Welcome to the TV Film of the Week. The name says it all! The Snooty Ushers have put their heads together to recommend a couple of films that you can watch this week on TV.
My holiday meant that this was done at the last minute (those pieces of my sister’s birthday cake weren’t going to eat themselves! Happy Birthday Charlotte, this mention counts as another present), but I always do my best work when rushing to meet a deadline, as my uni lecturers would all agree.
A notable exception this week – The Millenium Trilogy (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest) is on Film4 this weekend, so set your Sky+ boxes or do whatever you can to see them if you haven’t already. They are really, really good. Sometime in the New Year I will sit down and do a full write up of them.
Also… we are in December – BUT NO CHRISTMAS FILMS!!! It’s still too early! Maybe next week.
NB since we are all still ushers at heart, our weeks will start on a Friday.
So, our TV Film of the Week is:
Django Unchained (BBFC Rating 18, Quentin Tarantino, 2012)
Channel 5, Sunday 6th December, 22:00
Whether you love him or hate him Quentin Tarantino films are special. In January he releases The Hateful 8, which will be only his 8th (by his count) film, 3 years on from this. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz are great as freed slave and bounty hunter respectively. It’s a violent revenge film that has to plumb depths to get to the redemption, but this is a very good piece of entertainment, yet doesn’t shy away from showing some of the horror of the time.
To give you another option, Our Other TV Film Of The Week is
Knowing (BBFC Rating 15, Alex Proyas, 2009)
Film4, Tuesday 8th December, 23:05
You know the deal by now, Nicolas Cage films automatically get a mention, but this is a really interesting film. A list of dates buried in a time capsule correspond to a list of accidents and disasters, but what will happen when the list ends? Cage is good, as is the film, with a truly bonkers ending.
For your consideration
It’s a good week, so here’s the best of the rest:
Planet Of The Apes (BBFC Rating PG, Franklin J. Schaffner, 1968) – A true landmark in sci-fi history. Rod Sterling (creator of The Twilight Zone) gave the film its legendary ending – the 2001 Tim Burton/Mark Wahlberg version stuck more closely to the original book and confused most of it’s audience. Of course, this is best version the of the story:
I love legitimate theatre. Film4, Friday 4th December, 17:10
Unstoppable (BBFC Rating 12, Tony Scott, 2010) – Of all the people missing from Snooty Ushers’ Top 25 Actors, Denzel Washington is the one I think we ALL couldn’t understand. Here he plays a train engineer on the verge of retirement who has to team up young conductor Chris Pine. A bit predictable, but Washington is ruddy brilliant as usual. E4, Friday 4th December, 21:00
The ‘Burbs (BBFC Rating PG, Joe Dante, 1989) – Tom Hanks was my number 1 in the Top 25 Actors list, and this is one of the early roles that I really like hime in. Darker than his other roles at the time, it’s the story of a creepy family who moves into his neighbourhood, who actually are a pretty normal family. The film never fully commits one way or the other, but it’s still enjoyable. ITV4, Sunday 6th December, 15:25
Office Space (BBFC Rating 15, Mike Judge, 1999) – The creator of Beavis and Butthead turned his sights on the workplace, in this brilliant comedy. Ron Livingston plays an office worker who just stops caring about his job, and with this new attitude he gets promoted and can do no wrong. Jennifer Aniston is the waitress who keeps him grounded. That’s a terrible description of the film…just watch it! I can’t do it justice in 1 paragraph, so don’t be surprised to see a Re-View coming soon. Film4, Tuesday 8th December, 01:25
Dark Knight Rises (BBFC Rating 12, Christopher Nolan, 2008) – The only reason this isn’t film of the week is that I assume that everyone has already seen it. Or has the DVD/Blu-Ray sat about 6 feet away. The best film of the trilogy, with a stunning performance from Heath Slater as the Joker, and Aaron Echkhart as Harvey Dent is very, very good as well. ITV2, Tuesday 8th December, 21:00
Shane (BBFC Rating PG, George Stevens, 1953) – Classic Western that influenced so many films in so many genres. Remember the bit in Robocop where he spins the gun round before putting it back in his leg? That’s from Shane. It nails the lonely hero trope as well. As I said, a classic. Film4, Wednesday 9th December, 14:3.0
Harmony (BBFC Rating 12, Dustin Hoffman, 2012) – A charming, lovely film that was the great Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut. A group of aging musical performers are in a retirement home, that puts on a performance once a year to allow them to stay open. Maggie Smith plays an opera singer who cheated on ex-husband Tom Courtney decades before. A chance to see some of Britain’s very best actors acting at their very best. Catch it on the iPlayer if you can. BBC4, Wednesday 9th December, 21:00
Phew! A nice, varied selection this week. I hope there’s something you like! See you next week when The Snooty Ushers choose their TV Film Of The Week!