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Weekend Films to Stalk: 5th to 7th October

FilmCamera.jpgWow, this is a packed weekend and promises a fair mix of films on both television and cinema. There's just about every aspect of entertainment covered this weekend, so if it turns out to be poor weather, you can sit in and watch the television, or head out to the cinema and get stuck into a new, or current, release.

Remember that although these are UK listings, the discussion on the films is for everyone. See if there's anything in here that you wouldn't have picked out, or that you don't agree with.

Finally, tell us all what you watched this weekend.

18:50 - 21:00
: A Room With a View
Repeated: Film4+1 19:50 - 22:00
Date: 1985
UK Certificate: PG
An all star British cast in a classic film which was at the height of British costume drama from the hugely successful Merchant-Ivory team. The film stars Helena Bonham Carter as a naive girl who is on a trip to Florence and has her first sexual encounter. When she returns home she is ill at ease and unhappy with her life. It also stars Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, Daniel Day-Lewis, Julian Sands and Judi Dench.

21:00 - 23:35
: Die Hard
Repeated: ITV2+1 22:00 - 00:35
Date: 1989
UK Certificate: 18
I started watching this the other night and forgot just how solid and entertaining it is, mainly for the first appearance of John McClane but also for the fantastic performance from the delicious villain of Alan Rickman. There are so many great quotes and great moments, well worth revisiting and it never gets old. It's interesting to see this now so close after Die Hard 4.0 (Live Free or Die Hard) (Filmstalker review), it feels like the same character and they really did manage to capture many of the strengths of the original.

21:00 - 22:50
: Mean Girls
Repeated: Film4+1 22:00 - 23:50
Date: 2004
UK Certificate: 12A
You for all the stigma that could be attached to this film what with Lindsay Lohan starring and the content being a little light and perhaps similar to other films on the same topic of getting on at school as the newcomer, I'm surprised at how much it manages to stand out and entertain. I'm not saying it's manically different like Heathers, but it does have some moments, and a few strong ones too. It also has its own sense of humour that it turns on itself too, and it shows Lohan in a good light, as well as Rachel McAdams. Fun stuff with some giggles too.

22:35 - 00:05
: Phone Booth
Repeated: E4+1 23:35 - 01:05
Date: 2002
UK Certificate: 15
Keifer Sutherland never appears in this film where he plays the bad guy and is heard on screen for almost the entire film's length. Instead we see Colin Farrell for the most part, and he delivers a very strong and convincing performance. I'm surprised at the names in this film from Joel Schumacher that I actually did rather enjoy, Forest Whitaker, Radha Mitchell and Katie Holmes appear too. A guy is trapped in a phone booth by a sniper who seems to want to toy with him before he kills him, and the unseen sniper seems to know a little too much about his life. Just what's going on?

00:35 - 02:25
: The Postman Always Rings Twice
Date: 1946
UK Certificate: PG
This is actually the second remake of the James M. Cain novel. This stars Lana Turner as the married woman who falls in love with John Garfield's drifter character and together plot to murder her husband. The original film is Ossessione with the first remake Le Dernier tournant, although they really are different takes on the original novel rather than direct remakes by today's standards. From what I've heard this version is the sexiest and the most smouldering on screen, and was also Lana Turner's own favourite performance.

13:00 - 14:55
: The Return of the Musketeers
Repeated: More4+1 14:00 - 15:55
Date: 1989
UK Certificate: PG
Oh I love these Musketeer films starring Michael York, Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay and Richard Chamberlain as the great Musketeers themselves. It's a superbly fun film and stars great names starting with these actors and including C. Thomas Howell, Kim Cattrall, Roy Kinnear, Christopher Lee, Philippe Noiret, and so on. There's laughs and swashbuckling adventure to be had that I still think out does the swashbuckling-ness of the Pirates series. I honestly can't stop watching them when they are on.

16:10 - 18:45
: The King and I
Date: 1956
UK Certificate: U
Interestingly the newer version from 1999, the happy animated version, was playing on Five at 15:40. However this is the real King and I with the fantastic Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner just eating up the screen every time he appears. Brynner is one of those traditional Hollywood stars that belongs on screen, and I just revel in any performance he gives. The musical story of a widow who accepts a job as a live-in governess of the King of Siam's children is delightful, and so iconic from my youth. I guarantee you'lld recognise the songs, you'll start humming a few, and you'll definitely have a smile, and perhaps a tear, before the end. Wonderful stuff and a perfect example of old Hollywood.

17:10 - 19:55
: Where Eagles Dare
Date: 1968
UK Certificate: PG (full version)
The story is adapted from an Alistair MacLean novel by the man himself and is a superb war thriller. I remember watching this for the first time and getting a genuine surprise from it. Of course it stars the man who helped my Mum decide my name, Richard Burton, who quite frankly, is one of the best British screen actors of all time. He's joined by Clint Eastwood for a story of, what appears to be, an Allied raid on a Nazi stronghold to rescue an American General who is being held prisoner. Yet not everything, or everyone, is as they seem. This is another classic Hollywood film, but at the other end of the spectrum from The King and I!

19:45 - 22:00
: Flash Gordon
Repeated: Sun 12:45 - 14:55, ITV2 20:15
Date: 1980
UK Certificate: PG
"Flash, Flash I love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!" - There are tons of lines in this film that are memorable, and despite the cheesiness and the dated effects, there are some great moments of adventure and suspense in the big screen telling of the classic Flash Gordon science fiction story. Oh, and let's not forget the stunning Queen soundtrack, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow, Topol, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed, Sam J. Jones, even Richard O'Brien and a young Robbie Coltrane. Cracking fun for all the family, and for the Dad's there's Melody!

21:05 - 11:05
: Sleepy Hollow
Date: 1999
UK Certificate: 15
I never really took to this film when it was released, and judging by the marks on IMDB it isn't exactly setting the world alight for you either. Tim Burton's film version of the tale of the Headless Horseman stars Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, Richard Griffiths, Ian McDiarmid and Christopher Walken as the horseman himself. I don't really know what to say about the film, I just didn't like it, but I know that a lot of people did. I almost didn't put it on the list.

21:45 - 00:10
: The Mummy
Repeated: ITV2+1 22:45 - 01:10, Sun 20:15 - 22:40, Sun ITV2+1 21:15 - 23:40
Date: 1999
UK Certificate: 15 (DVD)
Stephen Sommers creates one hell of a monster in, and with, this film. It sparked a franchise that might just live through some big character and location changes, but it created a hero, sidekick, femme fatale and adversary that really drew you into the story and the film. Sommers did a great job, and it was made so much easier by Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo and John Hannah. Excellent laughs and adventure as a Mummy returns from the dead to reclaim his love, and that just happens to require the body of Evelyn Carnahan, however her macho admirer and feeble brother just can't let that happen.

22:00 - 01:00
: Thirteen Days
Repeated: Sun 21:00 - 00:00
Date: 2000
UK Certificate: 12
This is a stunning film that really piles on the the pressure to the audience, and to the actors, for they all have to put in great performances, and they do, almost effortlessly. I think this is one of Kevin Costner's best performances, and Bruce Greenwood and Steven Culp are fantastic as the Kennedy brothers. There are stars galore in the film that tells of the time when the U.S. and Russia came the closest to nuclear war that we've ever seen in the history of the planet. You really do get a sense of the urgency and pressure that the Kennedy's were under at the time, and they don't get given any favours in this close look at how everyone behaved in the crisis. A stunning film.

23:00 - 00:50
: Crimson Tide
Date: 1995
UK Certificate: 15
Casting is sometimes genius, and this most certainly is. Gene Hackman faces up to Denzel Washington onboard a U.S. nuclear submarine that receives broken orders to launch their nuclear missile payload. They dive as per procedure which also tells them not to return to the surface for clarification. However the Captain's First Officer believe's they should check, while the Captain is set on firing. A stand off follows and each gathers crew members behind them. This stunningly tense film is superbly caught by Tony Scott and he drives excellent performances from both Washington and Hackman, who just so happens to be one of my favourite actors of all time. Viggo Mortensen, James Gandolfini, Rick Schroder, Steve Zahn, Matt Craven and George Dzundza are all familiar faces on board the sub.

23:00 - 00:55
Five US
: Crash
Date: 1996
UK Certificate: 18
No, this one's the rather rude, and rather sexy, David Cronenberg film starring James Spader, Holly Hunter, Deborah Kara Unger, Elias Koteas and Rosanna Arquette. You can see why it's sexy already. A man is involved in a serious car accident and afterwards discovers a strange underground sub-culture of car crash fetishists. He feels drawn to it and so brings his wife along for the ride. It is a bizarre film in places, but in others you can find some understanding and interesting commentary on relationships. Typically Cronenberg, although I would say not as controversial as you would be led to believe by the marketing.

23:05 - 00:50
: Deathwatch
Date: 2002
UK Certificate: 15
I'm putting this film up here because I believe it's something I have to see. I've had it mentioned to me before, and I even remember taking a mental note of it when it first came out, but I've never seen it. So I need your guidance here. Most notably it stars Jamie Bell in the lead role as a soldier on the Western front in World War I in 1917, it also stars Andy Serkis and Hugo Spear. As they reach the most forward German trench they capture an enemy soldier who tells them that there is evil here that forced them to kill each other, and that's exactly what begins happening. Has anyone seen it and can comment?

23:25 - 01:35
Film4: Night Watch (Filmstalker review)
Repeated: Film4+1 00:25 - 02:35
Date: 2004
UK Certificate: 15
Although there were a few films before this that started opening up the world's eyes to Russian cinema, this is the film that really snapped them alert. Night Watch, or Nochnoy dozor, comes from Writer/Director Timur Bekmambetov who helped adapt the screenplay from the Sergei Lukyanenko novel. This first film in the trilogy is superb, the story is epic and very real, pulled into the grime and the darkness of the city and human failings, and the style is amazing, it almost out does Matrix for the amazing special effects and unusual, but highly effective, direction. Definitely has to be seen, all subtitles should be made this way.

01:35 - 04:30
Film4: Thief
Repeated: Film4+1 02:35 - 05:30
Date: 1981
UK Certificate: X - 18 (Video)
This is one of Michael Mann's early films and has the excellent James Caan leading as the thief who is looking to try and go straight and signs up to do a big job for the Mafia, unfortunately their plans have something else in store. The film also stars Willie Nelson, Dennis Farina and James Belushi, and I feel ashamed to say I haven't watched this entire film yet. Thief is marked as a stand out point at the beginning of Mann's career, and supposedly it is an excellent one. Would you agree?

16:25 - 19:00
Film4: Henry V
Repeated: Film4+1 17:25 - 20:00
Date: 1944
UK Certificate: -
The full title of this Laurence Olivier directed epic is actually The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France, and sees the great Olivier in what some would regard as his finest moment, playing the titular King Henry V. This is the great Sharespearean play that was filmed with a secondary task in mind, to try and boost the morale of British troops during World War II. King Henry V leads the dissident factions of the English Army against the enormous numbers of the French at Agincourt, and crushes them to defeat. A stunning film with some amazing memorable lines and speeches. Inspiring to say the least, and providing a little culture for the weekend.

22:50 - 01:00
C4: Alien
Date: 1979
UK Certificate: X - 18 (Video)
What is there to say about Alien, it's a classic that still holds all of its power to this day, and to think that it was made in 1979. The science fiction holds up without a falter, the creature effects are still superior to today's Alien films, but what holds out best is the sparse dialogue, Sigourney Weaver and those tunnels. An absolute classic that there's really not that much more to say about. It still grabs me as it did back then, although I see the scare moments coming now!

New Releases:

Day Watch (Filmstalker review)
UK Certificate: 15
Not as strong as Night Watch (see above), but it is still a superb film that takes the story a bit further than the first, although not that much further since so much of the first half seems wasted on a plot line that goes nowhere and some rather irrelevant distractions. The effects are still amazing, although not as superb as the original. It really does lay down the story for the final, English language film.

The Kingdom (Filmstalker review)
UK Certificate: 15
Some say that this is CSI in Saudi Arabia, some are saying that it doesn't examine the relationship between the Middle East and the West enough and it's too simplistic, well I'd love to see a film that is this powerful, realistic and crammed with suspense and manages to address that incredibly complex relationship - it wouldn't even see the FBI team leave the U.S., never mind even speaking to anyone there. As for the CSI comparison, well it's true that there's a team of people who investigate a crime, they are the FBI investigating a crime after all, but that's where it ends. There's no need for a comparison, and this is not a documentary. Shove those kind of reviews in the bin for they are just trying to get themselves noticed. This film is superb. You know I really like Peter Berg, and I'm really loving the Carnahan brother's work.

Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle (Filmstalker review)
UK Certificate: PG
I really enjoyed this first full Gaellic film from Scotland in twenty five years, don't be put off by the fact that it's Scottish or Gaellic, normally these words might make you think that it's a very isolated film, but this isn't true. Like The Flying Scotsman, this is truly an international film. BAFTA should be ashamed that they aren't putting this forward for the British entry under the foreign language film category in the Oscars.

And When Did You Last See Your Father?
UK Certificate: 12A
This British film has been receiving strong reviews. Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent star as son and father who have the typical distanced father and son relationship. In his later years though, the character played by Firth, encounters a new understanding of his father through his own fatherhood. It may sound a familiar subject, and indeed it is, but the way the story comes through and the relationships are quite unique I'm told. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

UK Certificate: 15
The biographical film of Ian Curtis, the singer of Joy Division who despite all his talent, committed suicide at aged twenty three.

Still Showing:
3:10 to Yuma (Filmstalker review)
UK Certificate: 15
A return to the great western films, and from all accounts it's a very strong start. This is a remake of an old western and tells the story of a normal man who is deputised to help transport a vicious killer to the 3:10 train out of Yuma, but his gang are hot on their trail and have other ideas. Christian Bale is the good guy and Russell Crowe is the bad.

UK Certificate: 15
The film adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel from Director Joe Wright starring Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Vanessa Redgrave, and Brenda Blethyn. The film tells the story of three peoples lives that are changed forever after the telling of a lie when one of them was young, and looks at the process of atoning for one's wrong doings. The film is getting great reviews and looks stunning to watch.

Michael Clayton
UK Certificate: 15
I'm really keen to see this latest thriller starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sydney Pollack and Michael O'Keefe. Written and directed by Tony Clayton who is currently rewriting State of Play for the American remake and also wrote the screenplays for The Bourne series, this marks his directorial debut. A story about a fixer for a large law firm who finds that in his latest clean up he has a crisis of faith and begins to believe more about the truth than the money, and that makes him a liability. Pretty soon he's trying to protect himself from being cleaned up.

UK Certificate: 15
Jason Statham plays the FBI Agent tracking down the assassin who killed his partner, Jet Li is that assassin. Action galore, but a good dose of the old thriller as well. It's actually getting some strong reviews, and I really do enjoy Statham on screen so why not?



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