Freeview films from March 26, 2022

World Cinema

Saturday (26/3)         22:00   BBC4   Photograph (2019). An appealing Hindi romcom from Ritesh Batra, who directed The Lunchbox. A young man, scraping a living as a street photographer in Mumbai, is under pressure from his grandmother to find a bride. So he persuades a stranger to pose as his fiancée. Delightful, if somewhat predictable, consequences ensue. Like The Lunchbox, the film charms by laying cultural specificity over a bedrock of universal human concerns. Not much liked by the snootier critics, who found it a little diffuse, but what do they know? (JM)

Sunday (27/3)            00:30   BBC2   I Got Life! (2017). Agnes Jaoui is splendid as Aurore, a menopausal woman facing all sorts of tribulations, in Blandine Lenoir’s comedy-drama. Separated from her husband (Philippe Rebbot), tussling with a sexist boss (Nicolas Chupin) at the cafe where she works and juggling the demands of her two daughters (Lou Roy Lecollinet and Sara Suco), one of whom is pregnant; and, as if that isn’t enough, rekindling a thing with an old flame (Thibault de Montalembert). Through all this she is supported by her best friend (Pascale Arbillot) and the film is a hymn to the nourishing, life-affirming relationships between women. There’s a pretty funny scene with Aurore and a recruitment manager with a hot flush. (JR) [Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian said the ending was ‘fundamentally unreal and contrived’, but he’s a miserable git. (JM)

Monday (28/3)          01:45   Film4   In Between (2016). An excellent debut feature by Maysaloun Hamoud, a Hungarian film maker born in Budapest to Israeli parents of Palestinian heritage. It shows the lives of three young women, also Israeli citizens from Palestinian families, who share a flat in Tel-Aviv. Each of them is navigating the ‘in between’ area between the traditional culture of their family backgrounds and the independent lives they enjoy in the city. Family expectations still exert a strong influence on them, despite their modern free-spirited outlook. While it is true that each character represents a type – one is a drinking, smoking, drug-taking lawyer, one a lesbian DJ from a Christian background and the third a more conservative Hijab-wearing computer science student with a fiancé – the spirited direction and engaging acting overcomes this contrivance. Refreshingly, these young women are at the forefront of change in a society in flux and are making their own choices and decisions. (PW)

Tuesday (29/3)          23:50   Film4    Buried (2010). Ryan Reynolds stars as a US soldier serving in Iraq who awakes in a coffin-esque box, buried underground, with no memory of how he got there. With a gas lighter and a phone with a rapidly dwindling battery, he must somehow contact the outside world for rescue, before running out of oxygen. The film’s entire runtime takes place within the snug man-sized confines, a budgetary constraint that makes for effective drama.

Wednesday (30/3)    01:40   Film4   Thelma (2017). Supernatural thriller by Joachim Trier, about a young woman whose seizures seem to be evidence of occult desires and abilities. His current film, The Worst Person in the World, released in the UK this week, has received wide acclaim. (JM)

                                         22:00   BBC4    The Earth Is Blue as an Orange (2020). Another documentary about life in war-torn Donbass, Ukraine, like The Distant Barking of Dogs, mentioned last week. This one, directed by Irina Tsilya, focuses on single mother Hanna and her four children, whose love of cinema leads each to make a film about their experience, stretching our sense of what seems possible in these circumstances, and underlining the importance of art in the midst of trauma. It has won twenty international awards, including Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary at Sundance.  

Stephen Ilott’s Picks

Sunday (27/3)                14:00     BBC1                     Monsters vs. Aliens (2009). A middling children’s animated adventure about a team of monsters (including a blob called Bob and the ginormous insectosaurus) defending Earth against a hoard of invading aliens. Lacks the visual inventiveness and beauty of Pixar or Studio Ghibli, but it should keep the kids quiet for 90 minutes. (MH)

 22:00     BBC2                     Molly’s Game (2017). Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, based on the memoir by Molly Bloom (yes, really) who took something of a wrong turn into running poker games for rich players and wound up being arrested on gambling charges. Chastain is superb as the quick-thinking, alluring Molly, as is Idris Elba, as her lawyer. Molly had a tortured relationship with her father (played by Kevin Costner) and there is a poignant scene with them at the skating rink at the Rockefeller Centre in New York. Has one of the most emotional endings of any recent film – see if you agree. (JR)

Monday (28/3)              22:30     BBC3                     What We Do in the Shadows (2014). Vampire flatshare comedy from Jemaine Clement (from The Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi. Good chaotic fun, which spawned an inferior TV spin-off.

                                         23:40     BBC2                     Spotlight (2015). This superbly crafted drama follows a small team of journalists who specialise in major community stories for the Boston Globe newspaper. They diligently investigate claims that local clergy have been sexually abusing children, which takes them into the lives of the priests, victims and lawyers involved. Spotlight is skilfully directed, by Tom McCarthy, and features an excellent cast, led by Mark Ruffalo. One of the few journalism films that doesn’t make journalists guffaw, it rightly won the best picture Oscar. (MH)

Wednesday (30/3)        13:55     Talking Pictures   Hell Drivers (1957). Gritty British action picture, directed by Cy Endfield, with Stanley Baker, Patrick McGoohan, Herbert Lom and William Hartnell, about a company of lorry drivers forced to work under impossible demands, competing to drive too fast and risking their lives. Not exactly The Wages of Fear but gripping. (JR)

Friday (1/4)                     01:50     Channel 4            Thoroughbreds (2017). Stylish, knowing black comedy by first time director Cory Finlay, about spoiled teens Amanda (Olivia Cooke) and Lily (Anna Taylor-Joy), who have an uneasy friendship, characterised by Amanda’s unspecified personality disorder and Lily’s social anxieties.  The two evolve a plan to kill Lily’s stepfather, after he enrols Lily in a boarding school dealing with behavioural difficulties. Their accomplice is the local drug dealer, Tim, played by the late Anton Yelchin.  (JR)

Other modern films of interest

Sunday (27/3)   20:25   BBC4   Max Richter’s Sleep (2019). Documentary about the contemporary composer’s attempt to stage his eight-hour piece of the same name. Not seen (or heard) it, but his music is pretty mesmeric. The film comes in at 109 minutes, so consider it an amuse-bouche. (JM)

                            21:00   Film4   Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)  (also Friday 21:00). Action comedy about a young tearaway, ‘Eggsy’ (an early role for Taron Egerton), who is recruited into Kingsman, an elite branch of the UK Secret Service. He must complete a series of tasks to become an agent, while Samuel L Jackson’s villainous, sneaker-wearing Valentine plots to enslave the entire human population using a high-tech virus. Impressive high action cinematography, but Kingsman only reaches mediocre levels of excitement or comedy. Directed by Matthew Vaughn and co-written by Jane Goldman, who is married to Jonathan ‘Wossy’ Ross. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times was not impressed: ‘On Day One of filming, they must have thrown away the moral compass and taken a group vow to splatter our sensibilities with stylish, gratuitous violence and one “Wait, what?!” moment after another.’ (MH)

                             23:05   BBC1   La La Land (2016)  (also Thursday BBC4 21:00). Damien Chazelle’s bright, intoxicating, effervescent La La Land serves as a love letter to musicals and a standalone effort of great control and accomplishment. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone team up again in the simple story of romance under pressure from their careers and their art. The top notch performances (Stone took home the Best Actress Oscar) and directing ensure that the character engagement is never lost in the singing or dancing (which itself is excellently performed). The quiet moments hit home just as much as, or more than, the big musical numbers. There were other Oscar wins for music, director and cinematography. (MH). [I thought it was absolutely terrible. JM]

Friday (31/3)     20:00   BBC3   The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018). After a backseat tryst with a cheerleader, a young woman is sent to a camp to have her sapphic tendencies bullied out of her. Directed by Desiree Akhavan, a former actress. (JM)                                


Sunday (27/3)              14:45    Talking Pictures   The One That Got Away (1957)  (also Friday 17:45). Starring the late Hardy Kruger, everyone’s go-to cinema Nazi, as Frank Von Werra, who was shot down and captured during the Battle of Britain and proceeded to escape from virtually every place of captivity he was placed in. Directed by Roy Ward Baker, the film was popular with British and German audiences. (JR)                                    

Tuesday (29/3)             22:00    BBC4                      Up the Junction (1965). Earthy and unromanticised slice of kitchen sink drama about Polly, a young middle class woman (Suzy Kendall) who seeks to escape her upbringing by moving to Battersea, less fashionable then, and getting a job in a sweet factory. She meets Pete (Dennis Waterman) and makes friends on the shop floor (Adrienne Posta, Maureen Lipman) and sees things she hasn’t seen before. A good cast also includes Liz Fraser, Alfie Bass and Hylda Baker.  Directed by Peter Collinson from Nell Dunn’s book of short stories. (JR)

Wednesday (30/3)       23.20    Film4                     Brassed Off (1996). Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald and Ewan McGregor star in a simultaneously sweet and rather angry fable about the brass band of a colliery town assailed by Thatcherism. Quite affecting, especially the version of the slow movement from Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, played by Paul Hughes of the Grimethorpe band on flugelhorn and enthusiastically mimed by Tara. Eat your heart out Miles Davis. (JM)

Thursday (31/3)            23:00    BBC4                     Pride and Prejudice (1940). The original Hollywood version of Jane Austen’s novel, with Greer Garson perfectly cast as Elizabeth Bennet and Laurence Olivier as Mr Darcy. Looks a bit sumptuous but still entertaining. Directed by Robert Z Leonard and also featuring Edna Mae Oliver as Lady Catherine, Edmund Gwenn and Mary Borland as Mr and Mrs Bennet, and Maureen O’Sullivan as Jane. The script was co-written by Aldous Huxley. (JR)

3 thoughts on “Freeview films from March 26, 2022

  1. Thank you all again for your input. Have to say I agree with JM re La La Land, awful. But then musicals aren’t my bag.

  2. I like going to The Roses but now that I am a non-driver I go on the 41 bus. Since Brexit and the pandemic the shortage of bus drivers makes the service pretty unreliable. For instance, I’d booked for Parallel Mothers but the bus didn’t show up so, as I didn’t want to miss an Almodovar, I got a taxi there – £25 – but well worth the expense. And I was so impressed by his take on Cocteau’s The Human Voice I went to The Roses on two days running.

    1. Yes, it’s a shame about the bus service. Almost impossible to get back from an evening screening. Glad you liked the Almodóvars. I like a lot of his film but wasn’t very keen on either of these.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *