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Downloads and streaming: Films and series to watch at home

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The pick of home viewing for the week ahead.

The Columnist (Cert 15, 84 mins)

Available from March 15 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services)

The Columnist: Katja Herbers as Femke Boot. Picture: PA Photo/Vertigo Releasing.
The Columnist: Katja Herbers as Femke Boot. Picture: PA Photo/Vertigo Releasing.

Femke Boot (Katja Herbers) is a mild-mannered Dutch newspaper columnist, who draws on personal experience for her work.

One opinion piece about a neighbour, who blithely flouts political correctness by performing in blackface, elicits a torrent of abuse on social media channels.

She attempts to quell the uproar by taking part in a televised debate about free speech and pleads: “Why can’t we have different opinions and be nice about it?”

Soon after, Femke sparks an unlikely romance with her opponent on the TV show: horror novelist Steven Dood (Bram van der Kelen).

He moves into her home with teenage daughter Anna (Claire Porro), who is a chip off the old block.

The online vitriol reaches fever pitch and Femke snaps, lashing out at one of the “army of losers with a laptop”.

Blood flows freely as Femke systematically hunts down the trolls and hacks a finger from each victim as a grisly memento.

Directed by Ivo van Aart with tongue wedged firmly in cheek, The Columnist is a ghoulish black comedy, which handcuffs some impressively grisly make-up effects to a familiar cautionary tale about the dark side of online interactions.

Scriptwriter Daan Windhorst nudges his protagonist to the brink of madness then, sadly, pulls back to engineer an overly neat resolution that leaves too many important questions unanswered.

Herbers is delightfully unhinged in the lead role and she shares pleasing screen chemistry with van der Kelen, who gradually reveals the lovable, caring man behind the macabre goth facade used to promote his books.

A subplot involving Porro’s politicised daughter peters out at the very moment it should reach a thrilling and defiant crescendo.

The Good Doctor – Season 4

Starts streaming from March 16 exclusively on NOW TV

Filming of the fourth series of the hit medical drama developed by David Shore was affected by the Covid pandemic.

Thankfully, The Good Doctor returns to Sky Witness this week and streams exclusively on NOW TV, welcoming back Freddie Highmore in his Golden Globe-nominated role as savant surgeon Shaun Murphy.

The pandemic forces Shaun to spend time apart from his sweetheart Lea (Page Spara) because he does not want to expose her to the virus.

Surgical resident Dr Claire Browne (Antonia Thomas) grows frustrated by the impact of Covid, but not as much as Dr Audrey Lim (Christina Chang), who is haunted by losses she witnesses at San Jose St Bonaventure Hospital.

The One

Streaming from March 12 exclusively on Netflix

The search for true love unites the human race across all boundaries.

This eight-part Netflix psychological drama based on the novel by John Marrs imagines a near future in which a simple DNA match can reveal the identity of the one person on Earth you are genetically predisposed to fall in love with.

Rebecca (Hannah Ware) is the ambitious chief executive of a company co-founded with best friend James (Dimitri).

Their DNA match guarantees sparks of desire but some of the people who use the service quickly discover that even perfect soulmates can conceal deadly secrets from each other.

Love In The Time Of Corona

Streaming from March 12 exclusively on Disney+

Filmed during the Covid pandemic in the actors’ homes, this four-part romantic drama comedy weaves together separate stories of love and loss during lockdown.

These vignettes include workaholic James (Leslie Odom Jr) and his wife Sadie (Nicolette Robinson), who are granted precious time together under the same roof.

Meanwhile, roommates Elle (Rainey Qualley) and Oscar (Tommy Dorfman) face the rigours of dating over Zoom and recently separated Paul (Gil Bellows) and Sarah (Rya Kihlstedt) are trapped at home with their freshman college daughter.

Yes Day (Cert PG, 89 mins)

Streaming from March 12 exclusively on Netflix

Yes Day. Picture: PA Photo/Netflix/Matt Kennedy.
Yes Day. Picture: PA Photo/Netflix/Matt Kennedy.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s 2009 children’s book Yes Day! provides the inspiration for director Miguel Arteta’s family-oriented comedy, which puts three children in charge of their parents’ fortunes.

Hard-working mother Allison Torres (Jennifer Garner) and husband Carlos (Edgar Ramirez) are used to saying no to their three little angels.

When their children christen them “fun-killers”, Allison and Carlos naively pledge to spend 24 hours saying yes to every fanciful demand and with the kids in charge, the family embarks on a madcap jaunt.

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