Got Sky Q but no 4K telly to plug your box into? Have you any idea how many pixels you’re missing out on?
Ultra HD comes as standard with your Sky Q multiroom subscription and while it doesn’t extend to everything available, the catalogue is steadily growing all the time. Here’s Stuff’s pick of Sky’s 4K menu...
Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men
If the Wu-Tang Clan’s live shows are anything to go by, just getting all of them in one room is a significant achievement in itself – but there’s a lot more to Of Mics and Men than just a nostalgic get-together.
With archive footage of the group’s raucous early shows, a visit to Method Man’s former workplace on Liberty Island, and talking heads from Jim Jarmusch, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and each surviving member and their entourage, this four-part documentary examines how the punk ethos that made the Clan such a formidable force in the early ‘90s gradually weakened under the strain of their individual egos. If anything, it’s amazing they managed to squeeze it all into four hours.
Gangs of London
Eastenders meets The Raid. That’s how we imagine Gareth Evans pitched this more-than-a-little-bit-ludicrous nine-parter to the big cheeses at Sky. Of course, comparisons to the latter should come as no surprise – Evans is the man behind that adrenaline-pumping bulletstorm too – but Albert Square has never seen a fight as brutal as anything in Gangs of London.
It’s a bit ‘Guy Ritchie by Waitrose’ at times, and it’s needlessly complicated at others, but when things kick off there’s not a hint of mercy. Bones are split, skulls are cracked and blood is spilled. A lot of it. Could’ve put a bit more effort into the name though.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
At a whopping 161 minutes long, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tends to elicit one of two reactions: unadulterated Tarantino worship or extreme boredom. As usual, a more considered response probably resides somewhere in the middle.
Yes, there are looooong scenes of seemingly inconsequential dialogue that feel needlessly indulgent, QT’s weird obsession with women’s feet is more in-your-face than ever, and you’ll need a strong constitution to stomach the violence when it comes, but when have any of these things put people off his films before?
If Tom Hanks can fight off COVID-19, do you think a bunch of Somali pirates are going to cause him any problems? To answer that would obviously spoil Captain Phillips, but when you get a film named after you it’s a good sign you’re going to be the hero – despite what the crew might say about you afterwards.
Directed by Paul Greengrass – he’s the geezer that made the good Bourne films – it’s no surprise that Captain Phillips is a genuinely nail-biting account of the hijacking of a US container ship in 2009, but it also manages to avoid the ‘America, eff yeah!’ vibe that so many of Hollywood’s tales of heroism often fall into.
The Trip to Greece
It’s been nearly 10 years since Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon first toured the Lake District in a Chelsea tractor, eating in fancy restaurants, doing impressions and trying to have the last word. Surely the format can’t still work for a fourth series?
This time the duo are retracing the steps of Odysseus, which means they start in Turkey, where Coogan sets the tone with a Partridge-style ‘A-ha!’ from within a Trojan horse. They spend the rest of this very British comedy odyssey comparing Greek relics to Legoland, espousing the advances in modern dentistry as Don Corleone, and considering a cockney Henry VIII.
You’d think the appeal would’ve worn off by now, but with its breathtaking scenery and the pair's often quite revealing banter, there remains something quite compelling about eavesdropping on their working holidays. Series 3, The Trip to Spain, is also now available in Ultra HD.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut
If you’ve not seen Blade Runner it can be difficult to know which of its many versions to watch. Do you go for the original theatrical release with the voiceover? The so-called director’s cut from 1982? If you want the maximum number of pixels, though, 2007’s Final Cut is your only option.
It’s also closer to director Ridley Scott’s original vision, telling the story of downtrodden cop Rick Deckard’s hunt for a group of killer humanoid robots on the rain-soaked, neon-lit streets of dystopian LA. Widely considered as one of the best movies ever made (no matter which version you watch) Blade Runner’s grimey take on the future changed sci-fi forever.
Imagine writing a sitcom about an interplanetary cruise that goes wrong and discovering that, according to experts from NASA, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, one of the best things for protecting a spaceship against galactic radiation is human plops. With gags like that being dropped into your lap, who needs to write any others?
Fortunately, series creator Armando Iannucci isn’t that lazy, so Avenue 5 is full of the typically inventive dialogue, memorable characters and couldn’t-make-it-up scrapes familiar from his previous work on The Thick of It and Veep. The first episode isn’t the strongest but once it gets into its stride Avenue 5 is much more than just Red Dwarf for the Tesla generation.
Quentin Tarantino’s films are famous for their scenes of tense verbal sparring, with the threat of bloody violence always just around the corner – but perhaps the finest example of it is the beer cellar confrontation from Inglourious Basterds.
The deliberately misspelled Nazi western is worth watching for that scene alone, but it’s also packed with loads of other zingers, Brad Pitt’s hilarious attempt to speak Italian, and a healthy dollop of fascist-bashing.
There are approximately a million films about people being stalked in their own homes but normally the baddies doing the terrorising don’t look exactly look those being stalked. Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out looks and sounds like a horror film but there’s so much more going on here than in your standard slasher fare.
Dishing up scares and symbolism in equal measure – you only have to Google the film to see just how much debate there is online around what every little bit of it means – pretty much everything in Us has a double meaning: the hall of mirrors, the use of 90s hip-hop classic I Got 5 On It, even the title...
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Lee Israel isn’t your usual anti-hero. A cantankerous, out-of-work author who lives in an apartment infested with flies, she props herself up with booze, vengeful prank calls and an unshakeable love for her sick cat. But when she starts selling fake celebrity correspondence for cash things start looking up – at least until the FBI catches wind of her scam.
As Jesse Armstrong’s Succession has shown, with sharp writing and the darkest of humour, even the least likeable characters can come to life, especially with performances as good as Melissa McCarthy’s is here. Based on a true story, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is an unconventional biopic but one that, somewhat ironically, feels more honest than most.