Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
alert-–-the-30-best-family-friendly-films-to-watch-over-the…Alert – The 30 best family-friendly films to watch over the…

Gripping thrillers, intriguing dramas and hilarious comedies – they are all featured in our critics’ picks of the best movies to watch On Demand right now.

The experts have chosen their top 30 films to stream over the Easter weekend, sifting through thousands of options so you don’t have to.

They have also reviewed new releases to give you the freshest take on the latest cinema offerings.

Read on to find out what to watch this weekend…

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning 

Tom Cruise embarks on a seventh thrill-packed mission as superspy Ethan Hunt

Year: 2023

Certificate: 12

Watch now on NOW

Watch now on Sky

Watch now on Paramount+

Sitting alongside James Bond and Jason Bourne when it comes to the silver screen’s greatest secret agents, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has triumphed over just about every baddie the world has to throw at him. But even he may have met his match as he and his team (including Simon Pegg and new member Hayley Atwell) are called upon to bring down a rogue Artificial Intelligence in this seventh adventure. 

Full of humour, excitement and stunts (many performed for real by the seemingly indestructible Cruise himself), this is a beast of a blockbuster adventure that builds to a cliffhanger finish ahead of a concluding instalment due in 2025. (164 minutes) 

Rye Lane

South London-set rom-com full of light and life

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Disney+

When lovelorn accountant Dom runs into free spirit Yas at the opening of an art gallery just off Rye Lane in Peckham, south London, he’s swept up into a day and most of a night of adventure. Soon the pair are wandering across the city, dropping into parties, attempting a little light breaking-and-entering, and generally pinballing from joyously funny situation to situation. 

This is a genuinely lovely and properly funny movie packed with heart and goodwill. It will have you falling in love with its two leads (Industry’s David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah from Class) just as quickly and completely as they lose their hearts to each other, and the film’s sense of place is as specific as it is joyful. (82 minutes) 

Next Goal Wins

Michael Fassbender leads the line in a comedy about the worst international football team

Year: 2023

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Disney+

After his professional and personal lives go into meltdown, coach Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender) is given one last chance to save his sporting career. If he can turn around the fortunes of the truly dreadful American Samoan team, then maybe he can find redemption. But can anyone save a team that once lost 31-0 to ? 

With Taika Waititi on directing duties, this is a warm-hearted and sweetly silly sports film that leaves you feeling genuinely chirpy. Fassbender is on fine form, with great support from Elisabeth Moss, Will Arnett, assorted familiar faces from Waititi’s earlier films and Kaimana as the team’s transgender centre-back. (104 minutes)

Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown upends tradition in an exciting fantasy movie

Year: 2024

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Netflix

When a young woman named Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown) falls in love with a prince, she thinks her story is heading to a glorious happily-ever-after ending. It is not. Betrayed and left to die in a cave as a sacrifice to a dragon, she soon realises that if she wants to survive, she’s going to have to battle her way out all on her own. 

Turning the damsel-in-distress cliches of fantasy tales on their head, this vibrant adventure film is a breath of fresh air, with Stranger Things and Enola Holmes star Brown making a convincingly determined sword-swinging action heroine. (108 minutes)  

Nyad

Annette Bening and Jodie Foster make a splash in this swimming biopic

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Netflix

At the age of 60, American long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad decided to come out of retirement to attempt an incredible swim – the 110-mile open ocean crossing from Cuba to Florida. It’s a story that makes a fantastic subject for a stirring sports biopic, with Nyad’s defiance of her age and multiple failed attempts bringing real drama to the film. 

What makes it truly special, though, is the cast. Jodie Foster and Rhys Ifans are excellent as Nyad’s best friend/swim coach and her open-water navigator, while Bening is simply outstanding as Nyad herself, unafraid to be flinty and unlikeable as she channels the spirit of a stubbornly determined figure. It will be no surprise if all three bag Oscar nominations for their efforts here. (120 minutes) 

Elemental

Pixar’s joyful romcom about what happens when fire and water mix

Year: 2023

Certificate: pg

Watch now on Disney+

There are four different types of residents in Element City – earth, air, fire and water. They all live side by side happily enough, so long as they obey the cardinal rule: elements cannot mix. So, what happens when a fire person and a water person fall in love? You know exactly where Pixar’s joyful animated family comedy is going from the start, but that doesn’t diminish the fun of it, nor the enjoyment of seeing how all the different elements’ worlds are created on screen. 

In the execution of that concept Elemental is reminiscent of Inside Out and, while comparisons to that movie don’t do it any favours, it’s important to remember just how high a bar Inside Out set. Taken on its own terms, Elemental is a delight – it’s essentially a Pixar romcom, with an immigrants’ tale woven in. It’s also a stunning looking movie with lots of great details to enjoy if you choose to see them, and don’t miss the short film it was released with, either – Carl’s Date, which follows the older gentleman from Up. (101 minutes) 

Barbie

Margot Robbie stars in Greta Gerwig’s subversive box-office smash

Year: 2023

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Sky 

Has any movie been subjected to more scrutiny than the box-office smash of summer 2023? It says a lot for Greta Gerwig’s subversive take on the American doll that it could stand all that scrutiny and that, if you wanted to just ignore all the discussion of feminism and patriarchy that surrounded it, you could also just enjoy it – as a fun and surprising adventure comedy that carried an emotional punch about the way women live their lives. 

Amid all that hubbub, it’s also easy to forget how terrific Margot Robbie is as the doll leaving Barbie Land for a shock in the human world, and how funny Ryan Gosling is as Ken – although it’s less easy to forget the latter as, ironically, he almost has more to do in the movie than she does. Don’t overlook how beautifully designed this film is, either. They’ve brought Barbie Land to life in such beautiful detail, and if you played with the dolls as a child there are lots of background details in this for you. That’s far from the end of it, though – we haven’t even got into the musical numbers, or Will Ferrell as the boss of Mattel.  (114 minutes) 

Polite Society

Exuberant female-focused British action comedy with a Bollywood twist

Year: 2023

Certificate: 12

Watch now on NOW

Watch now on Sky

Teenager Ria wants to be a movie stuntperson when she grows up, and spends all her time practising martial arts and working on training videos in her London home with Lena, her encouraging older sister. But, when Lena is persuaded by their traditional Pakistani parents to take part in an arranged marriage, Ria smells a rat – but can she really use her martial arts skills and the Scooby-Doo-style help of her schoolfriends to save Lena from impending matrimony? Whether Lena wants her to or not? 

This fantastic, bright and inventive action-packed comedy is flavoured in equal parts by Bollywood and kung-fu movies, and features genuine breakout performances from Priya Kansara and Ritu Arya as the two sisters. Both deserve to be huge stars. (104 minutes)

Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny

Whip-cracking franchise bows out in style with a terrific finale

Year: 2023

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Disney+

If you’re an Indy fan whose heart swells at the sound of the theme music, and whose neck bristles at the sight of those maps with planes flying across them, you won’t be disappointed by this terrific finale that combines a classic, whip-cracking adventure with a rumination on ageing. That blend is there right from the opening scenes, which follow a digitally de-aged Harrison Ford in a train battle with Nazis before jumping forward to our hero in 1969, shirtless and 70, yelling at his hippie neighbours for playing music too loud.

This movie, then, is about a man looking for his place in time – and that idea sits there in the background as the adventure takes off like a rocket, adding Phoebe Waller-Bridge into the mix as a wise-cracking, screwball-style adventurer for Indy to bounce off. Waller-Bridge’s character has a dark side, just like the film, and that sense of balance grounds the rip-roaring action all the way through to an ending that brings both the story, and Indy’s whole character, to a strong finish. 

We haven’t been specific about the plot or the action set pieces, and that’s deliberate. Go in knowing as little as possible and just enjoy the music, the maps and the whole incredible ride. (154 minutes) 

Belfast

Director Kenneth Branagh’s black-and-white love letter to the city of his birth

Year: 2021

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Netflix

Hands up who knew that Kenneth Branagh was from Belfast? The star has spoken about how he lost his accent when he moved to England at the age of nine and was desperate simply to ‘fit in’. This charming, semi-autobiographical film, which Branagh wrote and directed, is a tribute to his home city.

It’s the story of nine-year-old Buddy (newcomer Jude Hill – surely a big star of the future), a boy growing up in a working-class Protestant family in the Northern Ireland capital in the late 1960s as The Troubles are brewing. 

The terrific cast includes Caitríona Balfe and Jamie Dornan as Buddy’s parents and Judi Dench and Ciarán Hinds as his grandparents. (98mins)

Theater Camp

Chaos reigns in this mockumentary about a camp gone wrong

Year: 2023

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Disney+

Fans of mockumentaries such as Best In Show and Spinal Tap should get a kick out of this one set at a children’s theatrical summer camp in upstate New York, in which the camp’s founder, Joan Rubinsky (Amy Sedaris), falls into a coma and chaos reigns in the aftermath. The comedy that follows manages to both mock its self-involved theatre types and celebrate them at the same time, as the camp comes together to put on a big musical production in tribute to the comatose Joan. 

The film will be funnier if you have an affinity for or an interest in the kind of people it satirises, but fundamentally it’s just a good comedy filled with great characters that should bring a smile to anyone’s face. And at barely an hour and a half long, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. (92 minutes) 

Love At First Sight

Cheery rom-com about searching for a lost love in London

Year: 2023

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Netflix

When they meet on a flight from the US to London, Hadley and Oliver strike instant undeniable romantic sparks. This could be the start of a grand love story… or at least it might have been if she hadn’t promptly lost his number. Can they find each other in a city of millions with only a few vague hints about their lives to go on? 

The star-crossed young lovers are played by Haley Lu Richardson (The White Lotus) and Ben Hardy (The Girl Before) but it’s a mark of how sweet and funny a script this rom-com boasts that its supporting cast features serious comic talent including Sally Phillips, Dexter Fletcher, Rob Delaney and Jameela Jamil. (90 minutes) 

Oppenheimer

Christopher Nolan’s epic biopic about the atom bomb inventor

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Sky

Two films dominated the summer of 2023. One was Greta Gerwig’s brilliant, neon-bright Barbie movie, but the other was this darkly stunning account of obsessive scientist J Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) and his part in the Second World War Manhattan Project that created the world’s first atom bomb. 

Visually stunning and intellectually complex (it is shot through with foreboding about just what Oppenheimer’s terrible creation might mean for all mankind), it’s a film packed with great performances, with Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr and Emily Blunt all on fine form. The film is dominated by Murphy’s Oscar-winning turn as the titular scientist, though, a driven, hypnotic figure creating something that only serves to destroy. Murphy’s gong was one of seven wins for Oppenheimer at the Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor for Downey Jr. The film is available to buy or rent on Amazon, Apple, Sky and elsewhere, and will become part of the Sky Cinema subscription from 12 April. (181 minutes)

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

Heartfelt stop-motion adventures of a talking shell

Year: 2021

Certificate: pg

Watch now on Sky

Watch now on NOW

Nominated for a Best Animated Feature Film Oscar, this is a beautifully crafted gem of a movie. Talking shell Marcel (voiced by Jenny Slate) lives alone in an empty Airbnb with his slightly senile grandmother Connie (Isabella Rossellini). When a documentarian stumbles upon them both while staying in the house, his films about Marcel rocket him to international fame and soon the shell is able to head off on a mission to find the rest of his missing family. 

Strange and surreal, but also beautifully observed and bittersweetly heartbreaking, Dean Fleischer Camp’s film is a one-of-a-kind treasure, the sort of movie that can bring a smile to your lips at the same time as it’s wringing tears out of your eyes. (90 minutes) 

The Flash (2023 film)

Alternate universe superhero adventure packed with surprises for fans

Year: 2023

Certificate: 12

If you like blockbuster spectacle and big ideas, then this high-stakes, multiple-universe DC superhero extravaganza could fit the bill. Ezra Miller plays the super-speedy Flash, a hero who can run so fast that he can actually travel back in time – which he does, in an effort to reverse the childhood murder of his mother. That effort creates all kinds of potentially world-ending problems, but has the welcome side effect of giving Michael Keaton a chance to play Batman in the movies once again. 

Keaton’s Batman is a very entertaining addition to the film and the most well-known of the multiverse surprises that The Flash has in store, along with more than one version of the speedster himself, a development that gives Miller a lot of acting to do and the opportunity for many fun jokes. There’s a lot else in here that is squarely targeted at fans, but the big action and generally light-hearted tone should satisfy the casual blockbuster lover. (144 minutes) 

Leave The World Behind

Julia Roberts stars in a thriller about a looming apocalypse

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Netflix

In order to get out of the city for a few days, Amanda and Clay (Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke) take their two kids off on a last-minute getaway to a rented holiday home on Long Island. The fun is blunted a bit when the home’s owners (Mahershala Ali and Myha’la) turn up, but things turn seriously strange when reports of nationwide blackouts reach them and local animals start behaving very weirdly indeed. 

Taut storytelling by Mr Robot creator Sam Esmail dovetails with memorable performances (watch out for Kevin Bacon too) in a dark and unnerving account of what happens when a modern apocalypse descends and the bricks that support society start to crumble. (141 minutes)

Shirley

Regina King stars in a drama about the US’s first black congresswoman

Year: 2024

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Netflix

In 1968, New York school teacher Shirley Chisholm (Regina King) became the US’s first black congresswoman. That wasn’t enough for her, though, and in 1972 she embarked on a campaign to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for the office of President of the USA. Full of sharp observations about the challenges Shirley faced, but with a neat line in wry humour too, this is an excellent biopic about an often-forgotten figure from US politics. 

King is brilliantly unrecognisable as determined campaigner Shirley, while the great Lance Reddick also features in one of his final roles before his untimely death in March 2023. (117 minutes) 

Dune: Part One

Epic and star-filled adaptation of Frank Herbert’s space story

Year: 2021

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Netflix

Frank Herbert’s Dune novels are a space epic for the generations, telling a complicated story of warring families and religion that unfolds across centuries. Hollywood’s finest have been trying to make it work on screen for years, and David Lynch’s divisive 1984 project, featuring Sting and some of the finest actors of their generation, was the best effort until this.

Director Denis Villeneuve’s film is accessible and human where Lynch’s is eccentric and alien, a blockbuster that wisely divides the initial novel across two movies and, like Lynch’s film, features a seriously impressive cast. Timothée Chalamet stars as Paul Atreides, the potential saviour of embattled desert planet Dune, with Zendaya as a fearsome local warrior and Silo’s Rebecca Ferguson as Paul’s mother – the standout performance of the film. That really only scratches the surface of the cast but, if you’re in the mood for some blockbuster action with an epic feel, they don’t come much better than this. 

Part Two is on the way, although it was only officially ordered when Part One was a box office hit. Which makes the choice of title all the bolder. (155 minutes) 

The Fabelmans

Masterly coming-of-age drama based on the childhood of Steven Spielberg

Year: 2022

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Sky

Watch now on NOW

‘Movies are dreams that you never forget.’ That’s what Mitzi, the artistically frustrated mother of aspiring young filmmaker Sammy, tells him in a masterly coming-of-age drama inspired by the childhood of its director – Steven Spielberg. As befits a movie about filmmaking, The Fabelmans is a technically beautiful piece of work, from the framing of the shots to the detail in the performances, especially that of Michelle Williams – a bravura piece of acting that was crying out for an Oscar and did receive a nomination. It was one of the film’s seven nods at the 2023 ceremony, although it lost out on all of them – that was the year Everything Everywhere All At Once swept the board.

The other part of this film tracks Sammy’s parents as they steadily drift apart while their child’s filmmaking skills grow. The theme that links those two halves is the idea that making art exerts a destructive pull on a family and, ultimately, the two halves come together in the most shattering way. The Fabelmans is an incredibly deliberate piece of old school filmmaking from a master of his craft, and every frame of it shows you that. The sheer visibility of that craft may put some off, but there is absolutely no doubting it. (151 minutes) 

Flora And Son

Dublin-set musical drama from the creator of Once

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Apple TV+

With Once, Sing Street and Begin Again on his CV, director and writer John Carney has amply demonstrated his gift for creating heartfelt, feel-good musical tales from material seemingly better suited to gritty dramas. And with Flora And Son he manages it again. Trying to give her aimless failing son Max (Oren Kinlan) some direction, Dublin single mum Flora (Eve Hewson) rescues a guitar from a skip. When Max rejects her attempts to get him to play, she takes up the instrument herself – with life-changing effect. 

Chockful of fantastic songs co-written by Carney and with great performances from Hewson, Kinlan and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Flora’s online US guitar teacher), this is a perfectly pitched drama that hits some real high notes. (97 minutes) 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry

Jim Broadbent stars as an OAP on a mission

Year: 2023

Certificate: 12

Watch now on NOW

Watch now on Sky

When he receives news that an old friend is dying of cancer in a hospital in Berwick-upon-Tweed, retired pensioner Harold Fry (Jim Broadbent) decides to go and visit her, leaving his home in Devon and setting off without any preparation to walk the length of England to get there. 

A lovely film based on the book by Rachel Joyce, this is a gentle, bittersweet tale of a man driven by some hidden and very personal demons to carry out an unlikely mission. Broadbent is simply magnificent as Harold, mixing watery-eyed determination with battered hopelessness as he finds friendship and hope en route. Penelope Wilton provides excellent support as Harold’s wife, bemused and hurt by his decision to embark on his pilgrimage. (108 minutes) 

Chicken Run: Dawn Of The Nugget

Cracking sequel to Aardman Animation’s hit adventure movie

Year: 2023

Certificate: pg

Watch now on Netflix

A playful spin on Second World War prisoner-of-war movies (not least The Great Escape), 2000’s Chicken Run saw Aardman (the animators behind Wallace & Gromit) craft a loveable tale of a gang of chickens plotting their escape from a poultry farm before the farmers can turn them all into pies. 

Now this very welcome sequel picks up the tale a few years later with the escaped hens now leading an idyllic life on a remote island. But when Molly (voiced by The Last Of Us’s Bella Ramsey), the daughter of Ginger and Rocky (now voiced by Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi), decides to venture back to the mainland, the feathered few find themselves embroiled in a new adventure. The result is as bright-eyed and gleeful as the original, with Jane Horrocks, Imelda Staunton and Miranda Richardson returning alongside new voices courtesy of Romesh Ranganathan, Daniel Mays and Nick Mohammed. (101 minutes) 

Palm Springs

Time-loop comedy set at a wedding, starring Andy Samberg

Year: 2020

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Prime Video

Imagine Groundhog Day but set at a wedding, and with two people stuck in the loop instead of one, and you’ve got the gist of this perfectly formed American comedy. Palm Springs is a blast of sunshine set in the California desert city, with Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti (Fargo) as the bantering pair reliving a day they can’t escape, and steadily falling for each other in the process.

Don’t mistake this for a simple romcom, though. It has strong, well-earned philosophical and bittersweet streaks that ground both the rom and the com and make them hit deeper, while the increasingly surreal nature of the desert setting suits the time loop premise very well. How insanity-inducing must it actually be to relive the same day over and over again, after all? All told, this is a movie that, while it may look a little daft to start with, will hit you harder than you expect by the end. (90 minutes) 

Role Play

Kaley Cuoco and David Oyelowo star in a hitman action comedy

Year: 2024

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Prime Video

When suburban parents Emma and Dave (Kaley Cuoco and David Oyelowo) wangle a night away from their kids in the big city, they decide to indulge in a little role play. Trouble is, Emma already has a secret life – as a globetrotting international assassin – and tonight her undercover identity is about to come home to roost. 

Cuoco is clearly having a ball slipping in and out of disguises as she moves from one action sequence to another, while Oyelowo makes a great befuddled foil as he realises that there’s much more to his mild-mannered missus than meets the eye. Throw in Bill Nighy as one of Emma’s fellow killers and you’ve a top-notch slice of action comedy. (100 minutes)

Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise returns as naval aviator Maverick in a blockbusting sequel

Year: 2022

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Netflix

Watch now on Channel 4

Reboots and sequels fill our cinemas these days, but few are as well executed as this return to the world of aerial derring-do. Tom Cruise is back as naval aviator Maverick, recalled to the Top Gun school to train some pilots for a special assignment. 

It has become the most successful film of Cruise’s career and it’s easy to see why: this is blockbuster film-making at its finest. It really will take your breath away. Even if you saw it on the big screen, this megawatt mix of adrenaline, charm and sheer, white-knuckle stunts – those flying scenes are mind-blowing – is great repeat viewing. Cruise is one of the last true movie stars, and no one does films like this better. (130 minutes)

Read Matthew Bond’s five-star review here.

The Marvels

Fun and funny team-based superhero sequel to Captain Marvel

Year: 2023

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Disney+

The superhero movie Captain Marvel was a big hit in 2019, pulling in more than $1 billion at the box office. Its star Brie Larson returns for this team-based sequel, which gives her two sidekicks first introduced in the Marvel TV universe – Monica Rambeau from WandaVision and Kamala Khan from Ms Marvel, both of whom can do explosive things with light and energy. 

The movie suffers from the effort of clicking together all their storylines so they can work as a team, but their chemistry when they do is a delight. It gives the film a fun and funny feel that plenty of the later Marvel movies have aimed for but few have achieved, and its running time at well under two hours is refreshingly restrained. Don’t expect all of it to make sense, but it’s probably best not to worry too much about all that. Just sit back and enjoy the brisk popcorn fun of it all. (105 mins)

Wonka

Spectacular musical origin story for Roald Dahl’s chocolatier

Year: 2023

Certificate: pg

The first thing you should know about this Willy Wonka origin story is that it’s a musical, because it’s not obvious from the trailer. The second is that Timothée Chalamet proves himself a pretty decent song-and-dance man as the quirky chocolatier, a character who, at this early and impoverished stage of his life, is still full of childlike wonder and faith in his fellow man. There are hints of the darkness of the Gene Wilder performance in the 1971 film, but Chalamet’s Wonka is mostly just lovely – clever with it, but mostly lovely.

Surrounding him is an incredible cast of familiar British faces from Matt Lucas, Paterson Joseph and Mathew Baynton as the chocolate cartel Wonka hopes to impress, to Olivia Colman as a shifty innkeeper and Hugh Grant as a hilariously grumpy Oompa Loompa. Overall, this is the kind of old-school Hollywood spectacular that should work its magic on the most cynical of audiences and, even if it doesn’t, the movie’s magical look and the sight of an orange-faced, 18in Hugh Grant are worth the price of admission on their own. Available to rent on Apple, Amazon and Sky. (116 minutes) 

Tetris

The true story behind the groundbreaking game becomes a thrilling movie

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Apple TV+

Differently shaped blocks fall down the screen. The player has to move them, turn them and slot them into place. Each row completed sees the game move faster and faster…

When US entrepreneur Henk Rogers played Tetris in 1988, he risked everything to travel behind the Iron Curtain to Soviet Russia to meet the game’s inventor. But getting into Russia was the easy part – getting out again, with the rights to the game, in the face of opposition from the full might of the KGB was much, much harder. Taron Egerton takes the lead in this brilliantly inventive and funny retelling of a true story, in which losing might just mean it’s Game Over for good. 

This is a great example of taking a subject people think they won’t be interested in, finding a great story behind it and making a movie that lots of people will end up talking about. It’s from the director of Stan & Ollie, the BAFTA-nominated Laurel & Hardy drama with Steve Coogan, and features lots of lively little touches you probably won’t expect – and we haven’t even mentioned the role that Robert Maxwell plays in it all. See if you can recognise the actor playing him. (120 minutes) 

Bottoms

Raucous high-school comedy about a female fight club

Year: 2023

Certificate: 15

Watch now on Prime Video

Fed up with being at the bottom of their school’s pecking order, lonely lesbians PJ and Josie (Shiva Baby’s Rachel Sennott and The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri) accidentally hit on the idea of starting up a female self-defence class to both improve their standing and give them a chance to spend time with some of the school’s hot cheerleaders. Soon, though, they find themselves at the heart of a punchy female revolution that threatens to turn the established teen order on its head once and for all. 

Saucy, silly and crunchingly funny, this is a thoroughly enjoyable grown-up comedy about teenage life that mocks and homages classic movies such as Revenge Of The Nerds and The Breakfast Club in equal measure. (91 minutes)

King Richard

Will Smith plays the dad behind the rise of the Williams sisters

Year: 2021

Certificate: 12

Watch now on Netflix

At the time of release, this movie was rather overshadowed by its star, Will Smith, slapping the comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars for joking about his wife. Smith picked up the Oscar for his performance as Serena and Venus’s dad and coach later that night, one of six awards the movie was up for – and an indicator of why it’s worth seeing. 

The rise of the Williams sisters (played here by Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton) from LA’s working-class Compton neighbourhood to global tennis domination is an incredible against-the-odds tale, and this drama really brings home what it took to get there: much more than just raw talent. (145 minutes)