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The weekend films stalked

FilmCamera.jpgWelcome back, it's the Filmstalker Films to watch this weekend, a feature that some of you have been wanting to see come back. So here it is.

Not only have I walked through the films on UK terrestial TV this weekend that you might find interesting, but there's a quick look at the films currently released that might tickle your fancy.

As always, it doesn't matter if you can see these or not, or if you're even in the UK. This is about discussing the films, and maybe pointing you at something you haven't seen or thought about for a while.

So get discussing, and get watching...

17:05 - 19:00
: Heaven Can Wait
I've never seen this film before, but I was reminded of it by the Bruce Willis film Hostage, remember that the information is hidden inside the Heaven Can Wait DVD? - Don't worry, that's not a spoiler.

An American footballer, played by Warren Beatty, is taken to Heaven after a car crash. The problem is he wasn't supposed to be taken, but on his return to Earth he finds that his body has been cremated. So he's given the body of a millionaire who was just murdered, and he starts to make his way back to American football. It also stars Julie Christie,James Mason,Dyan Cannon and Charles Grodin.

21:00 - 23:15
: Jagged Edge
It's been a long time since I saw this courtroom thriller starring Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close, but I remember some of the scenes to this day. I really did enjoy it. Bridges plays a wealthy man who is accused of brutally murdering his wife. His lawyer is played by Close and will only defend him once she's utterly convinced he is innocent, except he does more than convince her, and she ends up romantically involved.

22:55 - 01:05
: Being John Malkovich
Well you should all know this film by now. A superb performance from John Cusack, great self awareness from John Malkovich for taking this role, a wonderful Catherine Keener, a superb concept and script, but for me the shining moment was for Cameron Diaz who stepped up and told us she was way more than a pair of legs. There are some excellent moments in this film which is quirky, insightful and very funny.

23:00 - 01:55
: Papillon
You know I think I've never watched this film all the way through. Starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, it tells the story of a petty thief who just can't stay in prison and keeps escaping. Everytime he is caught he's put back in, until finally he's sent to the notorious Devil's Island prison which is said to be unescapable. So onto his next attempt.

I just love watching McQueen on screen, he's one of the real Hollywood actors who just commands attention and delivers presence in buckets.

00:05 - 01:55
BBC1 Scotland
: Air America
Oh this is another film that I haven't seen in a long time, and I'd really love to go back to it and see if the film still stands up after all this time. It will be interesting to see how these two actors compare to to where they are in their lives today.

The film is directed by Roger Spottiswoode and stars Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. as a pair of pilots who'll fly anything in their work for the CIA in a covert operation during the Vietnam war. I can hardly remember what the film was about, but you can imagine those two actors on set must have had some wild nights!

13:40 - 15:30
BBC2 Scotland
: The Philadelphia Story
Cary Grant, and really that's enough for me, but there's also Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart to be had here too. A classic film which sees Hepburn as a bored heiress who is heading to for a marriage with a rich executive. However on the eve of her marriage her ex boyfriend turns up along with a reporter, and before long her life is in disarray.

17:15 - 19:20
BBC2 Scotland
: Rebecca
Classic Alfred Hitchcock from the Daphne Du Maurier novel starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Olivier plays Maxim de Winter who is still troubled by the death of his wife in a boating accident. He meets a young lady, falls in love, they get married and they return to his country estate. There she meets the strange housekeeper and realises that these people have never let go of Rebecca.

18:30 - 21:00
: The Cassandra Crossing
There's a huge cast in this disaster film that has been inspiration to so mony others, and if I remember was touted in the remake department some time ago. It's a great fun film, starring Sophia Loren, Richard Harris, Martin Sheen, Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster and even O.J. Simpson. They are all aboard a train travelling across Europe when a deadly plague is released. The authorities have to decide if they should head the train off into the rivers beneath the Cassandra Crossing. Cheesy at times, but a load of fun too.

21:00 - 22:40
: The Transporter
Oh Jason Statham at his best as the ex special forces who will deliver anything to anywhere, as long as the price is right and his rules are met. However he's the first to break his own rules and when he does the action kicks off big style. Ths is how the second film should have been instead of the silly, over the top film it turned out to be. This Transporter is slick and stylish, and Statham shows he could be a great action star if he picks his roles right. Unfortunately he hasn't so far.

21:00 - 23:00
Five US
: Young Guns
Oh come on you've all seen this before, the eighties brat pack stars that have since moved on to bigger and better things, or nothing in some cases. A rag tag group of young cowboys is taken in by a British rancher and taught discipline and given a working wage. However one day the rancher is killed and the cowboys gather together, deputise, and head after those responsible. Loads of fun to be had, especially to see Keifer Sutherland carrying a different type of gun and no shoulder bag! Then there's Emilio Estevez, Lou Diamond Phillips and Charlie Sheen.

21:00 - 23:10
: The Long Kiss Goodnight
I've written about this before and the film seems to be on TV loads just now, but it's still good fun and a strong action film. What I like most is the weak character played by Samuel L. Jackson, usually he's a powerful, aggressive character, but here he's very human, and plays it so well. Geena Davis is brilliant as well, in both her roles as the school teacher who had lost her memory years ago who suddenly starts to remember who she really is, a highly trained assassin. There's some great action from Renny Harlin, and two all too short appearances from Brian Cox and David Morse.

21:00 - 23:00
: Tombstone
A superb story with excellent acting that looks at the story of the US Marshall Wyatt Earp, his family, the gunfight at the OK Corral and his friendship with Doc Holliday. The film is wonderfully shot and the cast is superb, Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn and Powers Boothe. Although I do love the Kevin Costner take on the story, this one could well be better, Kilmer is stunningly good, as always.

22:40 - 00:50
: Arlington Road
This thriller is one of the best I'd seen in quite a while when I watched it. Two great performances from Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins, where Bridges plays a college Professor who suspects that his neighbour, Robbins, is in fact a terrorist. A suspenseful film that builds the tension well and high, and it comes to a dramatic conclusion that should give you a superb thrill. If you're going to pick one film this weekend then choose this one.

01:10 - 03:10
: Man on Fire
No, this isn't the Ridley Scott version starring Denzel Washington, this is the version with Scott Glenn, Joe Pesci, Jonathan Pryce and Danny Aiello, directed by Elie Chouraqui. The story is the same though, an ex CIA agent with his own personal problems is hired to protect the daughter of a twelve year old girl. I'm not sure how similar the story really is as I haven't actually seen it myself, so it will be interesting to compare.

15:10 - 18:00
: The Alamo
Yes, you're right, this is almost three hours long. It's the epic story of the battle of the Alamo when, in 1836, Colonel William Travis was ordered to defend a mission which lay in the route of the oncoming Mexican forces. This was to buy time for the US forces to gather and get themselves organised to fight them. This is the story of those men who fought there against all odds.

Directed by, and starring John Wayne, this is an epic of Hollywood. There's a lot of controversy over it though as the film ran well over three hours and was hacked down by some forty minutes. Some say that the shorter version is terrible but the longer one runs much better and has a great feel to it.

16:45 - 18:20
: The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad
Oh Ray Harryhausen, you are a god of cinema. This is one of the classics, with effects that are still amazing to see, and combined with the excellent story of Sinbad it makes for a wonderful fantasy. I love all these Sinbad stories, but the lure of them is in the magical creatures and the amazing effects, something that Hollywood these days just can't seem to capture.

19:20 - 21:00
: The Hound of the Baskervilles
We were just talking about the revival of Hammer Horror, and here's an interesting example of their work, slightly off from the Horror theme. The film stars the two staples of Hammer, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and they do superbly as Sherlock Holmes and Sir Henry Baskerville.

22:00 - 12:15
: Romeo Must Die
I remember watching this some time ago and being taken by the opening title sequence, but I seem to remember that the film promises so much and doesn't deliver it. i do remember some great sequences and strong filming, but the story just doesn't live up to the style. Jet Li, Aaliyah, Isaiah Washington and Russell Wong star.

28 Weeks Later (18)
I was supposed to go and see this today, but I've been caught up writing this! The reviews aren't as strong as we were hoping, although initially I had little hope. Since the trailers and footage have been coming out I've been thinking it looks better and better, and the reviews are saying it's more of the same. So that's not so bad, but I was hoping for something more from the follow up to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later.

Goodbye Bafana (12)
This is the story of a white South African who was changed by his time guarding Nelson Mandella. Whatever the truth behind the guard's memoirs, the film has just been released and sounds very promising. It stars Jospeh Fiennes, Dennis Haysbert and Diane Kruger.

Alpha Dog (15)
For so long I wasn't even interested in this film, but the studio have managed to turn the marketing tide on this one and I'm quite interested to see how Justin Timberlake is doing in Hollywood.

Fracture (15)
I'm intrigued by this film, although it would look like Hollywood taking advantage of our love for Anthony Hopkins and his psychotic character, there are some stronger reviews that suggest there's a little more to it than that.

Spider-Man 3 (12A)
Well, it's Spider-Man 3. What else is there to say? The series has met its backlash with critics though, and despite that I think it's still one of the biggest films of the year.

Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others) (15)
Already this film is racing into the top 100 films on IMDB, currently it's sitting at number 76. From Writer/Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the film is set in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin wall where a couple of big intellectual stars are put under observation by the Secret Police. The agent in charge of the task starts to become obsessed with the couple.



Being John Malkovich is indeed great. The bit where Malkovich goes through the portal into his own head was inspired.

Papillon I haven't seen in years. I remember it being good.

I apparently have seen The Philadelphia Story, according to my records, but I have bugger all memory of it.

Arlington Road had a great beginning and great ending. Just a shame about most of the stuff in the middle.

I saw Hound of the Baskervilles for the first time last year, and was exceedingly impressed. Hammer had yet to turn into the sequel factory they became during the 60s and the extra care taken with the film showed. I just wish that MGM/Warners weren't so goddamned lazy about anamorphically transferring their 1.66 aspect ratio films to DVD instead of just letterboxing them.

Some good viewing there on the square thing in te corner this weekend.

Was only thinking about Arlington Road the other day, came up in conversation with Mrs Lee. I might just have to watch it again...

Thanks, Rich, wouldn't have seen it was on otherwise!


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