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Week's Films to Stalk: 26th October to 1st November

FilmCamera.jpgWelcome to Filmstalker's Week of Films to Stalk, previously known as the Weekend Films to Stalk. I've decided to expand this a little, especially as I was finding that I was catching good films during the week that I thought you should know about and that we could be discussing.

As always this list is for the films on UK Freeview, however that doesn't mean you can't discuss them with us, for instance why Cop Land is Sylvester Stallone's best film, or if John Travolta's Basic is any good. Things like that.

Friday is a right off though, apologies for that and the reason will become clear when I write about that on my blog, however the rest of the week is here and the format has slightly changed. You'll find a handy index on the left hand side for you to find the day, or the film title by.

Have a look for some great films this week such as Cleopatra, Elizabeth (we've been talking about this already), Goldfinger, Halloween (the original!), Star Wars VI, The Cassandra Crossing, The China Syndrome, and The Shining. Come on, that's some list of class films already.

26th Friday
19:00 - 21:00
: A Shot in the Dark
Repeated: Film4+1 20:00 - 22:00
Date: 1964
Directed by: Blake Edwards
Starring Peter Sellers as the superb Inspector Clouseau in his first full adventure, Herbert Lom is the police chief rapidly losing his mind because of him and Burt Kwouk is Kato. This is an excellent film, hilarious at every viewing, and my mind sticks on the parallel bars moment which shows some of the best comic timing ever, indeed the whole film does.

21:00 - 23:40
: Clear and Present Danger
Repeated: Film4+1 22:00 - 00:40
Date: 1994
Directed by: Philip Noyce
Harrison Ford plays the Tom Clancy character favourite of Jack Ryan, and although he's good he's never going to hold up to the Alec Baldwin version of the character. Still, this is a good film, and the setup with Willem Dafoe's character is superb. There's plenty of action and intrigue, and some thoroughly despicable characters, great film.

22:35 - 00:30
: Basic
Repeated: E4+1 23:35 - 01:30
Date: 2003
Directed by: John McTiernan
I vaguely remember this film, but I find it hard to recall much of the plot or how it fared. The cast list is looking particularly good with John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Connie Nielsen and Giovanni Ribisi. Travolta and Jackson facing off to each other sounds superb, but I have this niggling feeling that it didn't quite work.

23:00 - 00:50
: History of the World - Part 1
Date: 1981
Directed by: Mel Brooks
I'm convinced that I loved the second part better than this first, still though, it's a good laugh and some good Brooks moments, as well as sporting a strong cast.

23:40 - 01:40
: Sex, Lies and Videotape
Repeated: Film4+1 00:40 - 02:40
Date: 1989
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
It's been ages since I saw this film, but I do remember it being an excellent character based script, and James Spader giving an excellent performance. Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher and Laura San Giacomo also star in this tense and slow paced thriller.

27th Saturday
00:05 - 02:00
: Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
Date: 1993
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Jason Scott Lee stars as the legendary Bruce Lee in the story by Rob Cohen, yes by Rob Cohen. Hard to believe, but it is. Again I can't remember how good the film is, I just remember it being rather interesting to learn about the life of Bruce Lee.

14:10 - 16:15
: Goldfinger
Date: 1964
Directed by: Guy Hamilton
Sean Connery plays James Bond in the continuing Bond series playing on television at the moment. This is the third of the Bond films and stars Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, how can you not love that line? One of the classic Bond films, and by this point Connery is well settled as the suave agent. Great fun and boasts so many classic moments, the theme song from Shirley Bassey, OddJob, the immortal lines such as "Do you expect me to talk?", "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!". Fantastic.

18:55 - 21:00
: Star Trek: Nemesis
Repeated: Film4+1 19:55 - 22:00
Date: 2001
Directed by: Stuart Baird
The Next Generation crew are back and Captain Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, comes face to face with his nemesis. This is a great setup and plot, but it's poorly handled and the tension is dropped and the possibilities are left unexplored. It's a shame that more wasn't made of it, but still not the worst Star Trek film.

21:00 - 23:15
: Bram Stoker's Dracula
Date: 1992
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
A great cast in this superbly over the top version of Dracula which provides so much entertainment. Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins, Richard E Grant and Sadie Frost star in the costume drama epic version of Dracula, Oldman is just superb as the loving vampire.

21:05 - 23:25
: Elizabeth
Date: 1998
Directed by: Shekhar Kapur
Cate Blanchett kicks off the growing franchise as Queen Elizabeth I. There's already talk of a third, and you can read about the second film, Elizabeth: The Golden Age right here on Filmstalker. I'm curious if this is better than the second, as I am told it is, and another film this weekend with a great cast - Christopher Eccleston, Kathy Burke, Joseph Fiennes and Geoffrey Rush, amongst others.

21:40 - 23:05
: Halloween: Resurrection
Date: 2002
Directed by: Rick Rosenthal
A few recognisable names star in the sequel of the sequels, Jamie Lee Curtis and Busta Rhymes probably say it all about this film, but I was surprised to see the name of Katee Sackhoff there. I'd never seen her before Battlestar Galactica. I really don't know if there's any life left in the series anymore, even at the point of this film.

21:50 - 00:15
: Jurassic Park
Date: 1993
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Cracking dinosaur fun that started the franchise, and Jeff Goldblum's character has some of the best lines of the film. Spielberg really does a good job with this film, not his best obviously, but for entertainment value it's up there, and the effects are still superb to see.

22:00 - 23:30
: 13 Tzameti
Date: 2005
Directed by: Gela Babluani
I've not seen this film yet, but it does come highly recommended. Can some of you readers give me your thoughts and whether I should watch it or not.

22:30 - 01:05
: Casino Royale
Date: 1967
Directed by: John Huston
This is the first Casino Royale film, a real farce on the Bond theme as we see multiple Bond's in the film, David Niven, Woody Allen, Peter Sellers, Orson Welles, Deborah Kerr and Ursula Andress star in this very strange film that broke the chain in the real Bond franchise, until recently of course.

22:50 - 00:35
: Trainspotting
Repeated: Film4+1 23:50 - 01:35
Date: 1996
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Danny Boyle produces a great British, and Scottish, cast in this really non-standard Scottish film, there's not even any tartan in sight! Great performances, and at types a completely off the wall, but very realistic script. Superb film.

23:15 - 01:35
: Body Double
Date: 1984
Directed by: Brian De Palma
Craig Wasson stars alongside Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry, Deborah Shelton, Guy Boyd and Dennis Franz in the first Brian De Palma film I think I saw, yes I was a bit out of order on watching his career, I watched Blow Out after this. Many people give this film a fair bit of criticism for being too much of a Hitchcock homage, but I actually really enjoyed it, and still do to this day. The setup with the voyeurism and the race to save the woman, particularly the industrial drill moment, are all so well done and build the tension well. Dated, but still very enjoyable.

23:40 - 01:20
: Diabolique
Date: 1996
Directed by: Jeremiah Chechik
Sharon Stone, Isabelle Adjani, Chazz Palminteri, Kathy Bates and Spalding Gray star in the remake of the French classic. I've never seen this, so I'll rely on you to tell me what it's like and if Sharon Stone actually delivers a decent performance in it.

28th Sunday
01:05 - 02:55
: Basic
See Friday

00:55 - 03:20
: Jurassic Park
See Saturday

14:45 - 19:15
: Cleopatra
Repeated: Film4+1 15:45 - 20:15
Date: 1963
Directed by: Joseph L Mankiewicz
This is the classic epic film that became the most expensive film ever. Starring the legendary couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, it tells the story of Cleopatra's reign. The budget was inflated after having to move the entire production from Britain to Italy after Taylor fell ill in the cold climate, this was with many of the sets having been built - the sets remaining in Britain became those of the Carry on film, Carry on Cleopatra. This really is a superb epic with a great cast that really deliver that old Hollywood performance and style. It's a wonderful film, mind you anything with Burton in it is wonderful.

16:25 - 18:45
: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
Directed by: George Lucas
Listen up kids, this is the Star Wars that began it all, and it's ten times better than any of the new films. Watch and learn. For all those who were disappointed by the new series, this is the film for you. A great adventure with wonderfully warm characters, there's no Jar Jar moments here.

19:35 - 21:00
: Chicken Run
Date: 2000
Directed by: Nick Park, Peter Lord
Anything by Aardman is wonderful, that you cannot deny. Chicken Run isn't the strongest in my mind, but it's still good. As always the voice casting is superb in this and we get Mel Gibson as the cocky cockerel who thinks he's in heaven when he lands in a farmer's chicken coup, all those lovely ladies. However the farmer is planning a mass killing of the chickens with his pie making machine. I love the way Aardman relate their animal stories and characters to the real world, and here they have their writing brains on overdrive.

21:00 - 23:35
: The Ninth Gate
Date: 1999
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Polanski directing Johnny Depp, Frank Langella and Lena Olin sounds really good, especially when it's a strong horror story. However I've not managed to make it all the way through this film as the last time I saw it on television I was either pulled away or walked away from it halfway through. The idea of a Polanski horror seems good though, especially with Depp leading, but I've heard it isn't so good.

21:00 - 22:55
: Under Siege
Repeated: Film4+1 22:00 - 23:55
Date: 1992
Directed by: Andrew Davis
Steven Seagal may not be a deep actor, but his films are good pulp action fun. This film has really been his best to date and it co-stars some great names as Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey play the villains. Oh and there's that cake scene from Erika Eleniak. Adventure and action fun, but don't expect much thinking here, just switch off and enjoy.

29th Monday
02:10 - 04:00
: Psycho
Repeated: 22:00 - 00:10
Date: 1960
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
None of your shot by shot remake rubbish here, this it's the original Alfred Hitchock version starrying the superbly creepy Anthony Perkins and a surprise from Janet Leigh. I always forget, although obviously writing now I haven't, how the film starts

21:00 - 22:50
: The Clearing
Date: 2004
Directed by: Pieter Jan Brugge
Robert Redford, Helen Mirren and Willem Dafoe star in a film I've wanted to see since it was announced that it was being made, and to be honest this is entirely judged on the cast. Other than that I've not really heard much about it or the plot. Comments from those who have seen it?

30th Tuesday
00:10 - 02:40
: Wolf
Repeated: 22:00 - 00:25
Date: 1994
Directed by: Mike Nichols
Now I remember rather enjoying Jack Nicholson's performance as a man bitten by a werewolf and slowly turning. To begin with he's in love with the lovely Michelle Pfeiffer and is generally a weaker man being beaten down by the younger and hungrier at work. However once the wolf side kicks in he's a much more dominant and successful man. James Spader stars as a rival, and we also see the excellent Christopher Plummer star. Hard to believe looking back that this was directed by Mike Nichols.

01:00 - 03:30
: The Fifth Element
Repeated: 21:00 - 23:30
Date: 1997
Bruce Willis,Gary Oldman,Milla Jovovich,Ian Holm,Chris Tucker,Luke Perry
Directed by: Luc Besson
I'll have to watch this again to see if it has managed to stand the test of time. Looking back on it I suspect it has lost a lot of its appeal and is beginning to look jaded, but maybe I'm wrong. Besson does deliver a great vision of a bizarre future, and Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Milla Jovovich, Ian Holm are all rather good, Oldman steals the show once again.

13:10 - 15:25
: The China Syndrome
Date: 1979
Directed by: James Bridges
Jack Lemmon utterly shines in this film as the whistle blower in the nuclear power plant who reveals to the news reporter, played very well by Jane Fonda, and her cameraman, Michael Douglas, that there was nearly a meltdown in the plant. This is a classic film warning of the dangers of corporate cost cutting in such a dangerous environment, and the paranoia and tension is palatable. Very well written and superbly acted. You really should see this film.

21:00 - 23:05
: The Gift
Repeated: Film4+1 22:00 - 00:05
Date: 2000
Directed by: Sam Raimi
I'd really like to revisit this film now that these stars have moved on in their various careers. I mean Cate Blanchett, Hilary Swank, Giovanni Ribisi, Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear are an interesting cast list, and Blanchett and Swank have been rising through the ranks of the top Hollywood actress list. I remember little about this film, does anyone else? Is it worth seeing again?

31st Wednesday
13:00 - 15:25
: The Cassandra Crossing
Date: 1977
Directed by: George Cosmatos
I do like disaster films, and as they go this one is a bit of a corker. A deadly virus is released on a train, highly infectious, so the passengers are sealed on it and the train set on a course towards a disused bridge across a huge ravine. Oh, and the bridge has collapsed. A disaster film needs big stars, and this one doesn't skimp - Sophia Loren, Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Martin Sheen and Richard Harris.

22:30 - 00:50
: The Shining
Date: 1980
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
What a classic horror. Stephen King's novel is adapted by Stanley Kubrick, and whatever you think of the adaptation, the film is an absolute corker and gives plenty of terrifying and creepy sequences. Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall are superb, and Nicholson produces an frightening performance with Kubrick's direction really bringing the hotel to life.

23:00 - 00:50
: Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Date: 2004
Directed by: Alexander Witt
Now I can't say that this is terrible, and you have to admit that for videogame adaptations the Resident Evil series is pretty high up the list. Still, this isn't the best in the series, and I think with Extinction, the third of the trilogy, arriving on our screens, it might well be at the bottom. Still, it's fun, and Milla Jovovich is a pretty good action star in it.

23:30 - 01:40
: Secrets and Lies
Repeated: Film4+1 00:30 - 02:40
Date: 1995
Directed by: Mike Leigh
Another film I've never watched, but it is highly praised as are the actors who give strong performances. Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, and Marianne Jean-Baptist star.

1st Thursday
00:00 - 02:05
: Ghost Story
Date: 1981
Directed by: John Irvin
This was Fred Astaire's last appearance on screen, and with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. joining him it sounds as though it's a film to watch. The story is based on the Peter Straub novel, about four gentlemen who share a gruesome fifty year old secret together, a secret that won't stay secret for long.

00:20 - 01:55
: Halloween
Date: 1978
Directed by: John Carpenter
The original and the best. I would wish it were the only, but no such luck after the recent poor remake hit the screens. Watch this to see just how good Carpenter is and how great horror can be when slowed down.

02:45 - 04:15
: Ju-On: The Grudge
Date: 2003
Directed by: Takashi Shimizu
This is the original Japanese horror, not the U.S. remake, if you've seen the Hollywood version then this is worth seeing as a comparison, actually even if you've not seen it it's worth seeing. I don't think it's the best that Japanese horror has to offer, but it is very good with some very chilling scenes. Slightly confusing and an unsatisfying ending, but the journey contains some great moments.

21:00 - 22:50
: Resident Evil: Apocalypse
See Wednesday

22:00 - 23:55
: Kalifornia
Repeated: E4+1 23:00 - 00:55
Date: 1993
Directed by: Dominic Sena
Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes star in the film that has Brad Pitt playing a serial killer hitching a ride with a couple who are touring the scenes of famous serial killings. He plays with them as they are blissfully unaware what he really is capable of.

22:00 - 00:20
: The Shining
See Wednesday

22:50 - 00:40
: Pulse
Date: 1988
Directed by: Paul Golding
This is the U.S. remake of another strong Japanese horror film, this one had plenty of room to play with. Rather than the Japanese film having covered all the bases, there was plenty of plot left unexplored but from all accounts the Hollywood version didn't do much more than cover the same ground, even with similar shots and effects. Still, it's worth watching if you can't get your hands on the original Japanese version.

23:35 - 01:10
: Cop Land
Date: 1997
Directed by: James Mangold
Almost every time I talk about Sylvester Stallone and his acting I mention Cop Land, why? Well it's because his performance in this film is superb and you would hardly recognise the actor had you not seen his recent Rocky Balboa (Filmstalker review). He plays a local cop who looks over a suburb that is full of policemen, and when he begins to discover a thread of corruption it starts to unravel the community and the police, and they turn on him. Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Peter Berg, Janeane Garofalo, Robert Patrick and Michael Rapaport also star. Seriously, if you only watch one film from this list this week, watch this one.



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