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Weekend Films to Stalk

FilmCamera.jpgWell here we are again, this list represents thetelevision programmes from UK Freeview that I'd suggest for weekend viewing, as well as the UK releases for this week in the Cinema.

Of course you don't have to have freeview, or be going to the cinema or even be in the UK to take part in the discussion and have your say. This is really a look at 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.

Enjoy it...and hey, let's be careful out there...

20:30 - 22:30
: Mission: Impossible
The superb opening to the Mission: Impossible franchise, sure number two wasn't as strong, but the third definitely was. Tom Cruise is great in this, and anyone who says otherwise can leap into the path of an oncoming helicopter. There's action galore, but what I love most is the entire Prague opening, the multiple threads all pull together wonderfully. The tension rises as the setup grows bigger and bigger, and right up until the moment Hawke realises the setup you can see his anger and frustration growing. A great film directed superbly by Brian De Palma.

21:00 - 23:50
: Gladiator
There's one thing I remember about this film above all other things, Oliver Reed's performance. It's amazing how one performance in a whole career can turn it around, Reed had once been an amazing actor who drank his career away. Then he comes back with this stunning turn just before he passes away. On one hand it is such as sad tale, and then you could view it as though he decided to show what was in him and go out with one of the best performances of his career.

The rest of the film is strong too, Ridley Scott creates a wonderful feast for the eyes, and the heart, in this rich tale of betrayal and belief set in the height of the Roman Empire. There are many great performances to be seen here too, Richard Harris, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen and an excellent career high for Russell Crowe. Well worth watching, particularly if you have a good TV and sound system.

23:00 - 00:50
: History of the World - Part 1
Well this is decidedly hit and miss, but it's a clever piece of scriptwriting none the less, and shows what talent Brooks has for writing and directing, as well as gathering together some great talent. Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Gregory Hines, Pamela Stephenson, Sid Ceaser, Orson Welles, John Hurt, Spike Milligan, Nigel Hawthorne, even Hugh Hefner! Looking at some key moments in history Brooks shows us the humour in human existence, and how we just take ourselves far too seriously. There's some good laughs to be had.

23:50 - 01:50
: Y Tu Mama Tambien
Okay, hands up I haven't seen this film but I have read a lot about it. Co-Written and Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, it tells the story of two Mexican teenagers who head off on a road trip with an older woman and in the process learn a lot about life and each other. Gael García Bernal really got noticed for this role, and from everything I've heard about the film, quite rightly so.

13:35 - 15:30
BBC2 Scotland
: A Midsummer Night's Dream
This is the version of the Shakespearean tale from Michael Hoffman, and he's managed to pull together an amazing cast including such names as Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci, Rupert Everett, Christian Bale, David Strathairn, Sophie Marceau, Sam Rockwell, and the list goes on. I'm not even going to try and explain the story other than to say it is most definitely about love.

13:40 - 15:50
: The Big Sleep
Humphrey Bogart plays the classic character of Private Detective Philip Marlowe alongside the stunning Lauren Bacall. This is the definitive film noir adapted from the Raymond Chandler novel by William Faulkner and directed by Howard Hawks. Classic cinema with classic actors, well worth a trip back in time.

14:30 - 16:25
: What about Bob?
Now it's been ages since I've seen this film with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. Murray plays a patient of the psychiatrist played by Dreyfuss. The patient is an obsessive-compulsive and turns up at his Doctor's home, inviting himself in with the family. Before long he's driving the Doctor mad and everyone thinks he's a great guy. I seem to remember that this was a funny film, although somewhat infuriating as the setups continued to drive the Doctor mad while everyone else just continued on around him. Still, I seem to remember there were some great laughs to be had.

17:55 - 19:55
: Grease
Okay, this isn't my choice, this one's for the ladies. I'm not a big fan of the musical, but I know a few people who are, and they'll be watching and singing every song. Man, John Travolta was damn thin once. I still think he looks better today than ever though, although I do prefer Olivia Newton John!

19:40 - 21:10
: The Producers
Once again we meet Mel Brooks this weekend with the original film version of the musical The Producers. This is another film I haven't seen but really want to, and balances off against Grease well. The superb Gene Wilder stars in the musical that has been going on ever since on stage. Is it worth seeing the original, the stage show, or the remake with Nathan Lane and Mathew Broderick?

21:00 - 23:00
Five US
: Talk Radio
Oliver Stone directs this controversial film about an equally controversial radio show host that is somewhat loosely based on an actual story. The radio show host is one of these rude and deliberately antagonistic people, you see them everywhere these days on the Internet, and while his show is about to go national, he's targetted by a neo-nazi group he's angered through one of his shows. I remember there buzz about this film when it first came out, but I've never yet seen it, and with Stone in charge and Alec Baldwin on the cast list, I am more than interested. Is it all hype about nothing?

22:15 - 00:20
Channel 4
: The Butterfly Effect
This is suppopsed to be a pretty good and rather clever film, and features Ashton Kutcher and the lovely Amy Smart. The story centers on a man who can go back in time and alter the past, however the more he does it the more the present changes. The trailer for this looked really good when it came out, then there were mixed reviews about the film itself, but over time it seems to have done well on IMDB.

21:40 - 23:10
: Rambo: First Blood
I've talked about this before as it was first shown a few weekends ago, but it's just so good it's worth talking about again. If you haven't seen this film then you really should. The first outing for John Rambo, building up to the cinema release of his last. This sees the man not long after he has returned from Vietnam, hitchhiking to find old friends from the war. In one local town the sheriff tells him to leave, he refuses and is locked up and beaten. He escapes and is hunted by the police, and before long the memories and training from Vietnam are taking over. A cracking performance from Sylvester Stallone with some very memorable insights into the pain of veterans, then there's the excellent Brian Dennehy, well worth watching.

22:30 - 00:45
: The X Files
This was an excellent film outing for the television series which had long run its course. Now we saw Mulder and Scully taking on the entire conspiracy behind the series, and we were exposed to what might be behind it all. Only to have the hopeful ending plucked away from us and dangled in the form of a sequel. Since it looks like that sequel will never come you might as well make do with just the one. That aside, it is a very enjoyable film and could have been the start of a great franchise.

23:25 - 02:25
BBC2 Scotland
: Magnolia
Talking of Tom Cruise and his great performances, here's one of his best. This ensemble film has another excellent cast with Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly, Tom Cruise, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jason Robards, Alfred Molina, etc, etc. Moore, Hoffman and Cruise give superb performances in the film from Paul Thomas Anderson. Another that's a bit too hard to explain as it looks at several different threads of stories which intersect and relate to each other in some way or other. Well worth seeing.

23:40 - 01:30
: The Road to Guantanamo (Filmstalker review)
A strong film from Michael Winterbottom that tells the story of some UK citizens who were picked up as terrorists by the US government and put in Guantanamo prison indefinitely. The film tells their stories and how they came to end up being treated as guilty terrorists without a word to their defence. It's a scary and sickening film, but does lack a little in the editing department. Still that shouldn't put you off seeing their story and finding out what an injustice has been done to them.

01:25 - 03:00
: The Sniper
I have no idea about this film what so ever, but I just thought it looked interesting. This 1952 film tells the story of a loner with a high powered rifle who begins to murder people seemingly at random. The police are baffled until they turn to a psychologist to help understand him and track him down. It sounds interesting, and a scarily relevant subject even today.

14:00 - 16:30
: The Battle of Midway
This was on a few months back, but the film that tells the story of the Japanese attack on Midway in June 1942, filmed as the events happened, is a terrifying account of the battle and the aftermath. The narration is provided by some very recognisable voices, Henry Fonda being one of them, and even features the voice of James Roosevelt. John Ford's documentary is worth watching.

15:55 - 18:05
: Breakfast at Tiffany's (Filmstalker review)
It took me such a long time to see this film, and I had so many misconceptions about it. Romantic comedy I always thought, and then when I did see it I realised that this is a dark and insightful look at two very real people, it's definitely not your Hollywood love story between two idyllic characters. They are complex, flawed and quite dark and troubled, and yet through all their facades the two characters are drawn to each other.

21:30 - 23:55
: The Russia House
Well since Sean Connery won't be in Indiana Jones IV, let's see him in something that he's good in. This story coes from the John le Carré novel and is adapted for the screen by Tom Stoppard with Fred Schepisi directing. As far as I can remember it is a good tale, although slower paced than one might expect. It carries a good cast too with Connery, Michelle Pfieffer, Roy Scheider, James Fox and J.T. Walsh attracting my eye. It has been a while since I've seen this film, but I do remember Connery to be pretty good in it, and not his usual character either.

22:00 - 00:20
: The X Files

Hotdog-xsmall.gif22:30 - 00:25
BBC2 Scotland
American History X
Number 43 in the top 250 on IMDB for a reason, it's a stunning film from Tony Kaye and David McKenna starring Edward Norton firing on all cylinders, plus an extra few. What is interesting about this is that in a time over mollycoddling and over political correctness, this film can get shown, although I'm sure it won't be without complaints. Don't get me wrong though, it's a stunning film and one that should be seen as beneath the realism and harshness there's a huge tale to be told. It certainly is, as one of the user comments on IMDB says, one of the most powerful films I've ever seen.

It tells the story of a former neo-nazi played by Norton who coes out of prison and tries to prevent his younger brother, played by Edward Furlong, from going down the same road of hate and aggression that he did. A blistering performance from Norton.

00:55 - 03:10
: The Russia House

Are We Done Yet? (PG)
Ice Cube was once a gangster rapper. Oh yes he was. Really. Now he's running around on kids film sets. Here he is on his latest family comedy which sees two newlyweds and their two kids move into the suburbs for a better life, but a contractor, played by John C. McGinley, comes in and begins to wreck their ideal lives. Sounds terrible, and definitely not for me, or anyone else considering it is sitting with a two out of ten on IMDB!

Hotdog-xsmall.gifOcean's Thirteen (PG)
Already this film is racing up the ratings with the winning formula of style, huge name cast, and bags of fun. You have to love these films, and it does look like the guys are all having fun on set too. This story has a new Casino owner called Willie Bank, played by Al Pacino, double cross Reuben Tishkoff, the character played by Elliot Gould, out of his new casino deal. So the Ocean gang come along to his aid and hatch a plan to bankrupt the man on opening night. Huge setups, big laughs, and slick in script and filming. What can go wrong?

The City of Violence (Jjakpae) (18)
A Korean film that follows a detective who fights organised crime returning to his hometown for a high school friend's funeral. There he meets his other old friends and finds that there's something not quite right about the death so he starts investigating. Meanwhile one of his other friends is doing the same, and they being to converge to the same answer and the same final trial.

Black Gold (U)
This is the documentary about coffee and coffee farmers, and the huge gap in reality between their struggling life and that of the corporations involved in the coffee industry, even the so called fair trade coffee industry.

The Tiger's Tail (18)
I haven't heard anything of this film, but just take a second to listen to the cast list, Brendan Gleeson, Kim Cattrall, Ciarán Hinds and Sinéad Cusack. Sounds good doesn't it? Well anything with Hinds should sound good, but this sounds even better. The plot outline is scant, after an accidental encounter an average man begins to be stalked by a violent man who appears to be identical to himself. The film is also written and directed by John Boorman, and that has me even more interested. I would suspect that if you're not seeing Oceans Thirteen this weekend, or even if you are and can afford a second film, this one's for you.

Not Here To Be Loved (15)
Patrick Chesnais plays a man who has taken over his fathers business and finds himself living a dreary and dull life. One day, on a whim, he heads across to the dance studio that his office is across the road from and starts tango lessons. There he meets a younger woman played by Anne Consigny, she tells him that his mother was her babysitter when she was a child, and from there a romance begins. The film has been described as a slow-burner and an intelligent and grown-up romance. It might be a film for the French film fans out there, or if you're just fancying something different. The date film for the weekend?

Taking Liberties (12A)
This is a documentary that looks at the Labour Government's slow erosion of civil liberties, as seen by the filmmaker Chris Atkins. It looks at the changes in the promises of the Labour party, and the affect that their policies have had on the people of the country. I couldn't attend the press screening when it was on recently, but I couldn't believe that there was that evidence or civil injustice in the UK, indeed when I saw the trailer online I didn't agree with some of the claims and thought that it seemed a biased and over inflated film. However, I could well be wrong as it is only a trailer, and I might persuade myself to give it a go.

The Chumscrubber (Filmstalker review) (15)
I really enjoyed this film when I saw it, quite strange and yet it had a really strong and engaging story. It carries a superb performance from Jamie Bell and also stars Glen Close, Ralph Fiennes and Carrie-Anne Moss. It has soe good things to say about teenagers and adults and the complete lack of communication, but these aren't really very subtle. The performances are what really catch your eye though, and Close and Bell are standing out from the rest by far.

That's it. It's taken me hours to put this together believe it or not, it does every week, so get discussing. Are there any films there you like, or do you totally disagree with the choices and comments? What are you seeing or have you seen this weekend?



There's lots of films there I could of seen if I only had telly then it would have saved me adding them to my rental queue, oh well. I'm talking about films like A Midsummer's Night Dream, The Big Sleep, What About Bob, Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Butterfly Effect.

So true re Tom Cruise in Magnolia.

Definitely watching Ocean's 13 mainly for Al Pacino and many thanks for the heads up on a film starring Ciaran Hinds, I will definitely watch that too! ;)

P.S. Have you got plans on seeing Zodiac Rich?


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