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It's a quieter week in streaming land, but there are still some original works and older classics to fill the gaps. This week's offering include a new Sky Original horror, two documentaries and new Liam Neeson action thriller.
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Kindred - NOW with a Sky Cinema Membership
The perfectly serviceable Kindred, a new Sky original horror, will immediately have viewers recalling both Get Out and Rosemary’s Baby in its visual motifs and thematic material, but perhaps not their quality and sharp wit nor the bite of their social commentary.
When her boyfriend Ben suddenly dies – after being brutally kicked by a horse, it’s the countryside after all – mother-to-be Charlotte collapses upon receiving the news. She wakes up in Ben’s family home, a crumbling old manor house in the middle of nowhere with Ben’s overbearing mother and his controlling stepbrother (Jack Lowden, creepy and charismatic) who are determined to care for her. Numbed by grief and increasingly haunted by visions possibly brought on by the pregnancy, Charlotte begins to suspect that the family are looking to take control of her and her unborn baby.
Watch the trailer for Kindred
This should all sound very familiar now, and it definitely feels like it while watching. The tension of Kindred completely deflated because of its predicability, and partly because of the director drawing overwrought performances out of his leads. The screaming matches are laughably intense, and its clumsiness isn’t helped by its constant reminders of Jordan Peele’s horror, from the Black person stuck in an affluent white home, to the sinister and fancy tea cups, to the dream sequences that conjure images of the void as a sort of representation of this new family subsuming the protagonist’s identity.
That said, there's at least some compulsion in its narrative to see what wild thing the family will do next, each new twist delivered with enough confidence that you might wonder for a couple of seconds if you had guessed it wrong (you probably didn’t).
Also new on NOW: Rams, Jurassic Park
Fathom - Apple TV+
For a doc about oceanographic study, Drew Xanthopaulo’s Fathom starts off surprisingly dry. Following two biologists who set out to decipher the complex communication of whales, Dr. Michelle Fournet and Dr. Ellen Garland journeying to opposite hemispheres to uncover a culture eons older than our own.
The film gets a little caught up in the less fascinating details, but is bolstered by beautiful cinematography, and fascinating sound in its study of whale song and its artificial replication. It’s a shame that the narrative is structured so that any momentum quickly becomes inert, making the film’s rewards feel further away.
Also on Apple TV+: Boys State, The Elephant Queen
Casablanca (from 26 June) - BBC iPlayer
Its status is so ingrained in our pop cultural memory because of all the cinema that sprung from it that it feels obvious and patronising to talk about Casablanca beyond the parlance of “well, it’s Casablanca”.
Michael Curtiz’s classic wartime romance of a cynical American expatriate meeting a former lover in the eponymous Moroccan city is iconic from beginning to end, its shadowy scenery and intimate close-ups, its painful emotional stakes and political turmoil. It’s all completely infectious no matter how ubiquitous, how popular and frequently spoken of it is, it’s simply that wonderful. If you haven’t watched it, see for yourself!
Also new on iPlayer: Out Of Blue, Ant-Man
The Ice Road - Amazon Prime Video
Liam Neeson is a man with an unusual job — a very particular set of skills, one might say — on an intrepid rescue mission. If that sounds familiar, it's because The Ice Road slots squarely into the pantheon of Neeson's recent work in the action genre.
He portrays an ice driver who rushes to save workers trapped within a Canadian diamond mine when it collapses. Writer-director Jonathan Hensleigh has form for spectacle, having penned the scripts for Armageddon and Die Hard with a Vengeance, as well as doing uncredited work on Con Air and Gone in 60 Seconds.
Also new on Amazon Prime Video: Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit, The Emoji Movie
Wolfgang - Disney+
Austrian chef Wolfgang Puck has been a household name in the United States for decades, having risen up the ranks after a troubled childhood. This documentary follows his life story, spotlighting him as one of the figures who helped to popularise the idea of a celebrity chef.
In the director's chair is David Gelb, who has form in this arena having previously made the acclaimed 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which focused on an 85-year-old sushi master in Japan.
Also new on Disney+: Coyote Ugly, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
Watch: First look at Wolfgang