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.
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 Mummy (BBFC Rating 12, Stephen Sommers, 1999)
ITV2, Saturday 19th March, 19:40
There’s talk floating around of the latest Mummy-based reboot starring Tom Cruise as a soldier on operations in the Middle East who uncovers an ancient tomb, and while I have no doubt that would be a perfectly decent film, it would have to go some to top the sheer fun of this Brendan Fraser-led entry in the storied history of Universal’s most Egyptian monster. It’s also got some surprisingly scary bits, although the CGI isn’t the best a decade and a half on. I always felt Fraser was one role away from becoming a superstar, at one point he seemed like the perfect choice to be the next Superman, before everything in DC become dark and brooding. Here he is a re-imagined Indiana Jones, and does it perfectly well.
An alternative choice, our other TV Film of the Week is….
Forbidden Planet (BBFC Rating U, Fred M. Wilcox, 1956)
BBC2, Saturday 19th March, 08:35
One of the very best 50s sci-fi films. Basically a retelling of The Tempest with a planet replacing the island, Caliban as a robot (and basically setting the template for sci-fi robots going forward), and Prospero re-imagined as a mad scientist. Stars Leslie Neilsen (30 years before The Naked Gun) as the heroic space captain.
For your consideration
The best of the rest:
Survival Of The Dead (BBFC Rating 18, George A. Romero, 2009) – When George A. Romero return to the Living Dead franchise in 2005, he made the impressive Land Of The Dead. He then followed it up with 2 more films, Diary Of The Dead, and then this. They aren’t as good as Land, and not a patch on the original trilogy, but this has some interesting ideas as two families have survived the zombie outbreak on an island, but continue feuding. Some terrible – like truly terrible – Irish accents though. Horror Channel, Friday 18th March, 22:45
Paul (BBFC Rating 15, Greg Mottola, 2010) – Conceived on the set of Shaun Of The Dead, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost wrote as well as starred in this sci-fi road trip. Lots of fun,, with the Pegg/Frost double act on top form. Film4, Saturday 19th March, 21:00
Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off The Wall (BBFC Rating PG, Spike Lee, 2016) – A documentary looking at the start of Jackson’s career, charting the journey to becoming the biggest pop music star of all time. Lots of interesting interviews with people who were there at the very beginning. BBC2, Saturday 19th March, 21:00
Private Benjamin (BBFC Rating 15, Howard Zeiff, 1980) – Sheltered New York socialite Goldie Hawn joins the army when her husband dies on their wedding night. Silly fun. ITV3, Sunday 20th March, 23:05
Pan’s Labyrinth (BBFC Rating 15, Guillermo del Toro, 2006) – A beautiful, heart-wrenching story as Ofelia escapes her brutal step-father and her Spanish Civil War reality into a fairy tale world of fauns, kings and queens. Just… beautiful. If this was on earlier, it would be TV Film Of The Week by a million miles. Horror Channel, Monday 21st March, 02:05
Unleashed (BBFC Rating 18, Louis Leterrier, 2005) – Another recommedation from me for this excellent Jet Li film, based in Glasgow, about a man kept as an attack dog (literally) by Bob Hoskins… I’ll stop recommending it when you watch it, so do us both a favour! ITV4, Tuesday 22nd March, 01:05 / Wednesday 23rd March 23:15
Tin Cup (BBFC Rating 15, Ron Shelton, 1996) – One of the great sporting dramas! Kevin Costner is a washed-up old pro who gets one more shot at glory – and happiness – when he meets psychologist Rene Russo. ITV4, Tuesday 22nd March, 23:15
The Two Faces Of January (BBFC Rating 12, Hossein Amini, 2013) – An interesting little film, basically a three-hander with Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaacs. Mortensen is brilliant as the shady older man who is holidaying in Greece with Dunst, and Oscar Isaac is great as the tour guide who ingratiates himself into their life. Perhaps surprisingly, Kirsten Dunst holds up her end of the bargain as well. Film4, Tuesday 22nd March, 23:35
Serenity (BBFC Rating 15, Josh Wheddon, 2005) – You can’t take the sky from me… Film4, Wednesday 23rd March, 01:30
Homefront (BBFC Rating 12, Gary Fleder, 2013) – The Stath is a special forces agent who moves to a small town and gets harrassed by drug dealer James Franco. Very good! 5*, Wednesday 23rd March, 21:00
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (BBFC Rating 12A, Rupert Wyatt, 2011) – Did anyone except this to be as good as it was? James Franco brings about the fall of humanity when trying to cure his father’s dementia. It stands up to the original films, although without the political undertones… they come in the remarkable sequel. Tom Felton shows he can be horrible even when he’s not Draco Malfoy, and gets the famous line. But Andy Serkis as Caesar is remarkable. Why isn’t this Film Of The Week? I need to have a word with myself. Film4, Thursday 24th March, 21:00
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!