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Weekend Films to Stalk

FilmCamera.jpgWell here we are again, although this evening I'm slightly late. Here are the television programmes from UK Freeview and UK cinema releases that I'd suggest for the weekend viewing.

Of course you don't have to have freeview, br going to the cinema or even be in the UK to take part as this is a discussion of some new releases and some older, forgotten films, and it's all about your opinions.

So pop in, discuss, disagree, and tell everyone what other films you'll be watching, or have already seen, this weekend.

Have a good one, and make the most of it.

5:20pm - 7:20pm
: The Man in the Iron Mask
Repeat from last weekend.

8:30pm - 10:55pm
: Hulk
I think I stand out from the pack when I say that I thought that Hulk was a lot better than a lot of people thought. Eric Bana is flat, the battle with the final monster is ridiculous and ill conceived, and let's not even talk about the stupidity of the giant poodles. However apart from those issues, Ang Lee's style and the character relationships were pretty good. It isn't the worst way to spend an evening of telly.

10:50pm - 2:20am
: Short Cuts
Classic Robert Altman film from Raymond Carver's writings which really carries off the ensemble multi threaded story well. Filled with a strong cast of actors and a slightly dark and reality based tone, the film is perhaps one of his best works. There's a whole list of actors involved in it and I can't even begin to pick out all the names involved, safe to say that there are tons of big names in here, and you're guaranteed to find an actor you like! From Tim Robbins to Huey Lewis!

11:00pm - 12:40am
: This Is Spinal Tap
Oh come on! Dial those volume knobs up to eleven and watch this classic fake documentary of the biggest metal band who never lived...well until after this film came out. It always amazes me to realise that this film was made by Rob Reiner, the man who brought us When Harry Met Sally. The casting is superb, and the comic irony is pouring from every moment. Great fun indeed. This is part of ITV4's ongoing comedy series, and they are picking some classics.

2:05pm - 4:35pm
: Dunkirk
John Mills and Richard Attenborough are the big names here, but you'll recognise quite a few faces if you like your older films. This is a classic film about one of the most significant moments in World War II. The film tells the events from two British soldiers stories.

3:30pm - 5:25pm
: Death Becomes Her
This is a lot of fun, think what you will of Bruce Willis, but the story is a cracker, and although we've seen some of it before in other films but here there's some nice little twists and some cool effects. Again, not an edge of your seat drama, but some great entertainment and some cool style. Two women rivals are fighting over a man and have been for years, now he's downtrodden and henpecked and they have forgotten all but the rivalry. When they find an immortality treatment things escalate for all three. It stars Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn as deliciously venomous rivals.

6:55pm - 9:25pm
: Hulk

9:00pm - 10:45pm
: One Hour Photo
You know I really do think this might be Robin Williams finest hour, so to speak. He plays totally against type and his own character and really delivers a superb character performance, and whats more is he is utterly compelling and incredibly unnerving. The film tells the story of a photo lab assistance who becomes obsessed with a family who regularly visit the lab, it also stars Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Gary Cole, Eriq La Salle and Erin Daniels. I also have to say that Gary Cole plays well in this film, but it is Williams who steals it. Definitely his best performance to date.

9:00pm - 10:50pm
Channel 4
: Mean Girls
You know I really shouldn't give this as a reason but I'm really keen to see this because of all the off camera press about Lindsay Lohan. I know, it's kind of going against my own beliefs about separating the two parts of stars lives, but in this case they really are unbreakably linked. The woman is self destructing her career through misuse of whatever substances and it is clearly affecting her onscreen work, costars and even production people are saying so. However it seems there's a desire to keep her in the show, and for this I want to see what the on screens reasons are. So far I've only seen her in a short performance in A Prairie Home Companion (Filmstalker review) and that was a brief performance. I'm told this is her first big, adult performance and considering Rachel McAdams is in the film too, I'm not going to say no.

9:45pm - 11:40pm
: The Jackal
This is the remake of the classic The Day of The Jackal adapted from the Frederick Forsyth novel, the story that really showed the world about identity theft. It tells the story of a professional hitman who is given the contract of killing the French President Charles de Gaulle, this remake changes and modernises loads, and unfortunately loses the heart and drive of the original. What we end up with is a big star, weak film with Richard Gere, Bruce Willis and directed by Michael Caton-Jones who seems to have ups and downs galore.

9:45pm - 11:40pm
: F/X - Murder by Illusion
Bryan Brown and Brian Dennehy, two actors I really like watching, particularly Dennehy, but Brown has a great on screen presence. This thriller has some great setups and a well thought out plot. It also carries a couple of interesting turns and all in all makes for a very enjoyable film. Still it's been a while since I saw it and it might be a little dated by now...is it?

10:25pm - 12:55am
: Disclosure
You know this story of a man being sued for sexual harassent by the woman who instigated the events and who just happens to be his former lover/new boss is actually not that bad. It does get a poor IMDB rating and it did receive a fair bit of negative press, but I think it has some strong aspects to it. Good performances, really they are good, and some strong suspense ads a lot to a story that most men can recognise and fear, well to a degree anyway. After all if Demi Moore hit on me at work, I might have to protect my job with every ounce of my body. It also stars Michael Douglas, Donald Sutherland and Dylan Baker, it's not all that bad.

10:45pm - 12:50am
: Scream
The start of the franchise, and unsurprisingly the strongest part of it. There's a strong cast of younger actors who bring something fresh and interesting to the film, and Wes Craven proves bucketfuls with his direction. Neve Campbell is in it too, and I know a few people with a serious crush on her! Never mnd the rest of the attractive cast for both men and women. It's fun, scary and delivers a couple of surprises too. This is a modern day slasher.

11:45pm - 1:35am
BBC2 Scotland
: Tommy
Another classic film this weekend in the guise of Ken Russell's rock opera starring a host of great talent from Oliver Reed to Roger Daltrey to Eric Clapton, Jack Nicholson, Robert Powell, Tina Turner, and so on. It is a strange but has some superb visuals and great songs. Story? Oh just enjoy the music.

12:50am - 3:00am
: Blow Out
I think I saw this film around the same time as Body Double and enjoyed them just as much, yet Blow Out is much calmer and slower paced than Body Double, and uses much less where Double uses more. Blow Out is deliberate, focused wholly on the story rather than visuals and setups, and is much more real, and it provides for a great thriller, if somewhat dated visually. It stars a young John Travolta and Nancy Allen, along with John Lithgow and Dennis Franz. The opening sequences are superb, and the revisiting through the editing of the film and audio is excellently put together.

The film tells the story of a soundman out collecting soundbites one evening, as a car crash happens across the river from him he records it on tape and begins to find that the audio doesn't exactly match the "official" story, so he sets out to prove what really happened not realising that this will draw him into a conspiracy where his life will be in danger. Well worth watching, I'd recomend it.

2:25am - 4:00am
BBC2 Scotland
: Soylent Green
If you are a film fan then you probably know the famous quote already, if you don't then see the film and don't read anything (other than this) before hand. The film is from the well respected Director Richard Fleischer and stars Charlton Heston, Edward G Robinson, Joseph Cotten and Leigh Taylor-Young. Heston plays a New York detective in the year 2022 who finds himself being hunted by Government agents after he finds out a terrifying secret regarding the development of a new food product. I've actually never seen this classic, but I'm going to set the video for this and catch it later on in the weekend.

12:55pm - 3:20pm
: Ocean's Eleven
Hold up there, this is not the big posturing film that sparked off the franchise that's about to conclude in the cinema. No, this is the original with the Rat Pack of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. (some of my personal favourite artists - I love Dean Martin!) as well as Peter Lawford, Angie Dickinson and Cesear Romero. Here we find eleven friends from World War II meeting up to plan to rob five of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas in one night. No flashy leaping about and gadgets here, just the style and class of these actors. Although modern audiences might not like this as much, I love seeing the Rat Pack three (plus the often missed Lawford) on screene together. Style personified. Who the hell are Clooney and Pitt?

7:00pm - 9:00pm
: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
Repeat from last weekend

9:00pm - 11:15pm
: Trading Places
I'm starting to feel like I've overused the word "classic" in this weeks listing, but I feel quite rightly so. This John Landis comedy has an Eddie Murphy who deserves to be on screen, a Muprhy we once adored, and together with Dan Aykroyd give a superb comedy performance in this wonderfully scripted film. Denholm Elliott, Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche also provide great performances. It tells the story of two millionaires who decide to place a bet on seeing if they can replace a well to do investor with a down and out con artist. You can guess who Murphy plays. Great fun and good laughs to be had.

10:00pm - 12:15am
: F/X - Murder by Illusion

11:30pm - 1:30am
: Shaun of the Dead
Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Queen help beat up some zombies in some of the best comic horror scenes I've ever seen. British humour is alive and well, and these guys are leading the way. Basically it's a comedy version of every zombie horror film you've ever seen, and it is truly inspired. Just a shame my parents didn't like the continued use of the c-word...it didn't go down well at xmas in their house!

The Blossoming Of Maximo Oliveros (Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros) (15)
A Philippine comedy/drama which tells the story of a twelve year old gay man from a criminal family who falls in love with a policeman. Now that'll cause a few issues. It's receiving some strong voting on IMDB and is described as much more subtle than you might think.

The Hitcher (15)
Yes, more often than not the UK are held back on release dates, which I can't help but think does nothing for films, especially when they get bad reviews. Surely if you're remaking a classic horror film in a modern day MTV-teen style then you need to release it everywhere at the same time, especially when it is obvious it won't live up to the cult classic original. Oh well, it's released in the UK this weekend, finally, and I might see it tomorrow. My expectations are low, despite Sean Bean being playing the role of the Hitcher and Neal McDonough starring as the cop trying to chase them down.

If you don't know the original let me run through the sequel story for you. A couple (it was a guy on his own originally played by Thomas C. Howell) pick up a Hitchhiker played by Sean Bean (which was originally played by the stunning Rutger Hauer). There are many of the original aspects of the plot that remain, but from what I've seen the subtlety has gone and the great character relationships have slipped in favour of more glitz and flashiness.

Paradise Lost (18)
So even if the film comes out in the US and it's rubbish, given poor reviews and still held off for ages for release everywhere else, there's still a trick that the studios have up their sleeve. Name change. This was called Turistas everywhere else and didn't do well, however with the name change and the delayed release perhaps they are hoping for something more to come from it, after all the public will never realise with the change of title.

A group of backpackers are stranded in the middle of a Brazilian jungle and get caught up in something that will definitely cost them their lives. Well there might be something to be had here, and there are a couple of names you'd recognise in the leads, particularly Melissa George from Home and Away and Alias, but I'm not holding out for much really.

Ten Canoes (15)
An Australian film which has two Directors, Rolf de Heer and Peter Djigirr, working from Heer's script about indigenous Australians which doesn't focus on the modern negatives we see with many Aboriginal tales. It's a comedy, a drama, and carries with it a strong political and cultural message.

In the Name of (15)
It took me a little to track this down because there's not much on IMDB, but you can read about the film over at Channel 4 where they have a review of the film. The story is about three women who are brought together through their judo training, and there I lose any ability to grab hold of what it is about. You can read the review over at Channel 4 who utterly destroy it. Oh well.

Flyboys (Filmstalker review) (12A)
Flyboys is the story of the American volunteers who headed to the French Airforce to fight in World War I. There were so many that France created their own squadron, the Lafayette Escadrille, not only to encourage more volunteers but also to encourage America to join the war. Despite heavy losses the squadron gained many medals and ace pilots, and that's the true story. Surprisingly this Hollywood film doesn't rewrite history that much and gives some visually rich aerial battles, however the story is pretty stock and weak, and there's not a lot more to it than that. Have a read of the Filmstalker review for more.

Water (12A)
I had hoped to have seen this film a few weeks ago, but unfortunately the cinema double booked and we didn't get to see it, however now is your chance while it is on general release. This Indian film tells the story of a group of widows who are forced into poverty at a temple in the holy city of Varanasi. They world they live in forces huge restrictions on their lives since they have become widows, and they want to live free lives apart from this. It's then that one of them meets a man who is a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and a relationship grows.

Wedding Daze (15)
Another name change to try and confuse us. Perhaps the reason is to try and distance the newly titled film from the reviews that its previous title is associated with. Whatever the reason the film was called The Pleasure of your Company and sees Jason Biggs playing the usual character in a rather unusual sounding tale. He proposes to his girlfriend who promptly dies. Then, while he's being goaded by his friend that he's too scared to ask another woman for fear she might die, he asks the waitress next to him to prove the point. Except she takes it seriously and says yes. There goes the fun filled rollercoaster...that's sarcasm by the way. Isla Fisher seems to reprise her role as the slightly psycho girlfriend.

So there you have it. Is there anything else you would recommend this weekend, perhaps from your country's television or cinema? Or better still come and tell us what you've watched this weekend and why we should go and see it or avoid it.



Richard, if you got to see Mean Girls tonight them please come back and tell me what you thought of Lindsay Lohan's performance.

Ah, Shaun of the Dead is on telly eh, glad I have my DVD!

Well I started watching it and turned off, she seemed out of place and a bit awkward. Wasn't impressed at all.


I actually quite enjoyed that film and her performance. Youre still keen to watch I Know Who Killed Me though?

Oh I'm not so sure...I think I'll see how the marketing material goes, but right now after seeing her there and in a Home Prairie Companion I'm thinking perhaps not.


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