Week's Films to Stalk: 2nd November to 8th November
Welcome to Filmstalker's Week of Films to Stalk. As always this list is for the films on UK Freeview, however that doesn't mean you can't discuss them with us, in fact that's the main reason they are here.
Tomorrow I'll add in the cinema releases for the week and add a little about them, something I forgot to do and since I've been typing here for so long I really need to go and spend some non-computer time in the house. So, have a read, have a discuss, and watch a few films. Watch for the update tomorrow to discuss the films in the cinema.
30 Days Of Night
A Clockwork Orange
Death At A Funeral
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Four Weddings and a Funeral
In The Shadow Of The Moon
Resident Evil: Extinction
Man of the Year
Sophie Scholl: the Final Days
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
The Crying Game
The Football Factory
The Madness of King George
The World Is Not Enough
21:00 - 22:30
STV: The World Is Not Enough
Repeated: 23:05 - 00:05
Directed by: Michael Apted
Well what can you say, it's Bond, and it's a pretty good adventure. Pierce Brosnan is Bond, Robert Carlyle is the baddie, and Robbie Coltrane is wonderful as the Russian who assists Bond. Nuclear plot, world in danger, all that stuff, and bags of fun and adventure.
21:00 - 00:40
Repeated: Saturday 11:10 - 14:40
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
This is a stunning film, truly a Hollywood great. Kirk Douglas is amazing as the man trained to fight as a gladiator and rises to lead a revolt against the Roman empire. It stars Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Tony Curtis and Peter Ustinov to name but a few. Seriously amazing cinema that just can't be beaten.
22:30 - 00:30
ITV4: Blazing Saddles
Repeated: Saturday 21:45 - 23:45
Directed by: Mel Brooks
Laugh? I almost farted beans...Blazing Saddles is one of those films with such iconic moments that always come up when men talk comedy, and that's one of those very scenes. This comic look at westerns is a great laugh and despite some political incorrectness you'll be creasing yourself up.
23:25 - 01:05
Film4: Sexy Beast
Directed by: Jonathan Glazer
Wow. This really turned Hollywood onto using Ben Kingsley in a darker light. He's stunning as the violent gangster appearing on the doorstep of Ray Winstone's retired gangster character, forcing his hand to try one more job, one that goes badly wrong. It also stars Ian McShane before Hollywood turned their in-favour light onto him again.
14:45 - 16:15
Repeated: 16:45 - 17:45
Directed by: Terence Young
Another Bond film appears this weekend, and this one heads back to the earlier days with Sean Connery designing the iconic on screen character. This one's in the Bahamas and does the usual Bond stuff, and with probably the most popular Bond at the helm, Connery.
18:55 - 21:00
Film4: Silver Streak
Repeated: Tuesday 18:55pm - 21:00
Directed by: Arthur Hiller
Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, a superb combination, although I have to say that I can't remember seeing this film although I recognise the title. A runaway train and plenty of comedy between these two comic greats with perfect timing. Who has seen this and can give us the run down?
20:30 - 22:00
FiveUS: The One
Directed by: James Wong
Well there are plenty of things wrong with this film, but it still has a great concept if it is poorly executed. There are some great fight scenes too, I just wish we'd seen more of the clever plot and of Jet Li fighting, especially with Jason Statham. Oh and there's Carla Gugino in there too. The film sees a man leaping through the alternate universes and killing his alternate others, and with each kill he inherits their power and grows stronger and stronger. Can he be stopped? Can he become the One?
21:00 - 23:05
Film4: Broken Arrow
Repeated: Wednesday 21:00 - 23:05
Directed by: John Woo
Oh this is great fun film with John Travolta and Christian Slater facing off against each other and John Woo throwing all manner of fantastic set-ups at them both. Travolta and Slater are pilots of a stealth fighter carrying a nuclear payload, Travolta steals the warheads to sell them to terrorists, leaving Slater for dead. Except he isn't, and he doesn't want Travolta to win. Great fun action, just disengage the brain and enjoy.
21:10 - 23:10
Channel4: Four Weddings and a Funeral
Directed by: Mike Newell
Wow, I think this will seem heavily dated now and hardly have the same impact, particularly with the vastly superior Love Actually having taken its place as the best British romantic comedy. However there's one part that it doesn't beat it, and that's the funeral scene. That moment still hits me hard, a combination of the poetry reading and John Hannah's emotional outpouring. Where is Hannah now?
21:40 - 23:05
BBC3: Chicken Run
Directed by: Peter Lord and Nick Park
Cracking comedy, although not quite up there with Wallace and Gromit. Mel Gibson is perfectly cast as the Rooster holed up in amongst the farm Chickens, instead of being onto a good thing he quickly realises that they are all for the chop if they don't do something soon. Good story, great voice acting, and some amazing animation from the guys who can still give Disney and Pixar a run for their money without the need for computers.
21:45 - 23:45
ITV4: Blazing Saddles
23:05 - 01:10
Film4: The Crying Game
Directed by: Neil Jordan
You'll probably know the big twist in this film whether you've seen it or not, and if you don't I won't give it away. Watch the film and become engrossed and believe in the slowly built emotions of these characters. A British soldier is kidnapped by the IRA and befriends one of the kidnappers and when the kidnapping goes wrong the IRA member heads off to London and befriends the lover of the British soldier. Soon it's clear that there's more than just friendship between them. Wonderfully acted.
00:20 - 02:15
Directed by: Bill Paxton
Bill Paxton proves there's more to him than just being the character that wisecracks and always gets killed. He shows he's more than capable at directing in this film that has a man telling the FBI that his brother may be the serial killer they are hunting and begins to explain how their religiously fanatical father taught them about demons and god's work. A powerful tale that is well told, although I wasn't as struck by it as some seem to have been.
01:25 - 03:10
Directed by: Mike Hodges
This is believed to be Clive Owen's best performance to date, something I would argue with over Closer, but for the rest of his career I might well agree. He plays a writer working as a croupier who is approached to be the inside man on a heist of the casino.
16:25 - 18:45
STV: Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
Directed by: Irvin Kershner
How good is this to see the old Star Wars again on television? These are by far the best three of the series and franchise, nothing has come close to touching these films. The Empire Strikes Back is perhaps the darkest of the films, and some would say the best. I'm not so sure, despite the silly Ewoks I love Return of the Jedi for the powerful return of Skywalker. Well that is definitely to come. Which do you think is the best of the series? Is it Empire?
21:00 - 23:30
Directed by: Jerry Zucker
Well there's not much to say about this film, Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore star in this romantic film that women just love...and on queue my fiancee appeared and went "Oooh! Is Ghost on this weekend!"...guess when I'll not be in the living room?
21:00 - 23:40
Directed by: Barry Levinson
No this isn't the Bugsy Malone film, it's the story of Bugsy Siegel who started Las Vegas. The film stars Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Elliott Gould, and Joe Mantegna...why have I not seen this? It seems like it has a superb cast and a very strong story, so why doesn't it get a strong rating? Especially with Levinson at the helm.
22:00 - 23:50
Channel4: Resident Evil
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
You have to give this series some credit, it has picked itself back up, and the original has certainly been one of the best adaptations of a videogame to the big screen, you can't argue with that. Although sometimes it's a little too much style over substance, it still is a good adventure horror. It's just a shame that you always feel like you're watching it from the outside rather than being dragged into it and being scared along with the characters.
00:00 - 01:50
ITV4: Toolbox Murders
Repeated: 23:30 - 01:15
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Another film this weekend that I have never seen before. This Toolbox Murders is a remake of the original from the 1978 classic slasher film. Yes I said remake, not reimagining. Please shove that word up your spin doctor's bum Mr studio executive. However this shows a fair bit of promise since Tobe Hooper is in charge, he's the Director that made The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and gave me the biggest scare of my life, causing me sleepless nights of panic at the tender age of thirteen. Seriously, huge thanks Mr Hooper. My love of horror and being scared is down to you.
18:55 - 21:00
Directed by: Peter Weir
Nope, another film that I know I've seen but just can't recall much of. The film is about two Australian sprinters who are recruited for the first world war in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey. Mel Gibson stars in this film which gained a lot of praise, nominations and award wins. This is one I'll definitely be watching, although I believe that the harrowing portrait of war it promises doesn't turn out as harrowing, particularly as we know them today.
22:50 - 00:30
Channel4: The Football Factory
Directed by: Nick Love
Although I have grown tired of the Nick Love and Danny Dyer combination, particularly of Dyer himself and his ongoing style of portraying himself as his characters, I am keen to see this film of British football hooliganism. It really did lift these two up a level or two and get them noticed a bit more. Having seen The Business and Outlaw and enjoyed them both I would like to go back and see this film. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Love direct The Sweeney. Let's just hope Dyer's not in it, or he's advanced his character acting somewhat.
23:05 - 01:00
Directed by: Mathieu Kassovitz
Now I know some people didn't rate this film much, but Robert Downey Jr. and Halle Berry give great performances in the film, both coming from places in their career where they weren't being fully respected, and I think that this turned that feeling round a little for both actors. The film sees a female psychiatrist slowly losing her mind as she becomes a patient in the very hospital she practiced in, she remembers nothing of why she is there, and slowly realises that there is a ghostly presence in the hospital, and not necessarily a friendly one. Despite the negative press this film got I say it's worth seeing.
00:30 - 02:40
Channel4: Sophie Scholl: the Final Days
Directed by: Marc Rothemund
Listen to me please, this is a wonderful film that shows you what film making, writing and characterisation is really all about. It's a superbly crafted film that really does manage to pull you into the characters and their stories. If you only catch one film this weekend, this is the one to catch. This is the story of the last few days of Sophie Scholl, a shining light in the French Resistance during World War II, her exploits became legendary and had a huge influence on events after her death. Despite the grandeous story set-up, this is really a very small and emotionally charged tale that is hugely touching. This is the best film this weekend.
01:15 - 03:20
Directed by: Roman Polanski
I've never seen Polanski's Repulsion, although I have heard much about it. Groundbreaking and upsetting for its time, the film tells the story of a woman, played by Catherine Deneuve, who is left on her own for the weekend and slowly goes mad as she begins to have consuming sexual and violent visions. A very disturbing film I'm told, and one which I will be watching. Has anyone else seen it?
18:55 - 21:00
Film4: Silver Streak
21:00 - 23:15
Directed by: Iain Softley
You know I really like K-Pax. It's one of those slow building stories which really does manage to create an atmosphere where you just could believe anything is possible, leaving any of the possible endings a surprise. I think what is perhaps the best thing about the film is that it wins me over well before the end. Kevin Spacey plays a psychiatric patient who believes that he's from the planet K-Pax, Jeff Bridges plays the Doctor who really wants to help him become human, but who is really right?
22:00 - 00:50
ITV4: A Clockwork Orange
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
You know I'll go out on a limb and say that this film really isn't all it's cracked up to be. It is good, that's for sure, but it isn't everything that the critics and the press would have you believe. In fact at times I find it quite laborious and caught up in its own self importance. This is far from the best that Kubrick had to offer.
21:00 - 23:30
Film4: G.I. Jane
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Another film that was hit heavily by critics and which I don't think deserves it. The film was hit by an unfair backlash against Demi Moore and to a lesser degree Ridley Scott, when in fact it is a powerful film and tells a strong story. Not only that but Demi Moore is damn good in the film, she is a strong actress who just never finds good parts. Still, this is one and she does it well, and with Scott in charge of the camera it does look wonderful too.Viggo Mortensen, Anne Bancroft and James Caviezel are some of the other big names in the film about a woman who is enrolled for the Navy Seals training programme by a female Senator looking for publicity and hoping that she fails.
22:00 - 00:00
Directed by: Alan Clarke
Another chance for me to see a film that I've missed time and time again but that is referenced a lot by critics and those that carry a knowledge of British cinema. The film creates a scary portrait of life inside a British Borstal for young offenders, a rather brutal film that tells a shocking story. A rather youngerr Ray Winstone stars in the film.
23:30 - 01:35
Film4: The Madness of King George
Directed by: Nicholas Hytner
Huge praise was showered on this film and especially on Nigel Hawthorne's performance, a superb British actor who was very undervalued on the big screen. This film tells the story of King George III as his illness causes him to slide into insanity while he was crowned the King and the political fighting that occured around him. The film boasts a superb cast with names such as Nigel Hawthorn, Helen Mirren, Ian Holm, Rupert Graves, Amanda Donohoe and Rupert Everett.
30 Days Of Night (Filmstalker review)
Vampires arrive in a town in Alaska, just readying itself for the winter ahead, and in Alaska that means thirty whole days of night, something that the vampires are going to take full advantage of. Filmstalker regular reader and contributor Ramchandra caught the film and was rather disappointed with the ending, however the slightly different view of the vampires and the pace of the film kept his attention well, so it could be a mixed bag for some. It stars Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston and Ben Foster.
Two brothers try and find the perfect partners in order to provide their dying father with a grandchild. Has anyone seen it yet?
Death At A Funeral (Filmstalker review)
A man tries to expose a dark secret about a family as they try to bury their father and comedy ensues, a number of notable actors and actresses appear, and there's a good spattering of British talent. There's a bunch of clips and an interview with Alan Tudyk online today, and Ramchandra reviewed the film some time ago saying that it was fun, but it didn't quite hit the mark as great British comedy.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Filmstalker review)
I managed to see the Elizabeth: The Golden Age just recently, and I was very disappointed. That said, Cate Blanchett is superb, but it's everything else around her that fails her, particularly the poor focus of the story. I've just published a bunch of clips, soundbites and an interactive online book about the film.
I am hopefully going to have a review of this up this weekend, it shows the Icelandic band Sigur Rós returning home for a series of free gigs. I'm actually looking forward to seeing this, and should have the review online for tomorrow for you. If you've seen it before me, let me know what it's like.
In The Shadow Of The Moon (Filmstalker review)
I positively loved this film when I saw it at the EIFF this year, it's wonderful, awe inspiring and filled with emotion. This documentary talks to the astronauts who have been to the moon and shows what it was like to travel there, set foot on alien soil, and return home. Some of the shots are stunning. It's a perfectly put together documentary and shouldn't be missed.
Steve Buscemi wrote, directed and starred in this remake of Theodor Holman's film. It looks at the relationship of a soap star and a high-brow newspaper reporter as he interviews her one evening. He starts out looking down on her but slowly realises the human side of the woman behind the public view.
This, along with In The Shadow of the Moon and 30 Days of Night, is the most interesting release for me this weekend. The story of a young man who was a promising athelete until he had a terrible accident which resulted in a disabilitating head injury. Now he works as a cleaner in the local bank, struggling with his memory and reasoning. One day a gang arrive and try and pull them into their proposed heist of the bank, and when things start going wrong he has to find an inner strength. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, someone who seems to pick exceptional projects for himself and delivers superb performances. Jeff Daniels, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode and Carla Gugino also star.
Man of the Year
Robin Williams just isn't the man he used to be, and this Barry Levinson film doesn't hold out much hope for me or him. He plays a late night political talk show host who decides to run for President for a joke, and then he wins. Vote for none of the above? Haven't we seen this already?
Blistering performances, an emotionally harrowing story, and some wonderful direction. Atonement is not light hearted fare to keep you occupied on a Sunday afternoon, but is most definitely a great piece of drama that will engage you and make you feel something.
David Cronenberg delivers a film that isn't quite as powerful as A History of Violence but comes close. Starring Viggo Mortensen as a member of a ruthless Russian crime family in London who has to ensure the protection of the family against an innocent nurse. Played by Naomi Watts, the nurse just wants to right a wrong, but she's carrying with her the diary of a murdered woman that holds key evidence against the family.
The latest animated tale about a rat in a French kitchen who can really cook is supposed to tick all those Pixar and Disney boxes, and actually does it rather well too.
Rendition (Filmstalker review)
I love political thrillers, and watch out for the next feature on that, and this is a very strong one. However some of the lead actors are very disappointing and it falls to the supporting actors and the foreign ones to bring the film up. It has a great turn in it that really does make you wonder at great storytelling, but I fear Gyllenhaal, Witherspoon and even Streep fail to capture the audience effectively. Still, a very strong political thriller with a very good message.
Resident Evil: Extinction
Now I do say some rather negative things about Paul W.S. Anderson and his writing/directing, however it looks like here we're seeing him step up in his writing and the Director Russell Mulcahy bring us something comparable, if not better than, the original Resident Evil. Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr and Ali Larter star in the third of the series, and perhaps not last, and you know I'm rather hoping it isn't.
The fourth in the series sees the Jigsaw killer continue his work...somehow he had it all planned out, three films worth. Fun horror, although I'm not sure yet if it's living up to the rest of the series.
Stardust (Filmstalker review)
I loved this film, and I think it comes very close to matching The Princess Bride. Matthew Vaughn has outdone himself in his direction, and the casting and story are superb. For the most part the acting is excellent, Claire Danes is superb, as is Michelle Pfeiffer, however there are some roles that are a bit half hearted. Still it's a wonderful tale on screen and really does capture the heart and the imagination. I loved it.
The Kingdom (Filmstalker review)
I've heard many negative things about this film, that it's not political enough, or it's not realistic, then that it's too political and too realistic. The truth is that for the format it's in and the length of time it's allowed, this film is very good and Peter Berg does an excellent job of making a story filled with complex history without proportioning blame or taking a side. The ending falters slightly, but the rest of the film makes up for it.