Surge (2020)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, including BFI Southbank, and digital platforms

The dam continues to burst this week, with all those shored up cinema releases finally getting their shot at the big screen. Disney’s Cruella and Kelly Reichardt’s sublime pioneer tale First Cow (recommended in a previous entry in this series) are among them. And so is this striking feature debut from Aneil Karia. Ben Whishaw gives a startling, inflamed turn as the airport security officer who goes on a rampage through London after erratic behaviour loses him his job. Harking back to the likes of Falling Down (1993) and Joker (2019), it’s an uncomfortably up-close study of a man going over the edge. Watching Whishaw’s volatile display of tics and grimaces is like observing a pan kept at the point of boiling over. He holds up banks, invades a wedding party, has a series of stingingly raw conversations with his estranged parents – all part of an unhinged odyssey through an alienating metropolis in which modern life chafes and bruises.

Moonstruck (1987)

Where’s it on? BBC2, Saturday, 10pm

Moonstruck (1987)

Not just high up in the pantheon of 1980s romantic comedies, Moonstruck might very well be the pinnacle. Screening on BBC2 in tandem with a documentary on Cher, it won Oscars for the Goddess of Pop herself, as well as for Olympia Dukakis and for John Patrick Shanley’s very funny screenplay. Rare for a romcom, it was also nominated for best picture. Cher plays the Italian-American widow in Brooklyn Heights who’s due to remarry but finds her head being unexpectedly turned by her fiancé’s fiery lug of a brother – Nicolas Cage in a full-throttle breakout role. Their romance blooms in a New York that feels at once down-to-earth and touched with enchantment. Puccini provides a soundtrack as the full moon looms and suggests a cosmic sway over the lovers’ fates. Norman Jewison is the director, who – always the bridesmaid – racked up his third best-director nomination, following nods for In the Heat of the Night (1967) and Fiddler on the Roof (1971).

That Cold Day in the Park (1969)

Where’s it on? BFI Player, also BFI Southbank, Saturday, 5.50pm

This icy and enigmatic late-60s drama stars Sandy Dennis as Frances, a well-heeled Vancouverite who invites a 19-year-old boy in from the rain after seeing him lingering on a park bench from her apartment window. So begins an early psychological thriller from Robert Altman, made just before he hit the big time with MASH (1970). Although best known for his kaleidoscopic multi-character dramas, That Cold Day in the Park belongs with a strand of Altman’s work that draws up much closer to examine fracturing female psyches. In the ensuing tale of obsession and sexual frustration, it’s not initially clear who is taking advantage of who, as the boy (Michael Burns) becomes a kept man in Frances’s apartment, receptive to her generosity and her desire. The influence of both Harold Pinter and Ingmar Bergman is clear, but Altman was also coming into his own stylistically – notably in a sequence at a doctor’s surgery in which one of his earliest experiments with overlapping sound enables us to listen in on a juicy waiting-room chat.

Mare of Easttown (2021)

Where’s it on? Sky Atlantic

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Monday brings the final episode of this gripping detective drama, written by Brad Inglesby and directed by Craig Zobel. Steeped in mystery and world-weary sadness, it sees a never-better Kate Winslet as the jaded detective investigating one murder and the disappearances of two young women in suburban Philadelphia. Bearing the past tragedy of her son’s suicide, and the threat of a custody battle ahead over her young grandson, the eponymous Mare has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Vaping, a constant supply of Rolling Rocks once off-duty and the compulsion of solving a tricky case are about the only things keeping her together. In the six episodes so far, Mare of Easttown’s creators have struck a winning balance between grungy character study and the obstacle course of red herrings and unexpected revelations that the genre demands. It’s riveting TV.

Maeve (1981)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray and digital platforms

Getting released on Blu-ray and various digital platforms this week, Maeve is a forgotten footnote of British arthouse cinema of the early 80s and surely among the most pungent depictions of Belfast during the Troubles. It was financed by the BFI’s experimental film fund of the time and co-directed by Pat Murphy and John Davies. Fragmented and non-linear in its plotting, it revolves around the eponymous Maeve, a young woman returning to Northern Ireland after living in London. She attempts to fit back into a city where violence, aggressive policing and politics dominate, all the while questioning the role for women within the macho culture of the republican movement. There are scenes of singing and communality in pubs that might put you in mind of the films of Terence Davies – Maeve has some of Davies’ austere beauty to it. It’s a manner of filmmaking that’s out of favour at the moment, though Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir (2019) might be another useful reference point for this like-minded study of a young woman navigating early adulthood.