Weekend Films to Stalk: 19th to 21st October
There's a pretty good list of films on British television this weekend, and as always this isn't just about what to watch, there's plenty to discuss to as I pull out the films I like the best and talk about them.
Not just television though, there's film too, and the new releases in the cinema that you should go and see.
Enjoy, I've been tapping away for hours!
13:50 - 15:30
Channel4: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
Steve Martin and Rachel Ward star in this hilarious and inventive film by Carl Reiner. The most amazing thing about this film is the mixing of old film clips with these actors to produce some new film noir story that intersects them all. It's cleverly done, and the usual Steve Martin style is pulled in just a little. Couple that with the stunning femme fatale of Rachel Ward and you have a superb film that's a delight to watch, of course you have to appreciate the old film noir to really get the most out of it.
Ward plays Juliet who enlists the services of the PI Rigby Reardon, played by Martin, to find out what really happened to her father. He was reported killed in a car crash, but Juliet thinks otherwise. He was a cheese scientist working on a new secret recipe, and all she has from the accident are two lists, Friends of Carlotta and Enemies of Carlotta...and so he goes to work.
18:40 - 21:00
Channel4: Some Like It Hot
This classic film from Billy Wilder stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon filled with memorable moments and classic scenes, including the wonderful Marilyn Munroe. A highly rated comedy that sees Tony Curtis pretending to be a woman as well as turning on his best Cary Grant impersonation.
Curtis and Lemmon play two musicians who witness a mob hit and decide to flee the state disguised as women and hiding out with an all female band. Comedy ensues.
21:05 - 00:40
ITV3: The Right Stuff
Repeated: ITV3 01:45 - 05:00
Philip Kaufman adapted the Tom Wolfe novel and directed this excellent film that charts the early pioneers of space flight, from the test pilots who flew as far into the atmosphere as they could, right through to the first astronauts. It has an excellent cast of Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Lance Henriksen and any other recognisable faces, and won four Oscars for the portrayal of the men involved in this almost insane task of leaving Earth.
There are some great moments in the film, and I love the way that the old test pilots who flew to the furthest reaches of Earth's atmosphere are portrayed when they become yesterday's news to the new breed of astronauts. To be honest there are so many memorable moments, one that springs to mind is the suit wetting incident!
An excellent film, well worth watching, worthy of a Filmstalker Hotdog Award.
22:35 - 00:20
E4: Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Steve Martin and John Candy star in this comedy about a man, played by Martin, stranded on Thanksgiving, trying to get home to his family. He meets up with similarly stranded salesman, Candy, and together they set out to try and get home using any transport they can find.
I remember finding this hilarious when it came out, and since then I think I've only seen one repeat. I wonder if it will be worth seeing again and how well it'll hold up? How have you felt about it when you've seen it recently?
22:55 - 01:35
Film4: Fight Club
Repeated: Film4+1 23:55 - 02:35
You know I'd like to talk about Fight Club...David Fincher has undoubtedly created an iconic film of our time taht has even crept into our day to day language. How many times since this film was released have you heard that phrase "The first rule of..." used in some other context?
The film stars Brad Pitt and Edward Norton delivering their top performances with Helena Bonham Carter and Meat Loaf providing superb supporting roles. Norton plays an average man who has an average life and is thoroughly bored, that is until he meets Tyler Durden and begins to discover that there's more to life than he's been experiencing. Slowly they begin to build an underground club which is all about venting their modern frustrations, and so Fight Club begins.
Definitely another Filmstalker Hotdog Award for the weekend entertainment.
00:50 - 02:35
BBC1: Grosse Pointe Blank
Oh I love this film, and how could you not? It's superbly written and marks a highpoint in John Cusack's career, retaining the standing that he once held when he was in films such as Say Anything and The Sure Thing. He's become bigger since, but I would argue that he hasn't had such a great all round role and film again. He's had some strong, and indeed dramatically better roles, but as an all round film this one takes the lead for me, and I have to award another Filmstalker Hotdog.
Cusack plays a hitman, top of his game, who is having thoughts of finally retiring just as a small mid-life crisis seems to be striking him. So when he's persuaded to go to his high school reunion by his P.A., he does, and he meets friends and enemies he forgot all about, as well as his high school sweetheart played by Minnie Driver. It's not all fun though, he has a contract to carry out too, and when he sees the hit his crisis of faith hits a peak and his arch rival is not far behind to try and steal the glory.
Superb fun and cleverly written film. When films really do deserve sequels...
01:35 - 04:00
Film4: The Truth about Cats and Dogs
Repeated: Film4+1 02:35 - 05:00
I'm not really sure why I'm putting this film in, other than the strong cast of Uma Thurman, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Chaplin and even Jamie Foxx. That, and of course it is actually a good fun film. I think I've seen it twice now and it does have a lot of heart and laughter.
13:00 - 14:30
More4: A Matter of Life and Death
Yes I know there are a lot of Hotdogs being given out this weekend, but the films really are deserving of it. This is another classic that I've seen quite a few times now and love every time I see it. The scale is grand, and the actors are wonderful, including David Niven, Kim Hunter and Roger Livesey with an appearance by a very young Richard Attenborough.
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger direct a story of a pilot, played by Niven, who contacts a local RAF station and strikes up an unlikely connection with a young operator played by Kim Hunter. His plane is about to crash land just off the coast of Britain, his crew have escaped but there's no parachute for him and he's about to jump to his certain death. Except he doesn't die, and he is found on the shore by the very woman he was talking to on the radio.
However there's been a mix up in heaven and he should have been taken back, but by the time the mistake has been realised he and the woman have fallen in love. There is a chance though, if he can defend his case he could return to Earth and stay with her. It's a very long shot though and he needs a good defense.
It's a beautiful film that is wonderfully shot and written and is an absolute classic. Honestly believe me when I say it's well worth watching.
14:40 - 16:45
John Badham directs Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy in this superb film that had us all wanting to be hackers. It is no doubt that this film still stands the test of time, even with the Hollywood portrayal of computers, which today is much further from reality than with WarGames. The story is superbly written and adapted, bringing through a sense of building urgency and tension.
The story sees Broderick's character as a young hacker, showing off to Sheedy's character with his computer skills. At first he changes her grades at school, and before long he's hacking into a computer system that offers varying degrees of games, one is Global Thermo Nuclear War. He takes up the offer and the U.S. computer that controls the entire defense network begins the game, except it will respond for real.
16:45 - 17:30
STV: Dr No
The first of the big screen Bond outings stars Sean Connery as the man himself, one of the most successful Bond's of all time, with Ursula Andress making her legendary exit from the water. It's a great adventure for Bond, if looking somewhat dated, and Connery instantly makes his mark as Bond.
18:50 - 21:00
Film4: Breakfast at Tiffany's (Filmstalker review)
Repeated: Film4+1 19:50 - 22:00
Blake Edwards directs Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in this rather strange tale which I discovered late in life. I always thought that the film was a simple romance, but there's much more to it than that and it's a much darker tale too. Great performances from both actors remind us that there was much more to Peppard than a Saturday afternoon television series. Here he plays a male escort who befriends a troubled socialite, and they begin to find solace and companionship with each other. However will they once again run from something real?
21:00 - 00:25
Film4: The Green Mile
Repeated: Film4+1 22:00 - 01:25
Frank Darabont directs Tom Hanks, David Morse. Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Sam Rockwell and Harry Dean Stanton in the Stephen King adaptation, perhaps one of the best to date. The Green Mile is a magical tale that really does touch the heart and sees Michael Clarke Duncan's best performance ever.
He plays a man on death row, accused of murdering two young girls. However it seems he may have been wrongly accused, and as the guards on Death Row get to know him they discover he has something amazing to give.
One of the great things I like about this film is the fact that there are multiple stories together, and each of them are engaging in their own right, and it's the way they cross each others paths and build to a fantastic conclusion that really does make this film special.
22:00 - 00:00
Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward star in this seemingly pretty daft film which is hard to slip into a single genre, however it turns out that it's actually an enjoyable thriller with a helpful dose of comedy thrown in there. Bacon is, as always, very good and he's helped along by a superbly dry and tough Ward. These two make an excellent screen pairing.
The film sees the residents of a small desert town plagued by a strange creature that seems to be tunnelling underneath them. Surrounded, and with their options dwindling they have to find an escape.
22:50 - 01:05
Five US: Higher Learning
Now I do remember seeing this film, vaguely, and I have the soundtrack in my CD collection, but really I can't remember a thing about it. John Singleton directs Jennifer Connelly, Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Omar Epps, Kirsty Swanson, Michael Rapaport, Tyra Banks, Cole Hauser even Busta Rhymes, and that list in itself should be interesting.
The film explores the clash of race and responsibility at University. Does anyone have a particular opinion on it? Is it a good film or not, and does it still have meaning?
23:20 - 01:25
Repeated: Sunday ITV2 13:45 - 15:40
Jan de Bont directs Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, Cary Elwes, Jami Gertz and even Philip Seymour Hoffman in a fun film, yes it's shallow, yes there's some tweeness, but the action and effects are still pretty good. There's no denying that de Bont can deliver great action films, and this is a pretty good one, not the best, but pretty good, and Bill Paxton is always great to watch.
23:55 - 01:50
BBC1: Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead
Although some of the in-language amongst the thieves can be a little grating, overall the thriller is pretty good and shows good performances from Andy Garcia and Christopher Lloyd. The other members of the gang who are being targeted are William Forsythe, Bill Nunn, Treat Williams and Steve Buscemi. The reason they are being targeted is that they botched a job for Christopher Walken, and he doesn't forgive easily.
They have to decide to escape and save themselves, but will they make it in time, and do they really want to leave? Garcia's character has just fallen for the lovely Gabrielle Anwar and he hasto see about his crew before he can leave.
02:10 - 03:45
Channel4: Beneath the Planet of the Apes
Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall star in the first sequel to Planet of the Apes, the original version that is, and sees the same events happen again. I can hardly remember the sequel or what it was about. Was it any good?
19:00 - 21:00
Film4: A Shot in the Dark
Repeated: Film4+1 20:00 - 22:00
Blake Edwards directs Peter Sellers as the classic Inspector Jacques Clouseau in his first solo outing. Herbert Lom and Burt Kwouk also appear, and unlike most sequels we see nowadays, this one is actually better. Forget that idiotic Steve Martin version and watch this, this is the real Clouseau, and Sellers and Edwards work here has me in tears of laughter time and time again. One of my favourite films of all time.
20:00 - 22:00
Five: Dirty Dancing
Don't let my fiancée find out that this is on, please! Jennifer Grey stars as the young girl who falls for her dance instructor in the holiday camp that her parents take her to. Patrick Swayze plays the instructor who dances her through a series of cracking songs and cheesy moments. The ladies love this film, and we know what that's down to, that damn Swayze!
21:00 - 23:40
Film4: Independence Day
Repeated: Film4+1 22:00 - 00:40
Roland Emmerich directs this cheesy, over the top, in your face, America is everything, action film. Which, if I can go against all of my better judgement, is actually rather enjoyable. Will Smith stars along with Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Randy Quaid, Adam Baldwin, Brent Spiner and Vivica A Fox. Now if only Pullman could really be President, the world would be an amazing place.
Simple plot, the aliens come to destroy Earth, and somehow a group of ragtag American's save the world. Well done them.
21:00 - 23:45
Repeated: Monday ITV3 00:40 - 03:10
The original that has just seen a remake by Kenneth Branagh was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz directs Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine in a film that really shows what a strong script, direction and two fantastic actors at the top of their game can produce. It's an excellent thriller that really does put so many films to shame. You should really make time to see this film.
22:30 - 00:45
ITV4: The Siege
Edward Zwick directs Denzel Washington, Annette Bening and Bruce Willis in this film about martial law is declared in New York city after terrorists string together a series of coordinated attacks. The FBI and CiA get together to try and hunt down the terrorist cells as troops head into New York and impose martial law, taking away the civil liberties of the American citizens.
22:55 - 00:55
Channel4: Gangster No 1
Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, Paul Bettany and Saffron Burrows star in this stylish British gangster film which shows the rise to power of a ruthless and powerful gangster. Paul Bettany really does come across very differently from a lot of his leading roles, this is a strong performance from him and he does grow into the character of McDowell. Violent, stylish, and pretty good script gives for a slightly different gangster film.
23:35 - 01:40
E4: The Rules of Attraction
Roger Avary directs James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, and Jessica Biel in a film which has received a little cult following of its own. This is an adaptation of a Bret Easton Ellis novel, and it's filled with style. The visual telling of the story is superbly done and really does grab your interest, and then there's the story which weaves together the individual characters threads with each other, overlapping in different times to an intersting conclusion, changing your understanding of each as they unfold. It's not an amazing film but it is different and works well.
23:40 - 01:55
The cast is what attracts me to the film because the story doesn't. For me Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Chris O'Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Hutton, John Lithgow, Tim Curry, Oliver Platt and Dylan Baker are the clinchers here, a superb cast and from all accounts a good film, however the story just doesn't attract me at all. Perhaps if you've seen it you can tell me otherwise!
01:15 - 03:05
STV: When Time Ran Out
Paul Newman, Jacqueline Bisset, William Holden, Edward Albert, Red Buttons and Barbara Carrera are part of a big cast disaster film where a volcano erupts on an idyllic South Pacific island holiday paradise for the rich. As usual they try and ignore the events, chosing not to believe anything is going to happen until it's too late. A disaster film with Paul Newman? Count me in! It's not The Towering Inferno but it's pretty close.
01:55 - 04:15
Repeated: Film4+1 02:55 - 05:15
Well it's been on a few times before, but this started a pretty cool franchise, and the first film is superb fun. Amazingly it was an unexpected surprise from Wes Craven, and there's a great cast that's been gathered together. I really enjoy the Scream series and this first one is really enjoyable and is going to stand out for a good while yet.
Day Watch (Filmstalker review)
It may not be as strong as Night Watch, but it's still a great film that does stand out as very different from the usual Hollywood fare. The visual effects don't quite stand up to the original as there are much less on the set pieces front, the story is also muddled with some useless plot threads in the first half, but it really does get going later on in the film.
Resident Evil: Extinction
I'm keen to see this, and I'd be keen to hear from anyone who has. Is it the best of the series? It certainly looks like it from the trailers and the footage to date.
It's amazing to believe that this film is creeping into the top 250 films from IMDB, in fact creeping isn't the right word, it's storming into eighty first place! More strong character based animation from Brad Bird.
This Ian McEwan novel adapted for the screen by Christopher Hampton and directed by Joe Wright, a story of three characters and what redemption means for them. It looks fantastically shot and is gaining rave reviews.
Genetically engineered sheep run amok and become cold blooded killers, human's panic and die horribly. Sounds fantastic, and this comedy horror has been getting some great reviews. “Get ready for the Violence of the Lambs!” is the tagline, fantastic.
The modern version of Nancy Drew arrives in Los Angeles and starts investigating an old haunted house. It seems like a pretty good version, but I'm not sure if it's going to appeal to the mass audience. Tell us as soon as you've seen it.
Stardust (Filmstalker review)
This is a great fun film, coming very close to The Princess Bride in it's comedy, adventure, epic-ness. I think it's fantastic fun and really does almost hit the mark as a film worthy of being compared to The Princess Bride. Go and see it for yourself.
The Dark is Rising (Filmstalker review)
I'm listing this film here so that you can avoid this film like the plague.
The Last Legion
I have to say after seeing the trailers for this film I'm not really that keen on watching this swashbuckling story of the Roman Empire crumbling and something or other with breasts, swords and yawn.
The review of this is coming, but I have to say it's an excellent film with an amazing turn in the tale. Jake Gyllenhaal is not the star in my eyes though, Abasi Fawal, Peter Sarsgaard and Alan Arkin give the best performances. Another good thing that this film doesn't do, is that it doesn't take a stance and manages to present a pretty well balanced view.
Current Top Ten
2. Resident Evil 3
3. The Heartbreak Kid
4. The Kingdom
5. Run, Fat Boy, Run
7. Bhool Bhulaiya
8. Laaga Chunari Mein Daag
9. Black Sheep
10. The Invasion