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History with Hamilton: James King's Week in Films

Out film expert recommends what watch from the comfort of your front room

James King

Singalong blockbusters abound this week with another Disney must-see, Frozen 2, hitting Sky Cinema and the most acclaimed stage musical of recent years available to watch on the small screen. Time to sit on the sofa, stretch your vocal chords and disturb the neighbours! 

New to Disney+ 

Hamilton 

Originally planned for a cinema release next year, this recording of a 2016 Broadway performance of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical is a tonic for the times. As Miranda explains in a specially filmed intro, "because we can’t perform Hamilton live right now, the fact that we're able to provide this extraordinary film instead felt like a real privilege." The privilege is all ours, Lin-Manuel. Even on the small-screen, HAMILTON remains the most exhilarating American history lesson ever. 

READ: Hamilton is coming to Disney+ - but what is it actually about?

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WATCH: Don't throw away your shot! Check out the Hamilton trailer here

Alexander Hamilton -' the Founding Father without a father' - was an eighteenth-century US statesman whose ideas helped create the modern country we know but this show based on his life is no preachy lecture. As a triumph of music, lyrics and staging, it’s an important reminder of the past, its diverse casting and hip-hop tinged tunes telling the story of America then, viewed through the lens of America now. And until we can all get back to theatres and enjoy the original stage show, this exquisitely shot film is the perfect substitute. Breathtaking. 

HAMILTON is available exclusively on Disney+

GET DISNEY+ HERE

New to NOW TV

Frozen II 

Finally got ‘Let It Go’ out of your head? Sorry, but with FROZEN II now out to watch at home you’ll have plenty of other earworms to contend with for a while. This much-anticipated sequel to Disney’s record-breaker from 2013 is set three years after the events of the first film, with royal sisters Elsa and Anna - plus iceman Kristoff, loveable reindeer Sven and scene-stealing snowman Olaf - embarking on a journey beyond their kingdom of Arendelle to discover the origin of Elsa's magical powers. And the good news is... it’s another family treat. 

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WATCH: Go into the unknown and watch the Frozen II trailer here

Okay, such a hyped follow-up was never going to feel quite as fresh as the original (and the plot of FROZEN II certainly meanders a little) but this is still frequently dazzling. Perhaps it’s because there’s a slight eeriness to the proceedings this time, the story superbly tapping into the moody folklore of the Scandinavian wilderness, with stunning animation to accompany it. It’s never too dark though, especially with Josh Gad’s Olaf always on hand to lighten the mood when needed. And then there’s music. Farewell ‘Let It Go’, hello ‘Into the Unknown’, another awesome ballad belted out brilliantly by Idina Menzel and the frosting on the cake of this seriously slick sequel.

FROZEN II [U] is available on Sky Cinema and via a Sky Cinema Pass on NOW TV

New to Sky Cinema

The Goldfinch 

On paper, THE GOLDFINCH should have been an Oscar contender. Based on an acclaimed novel? Yes. Full of big names? Absolutely. Directed by a critical favourite? Of course (in this case, John Crowley, who’d previously made the award-winning romantic drama Brooklyn). But if things always went exactly to plan then being a movie fan would be a lot less interesting and when THE GOLDFINCH came out at cinemas last autumn reviews were hostile and audiences few and far between. Could it really be that bad?

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Nicole Kidman stars in the novel adaptation 

With the movie now hitting Sky Cinema it’s time for a reassessment. And whilst THE GOLDFINCH is certainly no classic, there’s still enough to keep you gripped. The story of a young boy (Ansel Elgort) who secretly steals a priceless painting during an explosion at an art gallery, here’s an enjoyably rambling story that takes in New York, Las Vegas and Amsterdam and sprawls over a number of years, like a modern-day Charles Dickens epic. Certainly, the 800-page novel would have worked better as a mini-series than a movie but subtle supporting turns from the likes of Nicole Kidman and Jeffrey Wright keep this tale of secrets, sadness and artistic obsession intriguing enough to warrant a second chance. 

THE GOLDFINCH [15] is available on Sky Cinema now

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The story follows Theo, who steals a priceless painting at a young age

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