Now the days are starting to get longer, we’re out of the real depths of winter. But that doesn’t mean the weather’s any better.
Instead of braving it outside, why not hunker down with some quality TV? Sky has plenty to keep you entertained, including a bunch of new film premieres (covering comedy, thriller and crime), sports and some serene portrait painting. Check it out.
Available 1st February
Romantic ten comedy based on the novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Simon Spier (Nick Robinson, not the BBC Radio 4 presenter of the same name) is a closeted gay high schooler living in a suburb of Atlanta. Simon’s life is thrown into turmoil when a blackmailer threatens to out him to the whole school. Amazingly, this is the first major Hollywood studio film to centre on a gay teenage romance. Critics praised it as tender, sweet and affecting and compared it to the films of John Hughes. High praise.
Available 2nd February
When a mother’s late father’s home is invaded by burglars, she’ll stop at nothing to protect her children. Hence the film’s tagline: “Payback is a mother”. Gabrielle Union plays Shaun Russell, who’s come home to sort out her late father’s affairs. Unbeknownst to her, four criminals are already hiding in the house, and take her two children hostage. And it’s up to her to free them. Also stars Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Ajiona Alexus and Levi Meaden.
Available 8th February
An all-star cast of Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen make this comedy about a book club a great page turner. As part of their monthly book club, the four friends read Fifty Shades of Grey, and subsequently begin to reevaluate their personal relationships. The supporting cast is pretty impressive too, including Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson, Richard Dreyfuss and Alicia Silverstone.
Manchester City vs Chelsea
Available 10th February
Chelsea travel to the Etihad to take on reigning champions Manchester City. There are only a few points between these two teams, and at this point in the season, every game is crucial. Kick off is at 4pm.
The Walking Dead series 9b
Available 11th February
Like a lot of series, The Walking Dead splits its seasons into two halves. The second half of series nine starts on 11th February (a day after it airs in the US), but you can see the opening minutes right here. As you can see, it’s not all roses. Everyone is scrambling to survive the chaos that was the first half’s finale, with Jesus’ body still lying lifeless on the floor. Daryl, Michonne, Aaron, Eugene and Magna all manage to get out of the shadowy area they found themselves in, leaving Jesus behind, but there’s a surprise in store: the Whisperers manage to unlock the gate and come for them. It’s going to be a bracing eight episodes…
Portrait Artist of the Year series 5
Available 12th February
Frank Skinner may have gone, but new co-host Stephen Mangan adds more charm and whimsy to this most charming and whimsical of series. Along with co-host Dame Joan Bakewell, and judges Kate Bryan, Kathleen Soriano and Tai Shan Schierenberg, we’ll see a new crop of artists painting portraits of famous faces who have agreed to sit for the show. In a tumultuous world, this show provides some much-needed calm.
Life of the Party
Available 15th February
Another comedy premiere for Sky, this one stars Melissa McCarthy as a recently divorced mother who returns to college in order to complete her degree. But in the process, she ends up bonding with her daughter’s friends. McCarthy also takes writing duties on the film, alongside Ben Falcone – the two previously collaborated on Tammy (2014) and The Boss (2016).
Available 22nd February
After numerous outings for Brad Pitt and co, it’s finally the girls’ turn. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway star in this heist caper about a robbery of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy suffered from style over substance, and by the end felt like an excuse for a boys’ outing rather than a film that really earned its place in the cinema, so this is a refreshing turn for the series. Also stars Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and Awkwafina.