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.
The last few weeks I’ve deliberately not included any Christmas films because it was too early – this week however, it’s because they are no decent Christmas films. There are a load of movies during the week, but there’s really nothing special in there. So… 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:
The Prestige (BBFC Rating 12, Christopher Nolan, 2006)
BBC2, Saturday 12th December, 22:45
With Momento, Insomnia, and The Prestige, Christopher Nolan is a fine, fine film maker, without considering his work in the Batman franchise and the epic Interstellar. The story of two young friends who become bitter rivals, The Prestige has two great leading performances from Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, and a fantastic cameo from David Bowie as Nikola Telsa.
To give you another option, Our Other TV Film Of The Week is
Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (BBFC Rating PG, Gilles Penso, 2011)
BBC2, Saturday 12th December, 08:25
We would never normally nominate a film that none of the Snooty Ushers had seen, but this documentary about Ray Harryhausen (who made the stop-motion animated special effects in films like Clash of the Titans and Sinbad) is just so intriguing. Contributors incluse Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Tim Burton… honestly the list goes on and on. Definitely one for the iPlayer if you miss it.
For your consideration
It’s a good week, so here’s the best of the rest:
300 (BBFC Rating 15, Zack Snyder, 2006) – Gerard Butler gives a towering performance in this ultra-macho film of the Spartan army’s historic stand. Ignore the fascist undertones (Sparta wasn’t actually a nice place to live in any way), the film isn’t meant to be taken seriously at all. ITV1, Friday 11th December, 22:40
Patton (BBFC Rating PG, Franklin J Schaffner, 1970) – One of the great cinematic performances from George C. Scott as US army legend General George S. Patton, in this bio. Interesting note, director Schaffner also made Planet of the Apes and Papillon. Five USA, Saturday 12th December, 15:45
Shutter Island (BBFC Rating 15, Martin Scorsese, 2009) – An old style thriller, as Leonardo Di Caprio and Mark Ruffalo play two US Marshals investigating the disappearance of a patient from Shutter Island, a hospital on an island in Boston Harbour. Why are thestaff so unhelpful? Film4, Saturday 12th December, 23:10
The Day of the Jackal (BBFC Rating 15, Fred Zimmerman, 1973) – It seems the theme of the week is towering central performances – this time it’s Edward Fox as the assassin “Jackal”, hired to kill Charles de Gaulle. Based on Fredrick Forsyth’s novel of the same name, the Bruce Willis remake isn’t too bad, but doesn’t stand up to the sheer excellence of the original. ITV4, Sunday 13th December, 21:00 / Thursday 17th December 01:05
The Blind Side (BBFC Rating 12, John Lee Hancock, 2009) – What should basically be a Hallmark Channel TV Movie is actually a very good thriller. Sandra Bullock is the star as the mother who adopts a troubled teen and helps him become one of college football’s superstars – but Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher is really impressive as well. Channel 5, Sunday 13th December, 21:00
Repo Men (BBFC Rating 18, Miguel Sapochnik, 2010) – If viewed as a really fun, silly, futuristic film about two men who repossess the artificial organs when people can’t afford the repayments any more. Jude Law and Forrest Whittaker have a blast. Film4, Sunday 13th December, 22:50
Quadrophenia (BBFC Rating 18, Franc Rodman, 1979) – Phil Daniels (the one from Blur’s Parklife and Eastenders) plays Jimmy, a 1960s mod, in the story of his battles with rival Rockers. Based on The Who’s album (obviosuly). ITV4, Sunday 13th December, 23:55
An Inspector Calls (BBFC Rating PG, Guy Hamilton, 1954) – The BBC recently put on a great version of JB Priestley’s classic play, and this is the original film version. A bit slow, for me it actually ratchets up the tension even more. Alastair Sim plays the Inspector, while Guy Hamilton went on to direct Goldfinger and 3 other Bond films. More4, Monday 14th December, 11:50
American Psycho (BBFC Rating 18, Mary Harron, 2000) – The performance that put Christian Bale on the map as a special, special talent. He plays Patrick Bateman, an 80’s investment banker who has no soul, and kills, simply because he can. I’ve always thought of it as a true black comedy, and you can make your own mind about the ending. Bale’s performance was apparently inspired by watching Tom Cruise being interviewed and being friendly but dead behind the eyes. Horror Channel, Monday 14th December, 22:50
Lawless (BBFC Rating 18, John Hillcoat, 2012) – The story of 3 bootleggers (Tom Hardy, Shia LeBoeuf, and Jason Clarke) and their run ins with their local Deputy (Guy Pearce). It’s based on a historical novel, but never quite becomes a great film, despite it’s efforts. Film4, Monday 14th December, 23:10
Bangkok Dangerous (BBFC Rating 15, Oxide Pang Chun, 2007) -Did you really think we would go a full week without Mr Cage making an appearance? Here he plays an assassin who goes to Bangkok for a misison that goes wrong. Cage produced the film himself, buying the rights to the 1999 Thai film of the same name and bringing the same director back on board. Check out Dave’s first article in what will be an epic series of Nicolas Cage films. 5*, Wednesday 16th December, 22:55
There we go. We hope there’s something you like! See you next week when The Snooty Ushers choose their TV Film Of The Week!