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Weekend Films to Stalk

FilmCamera.jpgHere are the films from UK Terrestial and Freeview television that caught my eye as I browsed through the TV guide, 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 films I find interesting and enjoyable, and it's all about your opinions.

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

Enjoy it...and remember, it's only a film...

21:00 - 23:50
Film4: Gladiator
This was on a couple of weeks ago in the Weekend Films to Stalk. Strong performances, huge script and wonderfully filmed. For me though the stand out moment is Oliver Reed making the comeback of all time and giving the performance of his life. Sure, Russell Crowe is good too, but just watch Joaquin Pheonix. Ridley Scott's film of Roman politics and Gladiators is fantastic entertainment.

22:00 - 00:35
ITV2: A Few Good Men
A classic moment of cinema, "You can't handle the truth", and some great performances. There's the always supporting Kevin Pollak who I discussed earlier in the week, there's Demi Moore giving a strong performance and looking wonderful in uniform too, then there are the excellent talents of J.T. Walsh, Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson never mind a few great supports from Kevin Bacon and a nasty Keifer Sutherland. A military lawyer, who doesn't hold much stock in the military side of his career, goes head to head with the might of the command after two Marines are charged with murder, a murder which was ordered by their superiors. A fantastic film and full of great performances, yes even Cruise, and superb direction by Rob Reiner.

22:30 - 00:40
: The Hard Way
John Badham directs Michael J. Fox and James Woods in this comedy with some strong drama elements about a film star, played by Fox, who has to research the real life of cops gets partnered with one of those real, gritty cops, Woods is the man. Of course they grate and don't get on, they wind each other up, but something happens as well. Behind all that there's a growing respect, and before long that partnership starts to build. It's a good fun film, and really does give both actors a good shot at showboating. Woods is just brilliant, and I think it's a real shame that another great US series was killed off, perhaps overly due to mis-scheduling once again.

12:55 - 14:45
Five: Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze
Can anyone remember this film? Made just five years after i was born I remember seeing this on telly when I was young and being captivated. I love the IMDB one line plot summary for this.

Doc and the Amazing Five battle Captain Seas and "the green death" for control of a fabulous resource.

How cool does that sound? Honestly though I can't remember much else about this film, it seems so long ago since I saw it. Can anyone remember it? Did you actually see it?

14:40 - 17:20
: Tora! Tora! Tora!
Once again this is on TV, and I was convinced I wrote about it in a previous weekend of film stalking, however I can't find it, so...This is perhaps one of the best films about the attack on Pearl Harbour ever, full stop. It is pretty unrelenting in the way it looks into the series of mistakes and some of the incidents of sheer incompetance and arrogance on the part of the Americans that allowed the attack to be such a surprise, especially when you see how many chances they had to avert it and how early they could have intervened. That aside it is also a star studded film and was directed and written by both American and Japanese talent - something that so often gets missed when talking about this film. I know it's a long one, and technically it has already started, but if you're a fan of factual and/or war films, this is a cracker to watch.

21:00 - 21:55
: Jekyll
Not a film but a mini-series, and I'm not ashamed to blatantly promote this. Douglas Mackinnon directs three of the six episodes of the modern take on the Jekyll and Hyde story starring James Nesbitt and Michelle Ryan. Nesbitt plays both the characters superbly, and although at times it can be a little extreme, almost pantomime, the mixture of serious drama and comedy is superb. The tone switches so easily, and you with it. It also has some incredibly clever ideas tied in with it and is well worth a look. I would think that Hollywood should be looking at this as a chance for a modern film on the legendary character. Douglas? Fancy it?

21:00 - 23:05
: Memento
Classic moments in cinema are often marked by inspired choices and something new. Memento marks that by taking a film in reverse, not literally, but in story telling terms. The scenes order plays backwards and the reveal is in fact the beginning. I believe even viewed the right way round the film still delivers a strong punch. Excellent example of intelligent filmmaking and writing from the Nolan brothers (not sisters!) and superb acting from Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano.

21:00 - 23:40
: A Few Good Men

23:05 - 01:05
: Braindead
I finally saw this last year and it was silly, funny and hard to believe it came from the mind of the man that brought us the fantastic Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are some superb moments both visually and script wise to be had, although I don't really think it is all it has been hyped up to be, I did struggle with it a few times. Still, it is most definitely worth a watch.

23:40 - 02:00
: The Silence of the Lambs
I can't help but watch this every time it is on telly. Silence of the Lambs brings out a couple of great performances from Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. I don't think that Hopkins has been able to replicate his Hannibal as well since, and he has become more of a jokey version since, but here he is perfectly evil. I do still prefer Brian Cox's Lecter from Manhunter, but Hopkins is more refined and slicker, Cox is rougher and more calculating. Jonathan Demme builds tension superbly and keeps us on the edge of our seat throughout, building us up even through the quietest of scenes. Fantastic film and well worth watching.

21:00 - 00:25
: The Green Mile
This is one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King story that there is, it probably ranks in the top five of his films. Frank Darabont brings us the story of some guards on death row who are awaiting the execution of a man that seems to have magical powers when it comes to healing. There's a host of great actors in here, and they all give strong performances. It's a moving and sentimental tale that does manage to draw you in. Michael Clarke Duncan is superb and shouldn't be overshadowed by the other performances, and one of my favourite actors is in it too, David Morse.

22:00 - 00:10
Channel 4
: 28 Days Later
The first story that allegedly redefined the zombie genre. I know that even saying it is a zombie film will upset some, but you know it is a zombie film, and for those who want to call it a thriller, well you must be one of those serial genre labelling people. The premise is strong, and some of the visuals are superb, even if character decisions often are irritating and blatantly stupid. I particularly hate it when the taxi driver, who has been wise enough to build a fortress in his home and setup a fantastic protection system against the zombies, decides to start camping out in the woods with everyone taking valium to sleep...nice. There's a few moments like this that made me scratch my head, and often I'm not a fan of some of the style choices, however overall it's a very enjoyable film with a great concept.

What will you watch? Wherever you are, what did you watch or are you going to be watching this weekend? Has anything surprised you from the past on telly or DVD?

New this week...
The Roland Joffé directed film that has been garnering a lot of negative press with the degrading media label "torture porn". I hate that as it immediately stigmatises a piece of film that so many people have worked hard on producing, and with some very strong and talented names behind it. People already know what the film is about without having an overly negative image assigned to it. I'm definitely going to watch this now just because of that genre labelling and I'm going to review it for being another film and nothing more. Elisha Cuthbert stars as a girl kidnapped and subjected to series of tortures for which she has no idea why she has been subjected to. The Pit and the Pendulum - torture porn!

La Vie en Rose (La Môme)
The biopic of Edith Piaf that has been receiving some mixed reviews, however overall it has been rated quite well. There's a strong cast here and the lead, Marion Cotillard, has been getting some great comments. I'm keen to see this, although I'm not sure how genuinely interesting in the whole tale I am.

Lucky You
Is this the start of a poker film run? Well apparently so, and this one starring Eric Bana and Drew Barrymoore with other notable names such as Robert Duvall, Robert Downey Jr. and Debra Messing, all make it sound appealing. However I've heard that the concentration is more on the standard love story set against the world of poker rather than anything else and the world of poker really does take a back seat.

Still out there...
Vacancy (Filmstalker review)
You know this isn't going to set the world alight for being something totally different, but it is different enough. Forgive the couple of cliché moments up front and you'll find that the film approaches the premise that we've seen before with some fresh eyes, and it avoids a lot of the typical Hollywood clichés later on. Nimród Antal directs Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale in the story of two people trapped in a hotel in the middle of nowhere about to be victims of some horrible snuff film gang. However they aren't going to go out that easily, and by believing that they have something worth fighting to survive for, they just might have a chance. I did enjoy this, and Wilson shows a strong dramatic performance. However it is Frank Whaley who steals the show as far as acting goes.

Ne le dis à personne (Tell No One) (Filmstalker review)
A very powerful and superbly crafted French thriller adapted from the Harlan Coben novel. Why it is being purely marketed as an English language film I don't know, a few people I've talked to now have been confused about that. However put that aside and go and see it, you'll really enjoy the film, and although it'll never truly grab you and shake you about, you'll find you're drawn into the story and really care about the characters - that's not always the case in Hollywood.

Ocean's Thirteen
The crew are back on form I hear, and the film provides more style and entertainment than you'd expect. Mind you with that salary bill wouldn't you expect it? The usual names are in place and the ante is officially upped. Will there be a fourteen? Of course, as long as we're all paying to see this one and there's a profit after all those deductions!



Definitely catching La Vie en Rose and after talking with you today, might check out Ne le dis à personne aka Tell No One

Richard, I thought you loved the Ocean films, how come you havent seen the new one yet - so many films so little time? :P

I don't love them, I liked the first film but haven't seen the second. I think I will go and see the third pretty soon though, just not enough time.


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