ben-affleck

Ben finds his way back to the big time: James King's week in movies

Our film expert recommends what to enjoy on the small screen this weekend

James King

This week it’s all about familiar stories with new twists. Old favourite Scooby-Doo returns with a modern spin, Ben Affleck recycles a classic plot with added grit and Stephen King’s iconic tale from the eighties is back for an extra chapter. Enjoy!

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Best new family film on rent

SCOOB!

It might be fifty years since his first appearance on TV but the Great Dane with a taste for junk food is still going strong. Yes, after countless cartoons and spin-offs, Scooby Doo gets yet another reboot with this zingy animation, chronicling yet another adventure for Shaggy, Daphne, Fred and Velma plus their ever-hungry four-legged friend. You might think that after all this time there’s not a lot the gang can do which we haven’t seen before but SCOOB! still manages to feel fresh. Here’s a film that nods to the past whilst being firmly rooted in the present - an ideal blend for parents and kids alike. 

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SCOOB! begins by telling the story of how the pals all met (complete with a classic Scooby ‘haunted house’ storyline) before moving into modern times and a typically zany plot featuring another iconic Hanna Barbera character, Dick Dastardly, and his attempts to dognap our canine hero. Why? Because it turns out Scooby’s DNA is pretty special and Dastardly’s not averse to a bit of genetic engineering. If that all sounds a little crazy then that’s because it is. Like, barking mad. Yet high profile voice talent such as Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried and Mark Wahlberg give SCOOB! some credibility too, creating an irresistible ninety minutes of goofy gags and non-stop energy.

SCOOB! is available to rent digitally now

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WATCH: See the Scooby Gang meet each other in Scoob!

Best new drama on Amazon Prime 

FINDING THE WAY BACK

Ben Affleck’s life and career have had more ups and downs than an Alton Towers rollercoaster but in the low-key drama FINDING THE WAY BACK he proves that, as an actor at least, he’s never been better. Playing alcoholic construction worker Jack, this is Affleck in a rundown world of dingy bars and rusty pick-up trucks - a life where good intentions too often lose out to personal demons. When Jack gets asked to coach his local high school's basketball squad - a team where he was once the star - it’s a chance for this clunky drifter to channel his addiction into a new area: winning. 

RENT THE FILM ON AMAZON PRIME HERE

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In the wake of Netflix’s awesome basketball docu-series The Last Dance there’s arguably more interest in the sport than ever and FINDING THE WAY BACK shows how shooting hoops can be a lifeline not just for Jack but for all the guys on the team, each looking for an escape.

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Whilst that kind of film is hardly new - think Coach Carter, A League of Their Own and The Mighty Ducks - Affleck’s intriguing performance keeps things on just the right side of predictable. As Jack reaches for another beer in the fridge or pours gin into a coffee mug it’s impossible not to see similarities to the star’s own well-publicised battles, making this a unforgettably raw - but ultimately rewarding - experience. 

FINDING THE WAY BACK is available to rent digitally now

Best new horror on NOW TV 

IT: CHAPTER TWO

Following the success of Chapter One back in 2017, the second half of Stephen King’s epic eighties saga returns to tie up loose ends and - more importantly - scare the living daylights out of us. Its trick? Pennywise the clown, so seductively played by Bill Skarsgård. It’s snarling Pennywise who tormented a gang of childhood friends in the first film and twenty-seven years later he’s back in sleepy New England to continue his games now that they’ve all grown up. 

WATCH IT: CHAPTER TWO ON NOW TV HERE

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At nearly three hours long, IT: CHAPTER TWO is a big investment of your time (and means very little if you haven’t seen the first outing). Stick with it though and it achieves that thing that all great horror aims for: however weird and wonderful the set-up, it taps into very real fears and issues. Typically strong performances from James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader certainly help with that, as adults facing up to the horrors of their past. But it’s slimy Skarsgård who steals the show for a second time. As shapeshifting Pennywise he feeds on the fear of children; so believable that you’ll find yourself equally terrified. Sweet dreams!

IT: CHAPTER TWO is new to Sky Cinema and Now TV

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