wasn’t working, Larrain’s production design is easily the highlight. Its lavish surfaces disguise the ugliness of the subject matter and its intense psychological portrait of the character as performed by Kristen Stewart. But where Stewart’s performance leaves room for some fascinating ambiguity Steven Knight’s script, well, doesn’t. It’s didacticism is at odds with the rest, which makes for an imbalanced viewing, though a surprisingly worthwhile one.

Also new on Prime Video: Arsène Wenger: Invincible

Boiling Point - Netflix

Not to be mistaken for the Takeshi Kitano film of the same name, Philip Baratani’s feature length redux of his short film — also called Boiling Point — could be (fairly reductively) described as Uncut Gems in a restaurant, or “The Safdie’s Kitchen Nightmares”.

Unfolding in a single take over one hectic night Baratani’s film follows a head chef (Stephan Graham) as multiple personal and professional crises converge at a popular restaurant in London. The pacing suffers a little in the move from short to feature length but the cracks are, for the most part, smoothed over by Graham’s superb, magnetic performance.

Read more: Everything new on Netflix in March

Not that it works in spite of Baratani’s direction — if anything it’s the rare one-take gimmick movie that maximises the effectiveness of said gimmick by using it to highlight the claustrophobia of its setting and the relentless stress, no doubt sure to give viewers from the restaurant industry some war flashbacks.

Also new on Netflix: Love Like the Falling Petals

The Eyes of Tammy Faye - Disney+

THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE is an intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. (Searchlight)
THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE is an intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. (Searchlight)

Joining other Oscar contenders West Side Story and Nightmare Alley on the Disney streaming platform this week is The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Its star Jessica Chastain is currently the favourite to win Best Actress at the 94th Academy Awards for her striking — and prosthetic-heavy — turn as televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.

Directed by Michael Showalter, who won acclaim for 2017's The Big Sick, its based on the 2000 documentary of the same name, and charts the rise and fall of Tammy and her husband Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield). The TV preachers reached extraordinary heights and gained incredible levels of influence in the 1970s and 1980s, before it all came crashing down, becoming a huge tabloid saga.

Read more: Everything new on Disney+ in March

Chastain is magnetic as the chirpy but troubled Tammy Faye, whose faith is tested by all those around her, elevating a fairly rote and predictable biopic to the level of 'watchable'.

Seven Psychopaths - Disney+

Another new addition that somewhat amusingly flies in the face of the family-friendly face of Disney, Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy Seven Psychopaths re-teams the writer director with Colin Farrell for a completely ridiculous meta-caper.

A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu. Though still messy and meandering McDonagh’s scripting here is a more successful combination of comedic abrasiveness, melancholy and blatant symbolism than in his later, award-nominated Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. It’s also just a phenomenal cast on its face, delightful to watch them bounce off each other in every moment.

Also on Disney+: The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, Proposal, Tamara Drewe

Burning - BBC iPlayer

Steven Yeun in Burning. (CGV Arthouse)
Steven Yeun in Burning. (CGV Arthouse)

Anyone looking for another beguiling and evocative cinematic expansion on a Murakami short story in the wake of seeing Drive My Car would do themselves a favour seeking out Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, adapted from Burn Burning.

Another entry this week focused on a wayward writer meandering through bizarre chance meetings, Jong-su, working part-time as a deliveryman, runs into a childhood acquaintance Hae-mi (‘friend’ is too strong, he bullied her). Together the two of them meet Ben, who Jong-su becomes suspicious of and begins to believe is a danger to Hae-mi.

As Ben, Steven Yeun (in a Korean language role) shines with unpredictable charm and perhaps malevolence, though that’s part of the film’s slipperiness in how it potentially embodies Jong-su’s subjective, insecure perspective, there’s not much textural evidence to confirm that Ben is what Jong-su thinks he is.

Patiently paced but enthralling, Burning is a must-see.

Also on iPlayer: Spider-Man: Homecoming, County Lines