Four new films to stream this weekend

Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square, Hillbilly Elegy, Patrick, Collective

Dolly Parton in Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square

Dolly Parton in Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square

 

DOLLY PARTON’S CHRISTMAS TIME ON THE SQUARE ★★★☆☆
Directed by Debbie Allen. Starring Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Treat Williams, Jenifer Lewis. Netflix, 98 min
A New Yorker (boo) returning to the small town where she grew up, Regina (Baranski) has plans to evict the entire community on – wait for it – Christmas Eve! But what about lovable moppet Violet? And what about Pastor Christian and his perma-smiling wife? What of Regina’s old flame (Williams) and his tatty knick-knacks shop? What about Dolly as the local bag lady? Yes, it’s another silly but utterly delightful seasonal special inspired by Dickens’s most popular work. Good songs. Good spirits. Good times. TB 

HILLBILLY ELEGY ★☆☆☆☆
Directed by Ron Howard. Starring Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Gabriel Basso, Haley Bennett, Freida Pinto, Bo Hopkins. Netflix, 115 min

Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy
Amy Adams in Hillbilly Elegy

Back in 2016, a number of snooty publications suggested readers peruse JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy – about the author’s poor upbringing in Appalachia – to understand how Trump voters got that way. Whatever about the book, Ron Howard’s film certainly offers clues as to why rural America remains suspicious of the coastal elites. Here is patronising poverty porn of the lowest order. Adams and Close are ludicrously broad as Vance’s drugged-up mother and drunk grandmother. The plot is threadbare. The dialogue is unintentionally hilarious. Wildly inappropriate. DC

PATRICK/DE PATRICK ★★★★☆
Directed by Tim Mielants. Starring Kevin Janssens, Pierre Bokma, Ariane van Vliet, Hannah Hoekstra, Jemaine Clement, Bouli Lanners, Josse De Pauw. VOD, 100 min

Kevin Janssens and Hannah Hoekstra in Patrick
Kevin Janssens and Hannah Hoekstra in Patrick

Terrific, beautifully shot absurdist comedy from Belgium concerning the manager of a nudist colony who will stop at nothing in the pursuit of his missing hammer. Among the many wonders of this captivating film is that it never gives into whimsy. It can endure Jemaine Clement as a visiting pop star called Dustin Apollo without missing a beat. The nakedness is mostly incidental, but occasionally played up for dry comedy. An absolute original that should launch director Mielants towards a starry career. DC

COLLECTIVE/COLECTIV ★★★★☆
Directed by Alexander Nanau. BFI Player/IFI Player, 109 min

Collective/Colectiv
Collective/Colectiv

Documentary based around the 2015 fire in a Bucharest nightclub that killed 27 young rock fans. As an astonishing, urgent portrait of investigative journalism – and a timely reminder that cronyism isn’t a victimless crime – Collective concerns a fast-breaking news story, systemic corruption, government spin, and a sad retreat to the certainties of established, if rotten, political parties. A scripted drama couldn’t make it up; ssential viewing for anyone with an interest in checks and balances. TB

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