Wondering what to watch? A weekend of cinematic comfort food lies ahead, as this week’s streaming highlights feature all ages fun across various platforms. Firstly, BBC iPlayer has added Toy Story 2 ahead of next week’s theatrical release of Pixar’s new feature film Lightyear.
At the same time, Netflix adds Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo, the director's paean to the foundations of the cinematic medium as well as a fun little adventure story, and Prime Video adds Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first of a new trilogy of films starring Tom Holland as everyone’s favourite wall-crawler and friendly neighbourhood superhero.
Read more: Everything new on Sky and NOW in June
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Toy Story 2 (1992) - BBC iPlayer - Pick of the week
Ahead of the upcoming release of Pixar’s Lightyear, make sure to revisit the peak of the franchise that made the animation studio’s name, one that expands on the existential crises of one boy’s collection of toys. For more insight on the series, Disney+ is also releasing Beyond Infinity: Buzz and the Journey to Lightyear on 10 June, a documentary special exploring the roots of Buzz Lightyear.
Once again, Woody (Tom Hanks) has found himself feeling obsolete and uninteresting in the eyes of his owner Andy, a feeling worsened by his being lost during the family moving house. Picked up by the strange toy collector Al, Woody finds some semblance of stardom to rival that of his flashy friend and rival Buzz Lightyear, delving into a history of the series on which his line of toys was based.
At the same time, his friends go on a journey to rescue him and bring him home. Probably the most striking of the now quadrilogy, and the beginnings of the series’ leaning into wringing tears from its audience with a montage detailing the life of the toy Jesse used to have with her former owner, before she grew up.
It’s also arguably the best at finding the balance between that and the wild adventure caper featuring little plastic people, a children’s film that leaves plenty of entertainment for adults too, without patronising either audience.
Also on iPlayer: The Accountant, Sully
Hugo (2011) - Netflix
Detractors of Martin Scorsese’s work will often immediately go for the following accusation: that the director only makes gangster movies.
Most people know that this is decidedly untrue, and you don’t have to go back far at all to realise this, considering films like the thorny religious historical epic Silence and his multiple documentaries.
Read more: Everything new on Netflix in June
Hugo is another gleaming example of Scorsese’s willingness to try new things — in this case, filming with 3D — and is an excitable children’s adventure film steeped in the director’s love for the medium of cinema itself, one where George Melies is a key dramatic figure (played by Ben Kingsley, no less).
Living in the walls of a train station in 1930s Paris, the orphaned Hugo works to maintain the station’s clocks — while at the same time working on an automaton left to him by his father, eventually setting out to uncover the mystery behind it.
In an interesting contradiction Scorsese’s film perhaps most enamoured with modern tech (aside from the de-aging of The Irishman), is also one that is most clearly reverent to the history of cinema, paying loving homage to an era of silent film.
Also on Netflix: Jennifer Lopez: Halftime (2022), Hustle (2022)
Spider-Man: Homecoming - Prime Video
The reintroduction of Spider-Man into the so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe in the film Captain America: Civil War, was made to feel like it was seismic. The subtitle 'Homecoming' suggesting that the character was finally coming back to where he belonged: to the Disney-owned Marvel Studios.
Read more: Everything new on Prime Video in June
Wisely, the film itself is less grandiose than that, wanting to zero in on the smaller scale problems of being Peter Parker. The better parts of director Jon Watt’s take on Spidey are the friendly neighbourhood moments, as Tom Holland’s more naive, boyish take on the character excitedly bounces around his area trying to help as best he can.
Though the performances of its teen romance are cute, it still can’t help but feel secondary against the romantic, classical feeling and intoxicating cinematic style of Raimi’s films, Watts’s homages to stories like “If This Be My Destiny” lacking all the colour and exciting layout of Steve Ditko’s original artwork.
It’s ultimately just okay, but this is to be expected of an MCU film at this point: simply a pretty alright way to spend a lazy afternoon.
Also on Prime: My Fake Boyfriend (2022), The Witches (2020)
Watch: The cast of Spider-Man: No Way Home share the secrets of the film