Pick of the week
Toy Story 2
Pixar’s 1999 sequel to their hit animation surpasses the original for emotional breadth and dramatic invention. With a bittersweet feel that would quickly become the company’s trademark, John Lasseter’s comedy plunges Woody (Tom Hanks) into an existential crisis. After he is kidnapped by evil shop owner Al (Wayne Knight), he has to decide whether he belongs as a collectible – preserved for ever in a display cabinet with his newly found cowboy brethren – or back home with his owner Andy, knowing he will ultimately be discarded. It’s not all angst, though, as Buzz (Tim Allen) and the other toys set out on a highly entertaining mission to rescue their friend.
Saturday 4 June, 3.15pm, BBC One
Not a film to watch just after a big meal. Julia Ducournau – who with this and Titane is fast becoming the heir to David Cronenberg’s body horror realm – serves up a meaty drama about family and desire. Garance Marillier plays Justine (the name’s nod to De Sade presumably intentional), a student who joins her elder sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf) at veterinary school. As the freshers face a week of initiation rituals, the vegetarian Justine fights a new craving for flesh – of a particular kind. It’s a splendid nightmare, with baroque flourishes and the remorselessness of tragedy.
Saturday, 4 June, 1.10am, Channel 4
Marjane Satrapi’s eye-catching biopic of Marie Curie is as much a history of what her discoveries in radioactivity led to as the tale of a Polish immigrant in Paris fighting prejudice to complete her groundbreaking work. Rosamund Pike brings a fierce intelligence to her portrayal of the double Nobel prize-winning scientist, showing us both the headstrong and hamstrung aspects of her character – but it’s the scenes of atom bomb testing, radiotherapy and the Chernobyl disaster that give a wider context to what she lived, and died, for.
Sunday 5 June, 9.30pm, BBC Two
Kubo and the Two Strings
In this delightful animated fantasy, a one-eyed boy, Kubo (Art Parkinson) – who has the ability to bring paper magically to life – goes in search of his dead father’s armour in order to defeat his evil grandfather, the Moon King. He is aided in his quest by a monkey charm (Charlize Theron) and a samurai turned beetle (Matthew McConaughey). Travis Knight’s film is as delicate as the origami his hero creates, with a visual palette inspired by Japanese puppetry and art, but throws in some kid-friendly comedy as the genial, bickering trio face perils on land and sea.
Sunday 5 June, 12.45pm, Film4
Embrace of the Serpent
The search for a mythical plant in the Amazon rainforest is the hook on which Ciro Guerra hangs his beautiful but sombre meditation on the tragic effects of colonialism. The canoe trip of a 1909 German explorer, Theo, and his Indigenous shaman guide Karamakate is traced 30 years later by an American botanist, Evan, who also meets Karamakate, now struggling with lost tribal memories. Their journeys take them past rubber plantations and Catholic missions, symbols of western greed and insolence.
Tuesday 7 June, 1.35am, Film4
There’s more than a hint of Oliver Twist in Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s cautionary fable, which boasts some quality canine acting. When Hagen, a cross-breed owned by teenager Lili (Zsófia Psotta), is thrown out by her dad, he falls foul of animal pound workers and a man in the dog-fighting business. As the mood darkens, the antagonistic relationship between father and child softens, but the film is really all about what becomes of Hagen – his features moving from quizzical to fearful to angry as his treatment by humans brings him, and the city’s other maltreated canines, to the brink.
Wednesday 8 June, 1.55am, Channel 4
The Silence of the Lambs
Novice FBI agent Clarice (Jodie Foster) enlists the help of jailed cannibal psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to catch Buffalo Bill, a serial killer who skins his young female victims. But what will her dance with the devil cost her? Jonathan Demme’s 1991 thriller is a terrific procedural about using a criminal to catch a criminal, but it’s also a drama obsessed with looking. Clarice is continually being stared at by men who belittle or patronise or manipulate her – Lecter’s chilling, unblinking gaze is just the most obvious – with her success coming despite this disturbing scrutiny.
Friday 10 June, 10.45pm, ITV