5 things to watch this weekend – 12 to 14 August

Silence, stillness... then not one but two noisy alien invasions swooping in at once. What are you watching this weekend?

12 August 2022

By Peter Hill

Nope (2022)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, including BFI IMAX

Although the abiding image of Jordan Peele’s latest is a cloud, its biggest foe might be this weekend’s heatwave. Brave it if you can, because any picture from this director is an event. Expect to be thrilled, harrowed and baffled by the story of siblings (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) whose horse ranch seems to be ground zero for strange visitors in the skies above. Peele’s cineliteracy references this guy and this one too, so it’s likely to be a film with more Easter eggs than a Boxing Day Tesco’s.

The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962)

Where’s it on? BFI Player

The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962)

Robert Bresson’s films were brisk and minimal, built – as he once said – on white, on silence and on stillness. His telling of the trial of a martyr is a compact and rigorous reconstruction of the trial at Rouen, with Florence Delay as the warrior girl who claims her rebellion against the English is commanded by God. Bresson hated what he called “theatre and masquerade”, so he uses the trial transcripts to build something very different to Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 version of the story – a film he condemned for its “grotesque buffooneries” – a statement that would be enough to start a barfight at Sight and Sound.

Day Shift (2022)

Where’s it on? Netflix

Films like The Gray Man and Red Notice have, despite their titles, proved to be remarkably colourless adventures. I struggle to remember a zinger or care about a character in either, both made by the streamer’s go-to filmmaker, Al Gorithm. On paper at least, Day Shift could do better. Jamie Foxx is the Los Angeles pool cleaner with a second life as a vampire hunter. He has seven days to knuckle down and get the cash to fund his child’s tuition, by any means he can. Two things work in this comedy’s favour: the cast includes Oliver Masucci (from Netflix’s superb German sci-fi series Dark), while co-writer Shay Hatten also scripted John Wick 3: Parabellum.

Prey (2022)

Where’s it on? Disney+

After the clumsy dullness of Shane Black’s 2018 plodder, the Predator franchise comes alive with a thoughtful and gripping trip back in time. It’s the early 18th century, and in the Comanche Nation Naru (a sensational Amber Midthunder) has the heart and fire of a warrior but has few chances to prove herself. A fire in the sky, and the strange alien hunter which follows it, changes all that. The location photography makes Calgary look stunning, but it’s the slick chase and havoc, plus some smart character development, that comes as the nicest surprise.

Gaslit (2022)

Time for the BFI to namecheck the FBI, whose raid at Mar-a-Lago this week has Watergate trending again. This eight-part series, drawn from the excellent Slow Burn podcast, tells the story of an infamous burglary and the toppling of a president. It’s viewed through the lens of the marriage between White House heavyweight John Mitchell and his wife Martha. Julia Roberts and Sean Penn top out a seriously muscular cast, contributing some of their best work, but your reason to watch is to see Shea Whigham as G. Gordon Liddy, the eccentric who ‘masterminds’ the notorious break-in, and ends up literally shouting at rats while the waters rise around him.

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