Our streaming tips for arts, film and TV over the coming week

Arts editor Des O'Driscoll gives you the rundown on the best of the streaming services coming up over the next week.
Our streaming tips for arts, film and TV over the coming week

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

FILM & TV

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Amazon Prime Video, from Friday

You’d imagine decent comedies will do well at the moment, and this carries the added bonus of being set in a covid-free future. Technology has advanced to include hologram phones and 3D food printers, and humans coming to the end of their days can even choose to be “uploaded” into a virtual afterlife.

The central character here, a young app developer, takes that option after being involved in an accident, unleashing all sorts of amusing scenarios. It’s all the creation of Greg Daniels, who comes with a good pedigree from his work on The US Office, and Parks and Recreation.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 

Disney+, Monday

May 4 is ‘Star Wars Day’, an ideal time for Disney to drop Episode 9 of the saga, despite the mixed reaction the film got after its cinema release last year. Directed by JJ Abrams, It was the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and takes in the Resistance’s final stand against Kylo Ren and co.

Becoming

Netflix, Wednesday

After the incredible success of the memoir in 2018, Barack Obama famously introduced himself as “Michelle Obama’s husband”. The former US president will probably continue to play second fiddle to his missus over the next few months following the release of this officially-sanctioned documentary. Most of it follows Michelle Obama on her 34-city tour to promote her autobiography and, as ever, she cuts an impressive figure. In advance of the release of the film, she released a statement re-emphasising the value of community during these tough times, commenting: “Empathy is our lifeline here. It’s what will get us to the other side.”

Calm With Horses

Video on Demand, now

The dark and violent Irish crime tale has just been released through video on demand services, and it offers another showcase for the considerable talents of Barry Keoghan and Niamh Algar. It also stars English actor Cosmo Jarvis, who plays the enforcer for a nasty gang led by Keoghan’s character.

Available now through services such as Sky Store, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play.

1917

Video on demand, now

This WWI drama from last year really is best seen on a big screen with a modern cinema’s sound-system, but there’s more than enough in the film to make it worth a watch on your home TV. A soldier is on a mission across the trenches to deliver orders that would stop his brother marching to near-certain death.

Sam Mendes’ won lots of praise for making the entire film look like it was done in one shot. That technique was no mere gimmick – it also keeps up the tension levels. Bonus points for spotting a brief appearance from Chris Walley from The Young Offenders.

MUSIC

If your tastes in music go beyond commercial stars, today (Friday) would be a good day to stock up on new sounds. The Bandcamp website, through which many independent artists release their music, is having the second of its royalty-free days, which means all money spent on the site goes directly to the artists.

Many artists also sell merchandise through the site, so if you need a new t-shirt or have always wanted a set of Mick Flannery playing cards, now is your chance. The music community, shorn of opportunities to generate income through gigs, has largely welcomed the initiative. Of course, it has also led to increased calls for Spotify to increase royalty rates.

bandcamp.com

Cormac McCarthy

Triskel Facebook, 8pm

The latest Piece by Piece concert from the Triskel in Cork and Improvised Music Company marks International Jazz Day with Cormac McCarthy, doing his trademark blending of jazz, trad and classical.

Begins at 8pm, and is also available through Improvised Music Company’s channel on YouTube

THEATRE

The final instalment of the Dear Ireland series run by the Abbey Theatre takes place tonight (Friday), with another batch of actors delivering pre-recorded monologues from their places of isolation.

The 50 short works feature some of the top practitioners in the country though, not surprisingly given the logistical and creative challenges involved, you’ll probably find the appeal varies. There’s also a ‘capturing the moment’ aspect of the project which makes for good art, but not everybody will want to view material that’s so relatable right now. Do you want truth or escapism?

Among the highlights over the past few days have been Manchán Magan’s Poll Mór/Big Hole, about the various Irish words for different types of holes; and the Shane O’Reilly-scripted piece which had Amanda Coogan delivering her monologue in sign-language through a window (both come from families with deaf parents).

Stars such as Brendan Gleeson and Denise Gough also feature, and with so many of pieces necessarily filmed in small rooms and conveying the claustrophobia and isolation of some people’s situations, it literally felt like a breath of fresh air to get a glimpse of the glorious landscape of West Kerry, via the Cork duo of Gina Moxley and Timmy Creed. Wish we were there, indeed.

Available via on YouTube

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