Spy at the cinema, Whiplash on DVD, My Week With Marilyn on TV: essential weekend movie viewing

Melissa McCarthy spying, Miles Teller drumming, Eddie Redmayne flirting! What to see in cinemas, on DVD and on TV this weekend (June 5-7)


by Charles Gant |
Published on

At the cinema: Spy

Plenty of actors received a career boost from LOL-packed comedy Bridesmaids, but none more than Melissa McCarthy, who finally found a significant screen role capable of accommodating her demented comic energy. In Spy, she reunites with the director (Paul Feig) who handed her that breakthrough role, then went on to team her with Sandra Bullock in The Heat. Spy offers a character well-suited to Melissa’s talents: a backroom CIA analyst who is stuck in the office, whispering instructions into the earpiece of glamorous spy Jude Law, who gets to do all the fun, exciting stuff. The plot contrives to promote Melissa to active service, but of course the humiliations keep coming, especially thanks to the wildly unflattering undercover identities she’s assigned – as she astutely observes, she looks like “someone’s homophobic aunt”. The support cast – including Jason Statham and Miranda Hart – aren’t quite as funny as they promise to be, but Melissa is great, and Spy keeps the laughs coming.

On DVD: Whiplash

If you didn’t see Whiplash at the cinema – ignoring all the adulatory reviews and awards buzz – it’s probably because the premise sounded so unappealing. Yes, this is the film in which student drummer Miles Teller vies to join the college jazz band. And that story description is probably why Whiplash never became the big hit at cinemas it deserved to be. Anyway, if you did miss it, here is your chance to catch up with one of the truly great films of the past year. The hilarious script gifts JK Simmons the role of his life, playing the band’s scary conductor, king of the withering putdown and torrents of politically incorrect profane abuse. JK won the Supporting Actor Oscar for this (and every other award going in the category), and Teller snagged a Rising Star BAFTA nomination. The film’s few detractors complain of a lack of rooting interest in the characters – Miles’ obsessive drummer is a bit of a doof, and JK’s is plain unpleasant. But don’t be put off by that. Also, the twisty ending is a real joy.

On TV: My Week With Marilyn (Saturday, BBC2, 10.30pm)

Thanks to his Oscar win playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything and his endearing turn as Marius in Les Miserables, the world now knows all about cute, freckled, floppy-haired Eddie Redmayne. Here’s one he made earlier. Based on the true experiences of one Colin Clark, Eddie plays a young man who lucks his way into a job on the set of a movie directed by and starring Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). This movie, The Prince And The Showgirl, also stars Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams), who ends up befriending our young hero, goofing off from the troubled production. The cast also includes Emma Watson, Judi Dench, Dominic Cooper and Toby Jones, although it’s really all about the flirty energy between the naïve youngster and the insecure movie star. It takes a brave actress to play icon Marilyn Monroe, and Michelle Williams just about pulls it off.

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