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Week's Films to Stalk: 9th to 15th November

FilmCamera.jpgWelcome to Filmstalker's Week of Films to Stalk. As always this list is for the films on UK Freeview that I would recommend, am interested in seeing, or just think are plain interesting anyway.

Tomorrow I'll add in the cinema releases for the week and add a little about them, since I've been writing for hours now and I really need a break. For now enjoy reading, feed back any comments, and feel free to disagree.

Is there something you've seen suring the week that should be on the list, or something that should and I haven't mentioned? Or do you just disagree with something I've said?

Friday 9th
18:55 - 21:00
: Gallipoli
Repeated: Film4+1 19:55 - 22:00
Date: 1981
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.

21:00 - 23:00
: Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Date: 1964
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
This is a masterpiece of a film which has Peter Sellers playing multiple roles, even the President of the United States. The film tells the story of a nuclear base commander who goes mad and initiates a nuclear attack against Russia. While on the phone to the Russian President the US President is told that they have a Doomsday machine that will destroy all animal and plant life on Earth if it detects a nuclear attack. Peter Sellers plays his heart out in the film and along with a great cast produce a fantastic film that has become a classic and one of Kubrick's best ever.

22:30 - 01:00
: Stakeout
Date: 1987
Directed by: John Badham
It's been a long time since I've seen this film, perhaps it was as long ago as the time it was released, however I do remember it fondly. The chemistry between Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez is superb and their comic timing is spot on. I remember it as being lots of fun and a good laugh, the question is does it hold up to time.

Saturday 10th
13:35 - 16:10
: Hamlet
Date: 1990
Directed by: Franco Zeffirelli
It's not exacty the purists version of Hamlet, but it is a good one none the less. It carries some grand moments and some strong performances from a big cast, oh and some of the scenes were filmed near where I used to live in Stonehaven at Slains Castle. Mel Gibson plays Hamlet and the cast of Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield, Ian Holm, Helenam Bonham Carter, and many other well known names support him well. In fact there are a few who manage to overplay him. It's a very accessible version of the story, well worth watching.

15:05 - 16:15 16:45 - 17:45
: You Only Live Twice
Date: 1967
Directed by: Lewis Gilbert
The Bond series continues with Sean Connery and you'll remember the iconic scene of the large spaceship slowly creeping up on the Shuttle and swallowing it whole. Another fantastic Bond adventure, and at least the effects are getting better as the series continues!

16:45 - 20:00
: A Bridge Too Far
Date: 1977
Directed by: Richard Attenborough
I remember little of this war film, but I recently bought the Special Edition DVD. This film tells the story of the Allied forces dropping paratroopers in Holland, behind German lines in World War II, to capture key bridges in particular that of Arnhem. However events don't go to plan and the German forces are stronger than expected. This carries a superb cast of Allied talent, some of whom even participated with the original landings. The film manages to cram so much in, and although it doesn't match up to the realism of the battles we see in modern war films, it does create some tense and quite stirring sequences.

21:00 - 23:30
: The Manchurian Candidate (Filmstalker review)
Repeated: Film4+1 22:00 - 00:30
Date: 2004
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
This is the remake of the fantastic original that starred Frank Sinatra in a superb performance and a rather surprisingly political film. Here we see a similar story to the original, updated slightly for a more modern conflict, and the excellent casting of Meryl Streep as the controlling and manipulative mother and Senator. Although I don't think that Denzel Washington adds anything to the film, and he's overshadowed by Streep and Liev Schreiber. In fact although there are some nice touches and the remake is pretty high in standards as remakes go, there was never a need to remake the film in the first place. However, I have to admit that Demme has done a very good job.

21:35 - 00:00
: Stakeout
Date: 1987
Directed by: John Badham
See Friday.

23:30 - 01:15
: Ju-On: The Grudge 2
Repeated: Film4+1 00:30 - 02:15
Date: 2003
Directed by: Takashi Shimizu
I've not seen this film, but I really did enjoy the style of the first and the cleverness of the script. This one sees a television crew being murdered or disappearing one after the other after filming a show in a haunted house that carries an old curse, a curse that's now on them. Kyôko was one of the crew and her curse doesn't leave her dead or disappeared. Her fiancé and her unborn child die in a car accident, but she discovers that she has a three and a half month old fetus inside her. Woo...spooky!

Sunday 11th
01:15 - 03:00
: American Splendor
Date: 2003
Directed by: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
I've never seen this either, and yet people comment on the performance of Paul Giamatti's as he plays the famous comic creator Harvey Pekar. I honestly know little more than that, but it's a film that keeps coming up in conversations. Is it something worth seeing? Is it one of Giamatti's best performances?

15:35 - 17:55
: Star Was: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
Date: 1983
Directed by: Richard Marquand
Return of the Jedi, my favourite Star Wars film. Oh come on, after all this build up Luke Skywalker is finally a great Jedi...now if it wasn't for those really stupid furry creatures weren't in it we might actually have the best Star Wars film there ever was.

16:20 - 18:40
: The Remains of the Day
Date: 1993
Directed by: James Ivory
I've said it before, this is one of my Dad's favourite films. Again, I've never actually seen it, but I believe it has a superbly restrained romance between

21:00 - 23:40
: L.A. Confidential
Repeated: Film4+1 22:00 - 00:40
Date: 1997
Directed by: Curtis Hanson
This is fantastic moden film noir, and the cast is just superb, Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe play superbly off each other, and Kim Basinger absolutely shines in a superbly written story about corruption in the police force and some wonderfully rich characters. This is a great film, and you really should catch it this weekend.

21:00 - 23:20
: The Birds
Date: 1963
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Now forget that remake that's in the pipeline, watch the original film. Yes the effects can be really poor in places, but the story is an enjoyable one and it's a spooky one too in places. A young socialite chases a potential boyfriend to a quiet seaside town, and while their they see the birds begin to attack people with increasing venom.

21:00 - 23:20
: Mr & Mrs Smith (Filmstalker review)
Date: 2005
Directed by: Doug Liman
Now putting Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie together in this film was a piece of casting genius. They play off each other so well, and the script for the film is fantastically crafted. This film is bags and bags of fun, and I know Louise agrees with me. Pitt and Jolie play characters who are married and live boring lives...or so it would seem. Both actually live secret lives and are secret agents for opposite sides. One day their bosses get a little fed up of the deal and they are given contracts to kill each other.

21:00 - 23:15
: Tightrope
Date: 1984
Directed by: Richard Tuggle
Clint Eastwood plays a slightly lighter Dirty Harry type character Captain Wes Block. He's investigating a serial killer who targets young and pretty women, and what's more is that the killer is targeting friends of the detective. Eastwood just eats the screen up with whatever he's in, so I'm watching it regardless.

23:00 - 01:10
: F/X - Murder by Illusion
Date: 1986
Directed by: Robert Mandel
Another great fun thriller. Bryan Brown plays a special effects expert who is hired to fake the killing of a witness who is about to go on witness protection from the mob. However it's a double cross on him and pretty soon he's the one being hunted, and he must use his special effects expertise to save his own life and expose those trying to kill him.

Monday 12th
01:25 - 03:25
: Bad Lieutenant
Repeated: 02:25 - 04:25
Date: 1992
Directed by: Abel Ferrara
Well the drug taking, heavy drinking, bad attitude detective from Harvey Keitel is showing again this weekend. He's investigating the rape of a young nun when he begins to have a serious awakening and tries to start doing the right thing and looking for forgiveness, but he's pretty far gone.

16:50 - 18:55
: Black Narcissus
Repeated: 17:50 - 19:55
Date: 1947
Directed by: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Powell and Pressburger, instant classic already. This film sees a group of nuns trying to establish a religious community in the Himalayas, trying to turn the suspicious locals, the elements, and their own demons and feelings. The loneliness and exoticness of the location combined with the visiting government agent Mr Dean, mean temptation is closer than ever.

21:00 - 23:45
: The Shawshank Redemption
Repeated: More4+1 22:00 - 00:45
Date: 1994
Directed by: Frank Darabont
What is there to say about this film from Frank Darabont, the man proving that he's the best of the Stephen King adaptaters to date. He really brings to life this story and the characters, and you become so invested in them. Fantastically written and superbly directed.

22:00 - 00:10
: F/X - Murder by Illusion
Date: 1986
Directed by: Robert Mandel
See Sunday

Tuesday 13th
14:40 - 16:55
: Picnic at Hanging Rock
Repeated: 15:40 - 17:55
Date: 1975
Directed by: Peter Weir
The story of how three students and a school teacher disappeared on an excursion to Hanging Rock in Victoria on Valentine's Day 1900. This is another film that I've heard a lot about but never seen, from all accounts it's a very strong film that asks more questions than it answers, and that makes it an excellent thriller in my book.

18:55 - 21:00
: The Madness of King George
Repeated: 19:55 - 22:00
Date: 1994
Directed by: Nicholas Hytner
A film that expands on the real story of King George III and his episodes of dementia. Nigel Hawthorne delivers a career performance of the King who is going slowly mad and trying to deal with the people behind him who are eager to take control of the country.

21:00 - 23:55
: Gladiator
Repeated: 22:00 - 00:55
Date: 2000
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Well it may be over the top in places, but it is the modern day Spartacus, and Russell Crowe is actually really good in it, but there's one thing I love seeing in this film time and time again, and that's the performance of Oliver Reed, the last before he died. A great film, and one that really does stir the heart, not just for the action but also he passion poured into the performances. A great story.

21:00 - 22:50
: Boiling Point
Date: 1993
Directed by: James B. Harris
I have to admit I've only picked this because of the cast list, Wesley Snipes appears alongside Dennis Hopper, Viggo Mortensen and Lolita Davidovich. Now how could you not be interested in that? The story Two scam artists are released from prison together and team up. They run fake money sales and kill the buyer to take his money, so when they kill an undercover Secret Service agent, his partner comes after them to get his revenge.

21:00 - 23:25
: The Russia House
Date: 1990
Directed by: Fred Schepisi
Now I always found it hard to believe that Michelle Pfeiffer would have fallen for Sean Connery, but perhaps that Bond attraction works in the real world, even with that age difference. The film is adapted from the John le Carré novel that tells the story of a British publisher who is recruited by the British secret service to find out if notebooks secretly handed over are genuine in the secrets they reveal. The film also stars Roy Scheider, James Fox and J.T. Walsh.

22:00 - 00:00
: Scum
Date: 1979
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.

23:55 - 02:00
: The Grifters
Repeated: 00:55 - 03:00
Date: 1990
Directed by: Stephen Frears
John Cusack plays a small time con artist who is caught between his girlfriend and mother, both of whom are much bigger players than him in the con artist world. Anjelica Huston plays the mother and Annette Bening the girlfriend, and while all give a great performance it's really Anjelica Huston that shines the brightest.

Wednesday 14th
21:00 - 23:25
: G.I. Jane
Repeated: 22:00 - 00:25
Date: 1997
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.

23:30 - 01:40
BBC1 Scotland
: Rob Roy
Date: 1995
Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones

Thursday 15th
21:00 - 23:35
: The Manchurian Candidate
Repeated: 22:00 - 00:35
Date: 2004
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
See Saturday.

23:35 - 01:40
: Rounders
Repeated: 00:55 - 02:40
Date: 1998
Directed by: John Dahl
A film about Poker before the world went Poker mad, starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton, with supporting from John Turturro, John Malkovich, Famke Janssen and Martin Landau. Damon plays a reformed gambler who returns to the table of big stakes poker games to help a friend pay off the loan sharks. Another film I've never seen, but apparently it's a good poker film, and a good performances from Damon.



Return of the Jedi, my favourite Star Wars film.

Just for argument's sake Richard, why is RotJ your favourite Star Wars film and not Empire Strikes Back?

I love Mr and Mrs Smith, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are great together and it's also pretty damn funny in places. Their fight together makes me laugh out loud. I'm watching it for sure, unless we end up in another mammoth Halo 3 session.

Scum is a great film too, uncomfortable viewing at times but worth it. I agree G.I. Jane gets a bad rep, for me it was only the last 30 minutes or so that let it down, but it's not the first film to fail to deliver a decent ending and it's not the last either.

Oh Louise, Halo 3 has to be on this weekend, that's for sure!

Simone, Jedi is the favourite for me as I remember really becoming emotionally tied up with Skywalker's desire to be a real Jedi. It just connected with me so easily at the time, and I remember the power of those early scenes where he walks into Jabba the Hut's enclosure behaving the way Obi Wan would have in the first film. For me that was one of the most powerful moments of the series.

That said, it is not the best for me, and there's a specific difference there, the Ewoks are so out of place with the film and don't work well. I really struggle with the scenes when they are on screen.


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