New to stream or buy on DVD/Blu-ray: The Last Shift, The Senator, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, The Flight Attendant and Country Comfort
FILM OF THE WEEK
THE LAST SHIFT (Cert 15, 91 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Drama, available from March 22 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services)
Starring: Richard Jenkins, Shane Paul McGhie, Ed O'Neill, Da'Vine Joy Randolph.
AFTER 38 years of dedicated service, Stanley (Richard Jenkins) prepares to retire from the overnight shift at Oscar's Chicken & Fish drive-thru in Albion, Michigan. He has saved up money to move back home and take care of his mother, who has dementia.
Before Stanley bids farewell to the job, branch manager Shazz (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), childhood friend Dale (Ed O'Neill) and a trickle of customers, the veteran must train his replacement: a young father called Jevon (Shane Paul McGhie) on probation for defacing city monuments and resisting arrest.
The newcomer treats the work at Oscar's with disdain and doesn't share Stanley's devotion to warm customer service. Experience and youth collide, creating friction in the kitchen, which reminds Stanley of one of his mother's sayings: "Some people turn up their sleeves and some people don't turn up at all."
The Last Shift is a heartfelt drama, which sets up the two central characters as culturally divided opponents destined to learn valuable life lessons in each other's company.
Documentary filmmaker Andrew Cohn, making his narrative feature debut, doesn't stray too far from a well-trodden path of self-realisation, flecking gently paced scenes with earthy humour, which invite us to laugh at Stanley and his idiosyncrasies almost as much as we should laugh with him.
Jenkins imbues his graveyard shift stalwart with genuine warmth, gelling pleasingly with McGhie's rebel, who mocks Stanley's uncanny talent for predicting the dipping sauce a customer will want with their order.
Perhaps the old timer is right when he proudly proclaims this is where the magic happens.
THE SENATOR (Cert 12, 102 mins, streaming from March 19 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, Drama/Thriller/Romance)
Starring: Jason Clarke, Ed Helms, Olivia Thirlby, Jim Gaffigan, Bruce Dern, Kate Mara.
ON JULY 18 1969, as Commander Neil Armstrong and the crew of Apollo 11 approach the moon, Senator Teddy Kennedy (Jason Clarke) – last surviving son of Joseph P Kennedy Sr (Bruce Dern) – travels to Chappaquiddick Island with his entourage.
He takes part in a sailboat race with cousin Joe Gargan (Ed Helms) and Paul F Markham (Jim Gaffigan), the US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, before unwinding at a party.
Teddy leaves in a drunken state behind the wheel of a car with Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara), who worked on brother Bobby's presidential campaign. Their speeding vehicle crashes off a bridge and Mary Jo drowns.
Joe and Paul urge Teddy to report the accident. Instead, Teddy takes the one-word advice of his father – "alibi" – setting in motion a devastating chain of events that could forever tarnish the legacy of a political dynasty.
Anchored by Clarke's multi-layered performance as a political beast backed into a corner, The Senator is a timely drama about the grubbiness of American politics and the intoxicating allure of power.
Billed as the untold true story, director John Curran's fascinating if slow-paced wade through the swamps of collusion and conspiracy lacks a strong narrative thrust, even as scriptwriters Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan seemingly pick holes in Teddy's version of events.
Where truth ends and artistic licence begins is open to feverish debate but as a study of ambition and compromised integrity, Curran's handsomely attired picture maintains a sense of polite decorum even when characters on screen lose their composure.
SERIES / BOX SETS
THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER (6 episodes, starts streaming from March 19 exclusively on Disney+, Action/Fantasy/Adventure)
THE dust has barely settled on the intriguing final episode of WandaVision, which kickstarted phase four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a new mystery unfolds in a six-part fantasy adventure featuring characters who joined forces in the final moments of Avengers: Endgame.
Sokovian colonel Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), who wreaked havoc in Captain America: Civil War, returns with a vengeance, endangering the human race.
Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) are entrusted with thwarting Zemo's Machiavellian scheme.
The fight for freedom rallies old faces to the cause including former SHIELD agent Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) alongside Captain America's fiercely patriotic successor John F Walker (Wyatt Russell).
THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT (8 episodes, starts streaming from March 19 exclusively on NOW TV, Comedy/Drama/Romance)
AWARD-winning Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco encounters unexpected turbulence in an eight-part dark comedy based on Chris Bohjalian's best-selling 2018 novel, which takes to the air on Sky One this week and streams exclusively on NOW TV.
Hard-drinking flight attendant Cassie Bowden (Cuoco) often mixes business and pleasure by sleeping with passengers including Alex Sokolov (Michiel Huisman), who flirts with her on a flight to Bangkok.
The strangers party in Thailand's capital and when Cassie wakes the next morning with a hangover, she is horrified to find Alex in bed next to her with his throat slit.
Unable to piece together the events of the night before, Cassie panics and cleans up the crime scene to avoid implicating herself.
She flies back to New York with the rest of the cabin crew where two tenacious FBI agents, Hammond (Merle Dandridge) and White (Nolan Gerard Funk), are waiting to question her.
Their interrogation sparks fragmented memories and Cassie slowly pieces together Alex's bloodthirsty demise.
COUNTRY COMFORT (10 episodes, streaming from March 19 exclusively on Netflix, Comedy/Drama/Romance/Musical)
AMERICAN Idol alumnus Katharine McPhee, who originated the title role in the West End staging of hit musical Waitress, plays an aspiring singer in a 10-part Netflix comedy created by Caryn Lucas.
Bailey (McPhee) dreams of stardom in country music but Lady Luck delivers her instead to the home of handsome cowboy Beau (Eddie Cibrian) and his five children.
The brothers and sisters lost their mother two years ago and have exhausted nine nannies so far.
Without any experience or relevant qualifications, Bailey is press-ganged into becoming carer number 10.
The youngsters respond positively to Bailey's boundless optimism and Southern charm.
The grief-stricken family also rediscovers music as a way of healing and Beau and his brood help Bailey rediscover what she loves.