New to streaming and Blu-ray: Cate Blanchett in Tar and TV spin-off Dreamland

Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tar. Picture by PA Photo/Focus Features LLC/Florian Hoffmeister
Damon Smith

TAR (Cert 15, 158 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, available now via Premium Video On Demand rental, available from April 3 on Amazon/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from April 17 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99, Drama/Romance)
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Nina Hoss, Mark Strong, Allan Corduner, Sylvia Flote, Mila Bogojevic.

LYDIA Tar (Cate Blanchett) is principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic and one of only 15 people to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony competitively.

She is poised to begin rehearsals of Mahler's Symphony No 5 with the players, led by her wife Sharon (Nina Hoss), and intends to replace assistant conductor Sebastian Brix (Allan Corduner) with fresh blood.

When disturbing accusations surface about the maestro and a troubled graduate of her academy (Sylvia Flote), every aspect of her life comes under intense scrutiny.

"God watches all of us," Lydia warns a little girl, who is bullying Sharon's six-year-old adopted daughter (Mila Bogojevic).

When His gaze falls on Lydia, she will be harshly judged.

Tar is a visually arresting study of creative genius in flux.

Perception and reality clash like angry cymbals throughout writer-director Todd Field's masterful and discordant symphony to shifting power dynamics, silent abuses of privilege and cancel culture.

Every scene is exquisitely calibrated to set nerves on edge: a woman's anguished screams piercing the air during a morning run through Lietzensee Park in Berlin, the ticking of a metronome that mysteriously comes to life in a study cupboard, the hum of a fridge insisting to be opened.

Blanchett is ferocious, commanding the same unwavering attention as her morally flawed character, who breathes an air of self-importance but is just as covetous and hypocritical as anyone else on screen.

Field and cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister duet on elegantly framed vignettes that ebb and flow like musical movements, reaching unexpected yet thrilling crescendos when we least expect them.

Rating: 4/5

Dreamland: Gabby Best as Clare, Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Leila, Lily Allen as Mel and Freema Agyeman as Trish. Picture by PA Photo/Sky UK Limited/Natalie Seery

DREAMLAND (6 episodes, starts streaming from April 6 exclusively on Now, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

EXPANDED from the 2018 Bafta-winning short film penned by Sharon Horgan, Dreamland is a six-part comedy drama celebrating the intricacies of female relationships set in the sun-kissed English seaside town of Margate.

Broadcast on Sky Atlantic and streaming exclusively on Now, Dreamland prepares for the impending arrival of the third child of Trish (Agyeman) and her partner Spence (Kiell Smith-Bynoe).

They have suffered three miscarriages in two years and are praying for a baby girl to add to their brood, supported by Trish's two sisters Clare (Gabby Best) and Leila (Aimee-Ffion Edwards), her mother Cheryl (Frances Barber) and no-nonsense grandmother (Sheila Reid).

The black sheep of the family, fourth sister Mel (Lily Allen), arrives home unexpectedly and her return to the fold threatens to destabilise the entire clan.