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STUFF TO WATCH OCT 26–28

Thrilling new drama for cinema-goers and bedroom streamers

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Bohemian Rhapsody  

New cinema So this movie is going to attract two tribes. There are the Queen obsessives desperate to hoot along to the monster hits, and preoccupied by whether Rami Malek looks like Freddie Mercury (yes in the ‘tache-and-shorter-hair period, not really in the mullet days) and sounds like him (very much, although the voice you hear is a composite that includes Mercury and Canadian vocalist Marc Martel). They will be ravished by a faithful skip through Queen’s history. And then there are those unbelievers who think We Are The Champions’ level is as entrance music for a no-hoper on the sh*t BBC darts. Well, they’ll find genuine emotional heft in the remarkable stoicism with which Mercury fought both prejudice and tragic ill-health.

STUFF TO WATCH OCT 26–28 1

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot  

New cinema Cartoonist John Callahan’s creations were proudly irreverent, making fun of those whose adversities are considered sacred, and in this biopic he’s played with prickly mischief by Joaquin Phoenix. Callahan was a quadriplegic, having severed his spine in a 1972 car crash in a period when he was drinking destructively (although he wasn’t driving at the time of the accident). There is of course a current of heroic “if life gives you lemons” defiance here, but Callahan is never sanctified – he wouldn’t have wanted to be, you sense – and light is balanced with dark. It’s all rounded off by a terrific cast: Jonah Hill (looking the spit of David Guetta), Jack Black and Rooney Mara, all directed by Gus Van Sant.   

STUFF TO WATCH OCT 26–28 2

My Dinner With Hervé  

Now TV Pal, we are pleased to inform you this is not a dramatisation of that leaden story flat-share Patricia used to tell about her “red-hot tryst” (literally, a coffee) with her second-year French lecturer. No, this HBO film is the part-fictionalised story of a serendipitous friendship: in 1993, alcoholic journalist Danny (Jamie Dornan) was sent to interview Gore Vidal in Los Angeles, but instead spent the night with Hervé Villechaize (Peter Dinklage), the French actor famous for playing Nick Nack in The Man With The Golden Gun (and who never grew taller than 3ft 10). Villechaize plunges unashamedly into the torments of his life, delivering quotes more arresting than Vidal could have.

STUFF TO WATCH OCT 26–28 3

Shirkers

Netflix Imagine, that which you worked so hard on, that which you hoped would transform your life, suddenly stolen forever. That five-year croissant-review blog – “For those asking, yes I have noted Pret’s newbie… suspect the ‘jam’ is actually berry compote… frightful!” – completely deleted from the internet. Sandi Tan, director of this Netflix original documentary, suffered such a fate. Footage from her first feature, filmed with friends in Singapore when she was a teenager, was stolen by her mentor, who disappeared afterwards. It’s a bizarre, consuming mystery whose answer might lay in the analyses of the kidnapper, Georges Cardona – did he see the myth-creation of “The Stolen Film” as more important than the footage itself?

STUFF TO WATCH OCT 26–28 4

Berlin Station  

All4 Ignore all the fatalism that’s about. We’ll know the world has truly gone to sh*t when the appetite runs out for CIA dramas in which there’s a mole in the agency. What is it about the mole trope that we adore? Do we all yearn to skilfully deceive beloved colleagues while betraying none of our corruptibility? In a similar manner to one of the less-sh*t seasons of Homeland, this show – whose third season is due to premiere on December 3 in the US – is set in the Berlin base of the CIA. Ordinarily we’d say it’s not the most nuanced of dramas, but in the age of Trump all that is redundant; a whistle-blower is leaking secrets that could put the staff in grave danger

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