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Weekend films to stalk

FilmCamera.jpgWell this weekend the cinema is a foregone conclusion is it not? However there are a couple of alternatives should you find the gazillion showings of Pirates all booked up at every cinema ever built in your neighbourhood.

There are, as always, the UK Freeview channels to choose from, and I've gone through the interesting choices for you to save you the bother.

Remember this takes a lot of work and it's not just about watching them, so if you aren't in the UK or you can't see Freeview, don't let that stop you joining in the discussion about the films, because that's what it's all about.

So without further ado, here are the Films to stalk this weekend...and remember it is a Bank Holiday weekend too.

Friday
16:45 - 19:20
Film4
: The Man Who Would be King
Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer, where else can you list those names together? More than that Connery is actually acting in this film too! It has been a good while since I've seen this film, but I seem to remember that this John Huston directed 1975 film adapted from Rudyard Kipling's story is a great adventure.

Connery and Caine are two British Soldiers who wander into uncharted lands in India and come across a tribe of people who treat them as gods. However they have to prove that they are more than mortals to keep the illusion going and they become more and more transfixed by the illusion of power.

21:00 - 23:10
Film4
: Patriot Games
Harrison Ford plays Jack Ryan who just happens to save an Irish attack on the Royal family, before he knows it he has killed one of the terrorists. Unfortunately his brother remains alive and it's Sean Bean. Jack's in trouble now as the terrorist targets him for revenge. It's a great Ryan adaptation, and if they couldn't have kept Alec Baldwin onboard as the character, then Ford is second best.

21:00 - 23:45
ITV3
: The Natural
That said, I think Patriot Games loses out to this classic film about a young man who has a natural talent for baseball, but his dreams of a career are cut short and in his later years he returns to see if he can still make something of it. The film stars the superb Robert Redford as well as Glenn Close,Kim Basinger,Robert Duvall and Barbara Hershey, and it was directed by Barry Levinson. I've often heard this described as the best Baseball film of all time...agree?

23:10 - 01:35
Film4
: The Player
It may have been on many times before, but it is still a very good film. From Robert Altman and starring a host of names including Tim Robbins and Greta Scacchi, it tells the story about a studio executive who decides to take the law into his own hands after being blackmailed by an anonymous scriptwriter. All the while his paranoia is growing and he's never really sure who is behind it all. This is another film I haven't seen for some time, does it still stand up well?

23:30 - 01:20
ITV4
: Fletch Lives
Unfortunately I missed Fletch which was on last night, very late, but this is the sequel to the classic film starring Chevy Chase. This sees him reprise his comic role and pull in other names such as Julianne Phillips. It may not be as strong as the original, but this may be the closest we get to the character this side of the remake.

I loved Chase in these days, but only in a few roles. Caddyshack was another film I thought he was hilarious in, and his character there is very similar to that of Fletch.


Saturday
00:35 - 02:10
BBC1 Scotland
: Rambo: First Blood Part II
Well it really isn't as strong as the first, but this film is there if you want to catch up on the story before we see John Rambo for the last time. Sylvester Stallone stars, and some say directs, this film which has George P. Cosmatos as the stated Director. Here he is released from prison and sent straight to Vietnam to rescue imprisoned US soldiers being held by Communists. Not much to this other than action, action, action.

01:35 - 03:40
Film4
: Carnival of Souls
This may be from way back in 1962, but I have heard that this is a strong film and a cult classic. If anyone has seen it, let us know what you think. It tells the story of a woman who crashes her car and she and her passengers sink beneath the water. She's surprised when she emerges as she thought she was dead, but after some strange experiences she arrives at an abandoned fairground where she starts to see the souls of the dead. Wooo....

13:00 - 14:55
Film4
: Run Silent, Run Deep
Classic war drama with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster, a mammoth actor if ever there was one. A similar story to Moby Dick where an American submarine commander is obsessed with tracking down the Japanese destroyer which sunk his ship and left him as the only survivor. He is given a new boat which his Executive Officer expected to command, and so the tension begins to rise as they set to on his personal vendetta.

14:35 - 17:05
STV
: Apollo 13
The Ron Howard directed film of the true events of Apollo 13, a spaceship stranded near the moon without power or guidance and losing oxygen fast, with just days left alive the crew and Mission Control try everything to bring them back alive. What is so stunning about this tale, apart from the performances and the actors Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise and Ed Harris, is just what we humans are capable of in times of crisis. A wonderful film.

15:20 - 17:25
BBC2 Scotland
: True Grit
John Wayne playing one of his most famous roles as the hard drinking Rooster Cogburn, the US Marshall with a patch over one eye. He is recruited by a tough young lady called Mattie Ross, and together with a Texas Ranger they head off in search of her father's killer and a wanted murderer. This is a classic western, and one of the best Wayne performances. An altogether superb film.

21:00 - 23:00
E4
: The Hole
An interesting film with a chance to see Keira Knightley early on in her career alongside a strong Thora Birch.
Without giving too much away, four pupils at a British public school decide to hide in a bomb shelter for the weekend and get up to as much no good as they can possibly think of. Except things start going wrong very early on. I enjoyed this when I saw it, and it might be interesting to revisit these performances considering the actresses now. It's certainly got tension and a few surprises.

21:00 - 23:40
Film4
: Clear and Present Danger
I really liked this Jack Ryan film, although it did have Harrison Ford at his mumbling, confused worst, he does fit the character well and the story between Columbia and America is a very strong and engaging one. It helps that Willem Dafoe and James Earl Jones are onboard, and it is made even stronger with the hate relationship that begins between Dafoe's character and Ryan. A bit more power and action than the previous, and a very good one too. Philip Noyce directed.

21:30 - 23:40
More4
: Capturing the Friedmans
I haven't seen this film yet, but I do believe it is very powerful and incisive. This is the story of a family who are turned upside down when the father and eldest son are accused of child molestation from numerous occassions. The film covers the trial and the home life of the family as they try to defend themselves. Should I watch it? Is it as powerful as they say?

21:40 - 23:20
BBC3
: Signs
I know there will be the haters out there, but I really like M. Night Shyamalan, and I really do enjoy this film. The way the action is held internally to this family, and the great moments of video footage really do add to the tension. So some might complain the twist isn't as powerful as Sixth Sense, well he has said himself he isn't all about making the twist, there are stories to be had too, and this is a corker.

23:45 - 01:40
BBC1 Scotland
: Training Day
It certainly has been a while since we've seen a performance like this from Denzel Washington, so often he coasts and doesn't really give such an intense performance as this. Ethan Hawke and Scott Glenn are powerful additions to the film by Antione Fuqua, a superb director for onscreen action and tension. Hawke plays the rookie cop during his first day of training in an LAPD narcotics squad who have an unusual style when it comes to the law. His day gets crazier and crazier, and he's pulled deeper and deeper into the team's own law. Brilliant tension build up, and superb scenes between the two actors. Well worth watching.

23:40 - 01:35
Film4
: The Eye
See this before it gets the remake treatment, because the production is happening now. I personally think that there is a lot of room for improvement on this Pang Brothers film, because the ending and explanation don't fit well for me. This is the story of a blind woman who receives corneal grafts, and for the first time she can see, except she starts to see things that no one else can, images that the donor of the eyes could once see.

What I find particularly strong about this film are the early visuals as she begins to see. These provide some incredibly drawn out moments of tension and psychological scares. As I say, the ending just doesn't keep up with what the start of the film offers, but well worth having a look at.


Sunday
00:20 - 03:00
Channel4
: Apocalypse Now
If you can manage to stay up and stay awake, or cheat and record it, this is a classic. You surely don't need me to say anything about this film. Hands up who hasn't seen it? Or better yet hands up who has seen it and doesn't like it? Why?...Oh you can put your hands down now to type!

15:30 - 17:30
STV
: Mission: Impossible
I personally think that the third is the best of them all, but this is the second best. Tom Cruise totally gets my vote here as Ethan Hunt, and in fact he does in the entire series. During one of his Impossible Missions, Hunt's team are setup and he is framed for their deaths. He then learns that there's a bigger conspiracy going on, but he's already on the run and he must find a new team willing to help him uncover the truth. Great action, superb tension, and great style from the Director Brian De Palma. Tom Cruise, Emmanuelle Beart, Jon Voight, Jean Reno, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Vanessa Redgrave also star.

15:00 - 17:05
Film4
: The Man in the Iron Mask
Say either Alexander Dumas or Musketeer and I'll be there for the film. There's something about these, in particular this series of muskateer films, that are just so entertaining. Like the modern Pirates trilogy they have drama, story, history, emotion and humour all bundled into one. In fact the more I think about it the more recognisable and comparable these two series are.

This one sees Richard Chamberlain play the two roles of the King and his identical twin brother who is kept imprisoned on an island with an iron mask over his head. However the King's actions are causing an uprising within his court and one very famous Musketeer heads off to save the imprisoned brother and the country. Not only is Chamberlain starring, but there's also Patrick McGoohan, Louis Jourdan, Jenny Agutter, Ian Holm and Ralph Richardson. Great swashbuckling fun.

16:10 - 18:00
Five
: Muppet Treasure Island
Oh come on, a Muppet film, how can you go wrong? Treasure Island? Big stars? Silly puppets? Perfect.


Monday
01:10 - 03:15
Film4
: The Hustler
The classic pool film starring Paul Newman alongside Jackie Gleason and George C. Scott. Newman plays the pool hustler who takes on an unbeatable champion and loses. From there he builds his life up from hustling small pool halls and tries to regain his former glory. Another classic film, and a wonderful performance from Newman.

17:40 - 19:10
Five
: Airplane!
"You're wanted on the phone.
What is it?
It's a device used for communicating over long distances, but that doesn't matter right now."
Oh surely I can't be serious...I am...[cue you...] I love this film and the sequel. The humour still holds up and I still end up laughing my pants off. The jokes keep coming thick and fast, and if you need cheering up (and even if you don't) you should watch this film. Who cares about the plot...I'll never get over Macho Grande.

17:00 - 19:00
Film4
: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
This is the fourth in the series of Peter Sellers classic Inspector Clouseau films, and although there are some lesser moments compared to the rest of the series, the magic is still there. I mentioned one of the scenes to my mate Doug at work and we were in fits of laughter just thinking about it. Classic, another that doesn't really need a plot explanation, just sit, turn the volume up so you can hear it over the laughter and enjoy.

19:00 - 21:00
Film4
: The Thomas Crown Affair
The original film starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway is repeated again this weekend. Still worth seeing if you haven't yet.

22:30 - 00:30
BBC2 Scotland
: The Pledge
Jack Nicholson, Aaron Eckhart, Sam Shepard, Robin Wright Penn, Benecio Del Toro, Harry Dean Stanton, Helen Mirren, Mickey Rourke, and on and on - a great cast with a superb performance by Jack Nicholson, something we're seeing less and less of these days. In this Sean Penn directed film an aging detective is investigating a child murder in a small town long after he has retired, because he made a pledge on his retirement to solve the murder. He moves into the town and hunts for the killer, and while he's there he begins a friendship with a woman and her daughter. I vaguely remember seeing something about this film, but I can't remember it all. Definitely one to watch for me.


Cinema
28 Weeks Later
The follow up to 28 Days Later promises more zombie action (yes, they are zombies) and some stunning scenes of the destruction of London.

Zodiac
A great cast lined up behind Director David Fincher for this look into the people who tried to track down the infamous Zodiac killer. A tense film that's gripping throughout.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Well it may not be the last one, or it may be, who knows. What we do know is that this is the missing third act of the second film, a film that was pretty pathetic story wise. Let us hope that stretched out it deserves the long running time and that Jack Sparrow hasn't run out of steam.


So what are your picks from that lot? Is there anything I've missed? Something you disagree with? Get discussing!





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