Freeview films from 2 July 2022

World Cinema

Monday (4/7)      01:05    Film4   Custody (2017).

Xavier Legrand’s debut film begins In a courtroom in northern France. Antoine (Denis Ménochet), a hospital security guard, seeks joint custody of his 11-year-old son Julien, after the acrimonious break-up of his marriage. But is Antoine the model citizen and caring father he seems? A heartbreaking domestic drama that escalates in unfortunately believable fashion. In French with subtitles. (JM)

Tuesday (5/7)       00:15   BBC2    Happy End (2017)

Michael Haneke’s film about death, willed or otherwise, set in a bourgeois family home in Calais. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays elderly patriarch Georges Laurent, demented and wheelchair-bound, but still able to exert influence. Isabelle Huppert is daughter Anne, straining to keep their construction business on the road after an accident lands an employee in hospital and her errant son Pierre (Franz Rogowski) goes missing.  Toby Jones plays her fiancee, Lawrence. The pivotal figure is thirteen-year-old Eve (magnificently played by Fantine Harduin), who arrives on the scene after her mother is hospitalised following what seems to be a drug overdose. Her doctor father Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz) has a new partner and a baby and is not really prepared for looking after an adolescent daughter. The less entitled world appears in the form of refugees from nearby Sangatte and the family’s Moroccan servants (Hassam Ghancy and Nabiha Akkari). Everyone thinks Evie needs to be supported and counselled through her trauma, though they don’t seem very good at it or she isn’t really available. But her presence proves crucial as the action unwinds.  It is not as obviously dramatic as Haneke’s other output, but the familiar elements are there: sudden jumps in time or space, incongruous and seemingly unconnected moments, long shots of characters in the distance with something unpleasant happening to them. The fixed camera adds to the audience’s sense of powerlessness.  Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian described it as a ‘satanic soap opera . . . a black comedy of pure sociopathy’. Haneke fans will be satisfied, and it never fails to be diverting. (JR)

02:10   Film4    Cold War (2018)

Pawel Pawlikowski’s elegant, moody feature about a folk music performers in Warsaw Pact Poland, getting together, escaping, meeting again, breaking up, etc. Beautiful music and cinematography and a lot of anguish about love and exile. Not to be missed if you haven’t seen it. (JM)

Thursday (7/7) 01:15   Film4     Lords of Chaos (2018).

Violent thriller about Norwegian Death Metal music, apparently based on the story of a band called Mayhem, who embraced the misogynistic modern paganism of the genre, up to and including church-burning and murder. Some critics balked at the lengthy stabbing sequence near the end, and who can blame them. (JM)

Stephen Ilott’s Picks

Saturday (2/7)    22:50   ITV4                        True Grit (2010)  (also Friday 00:50)

Unsurprisingly, the Coen brothers’ remake of the 1969 John Wayne classic takes a more irreverent tone and highlights dialogue and visual flair. This time Jeff Bridges stars as world-weary lawman Rooster Cogburn, opposite 13-year-old Hailie Steinfeld as Mattie, who employs him to head across country to track down the man who killed her father. Steinfeld’s performance was nominated for the Oscar and has been heralded as one of the greatest by a child actor. Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, another Coens’ regular, provide support. (MH)

Sunday (3/7)       15:00   ITV                          Dr. No (1962) 

James Bond film directed by Terence Young that has probably gained in stature as the years have passed, starring Sean Connery and memorably Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder, with Bernard Lee as M and Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny. The plot involves the murder of an MI6 agent, a base in the Caribbean, a Chinese-German criminal scientist with metal hands (Dr No), and a tarantula. Connery wasn’t the first choice for the lead role, or even the second. Cary Grant, Richard Johnson, Patrick Magoohan, Richard Todd, David Niven and Roger Moore were all considered before him. On a budget of $1.1m it made $59m, which would be $571m in today’s money. (JM)


17:30   ITV2                       Spider-Man 2  (2004)

Well-liked comic book sequel, widely considered superior to the original. Directed by Sam Raimi, with Tobey Maguire as the web-slinging mutant teen and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, his love-object. Characters, a plot, human interest and a strong villain in the shape of Alfred Molina as Dr Octopus. When Marvel made films films as well as merchandising vehicles. (JM)

Monday (4/7)     16:35   Talking Pictures    Double Whoopee (1929)

Laurel and Hardy short (20 mins) from the Hal Roach studios. The pair play a footman and a doorman at a smart hotel, when a pompous German aristocrat arrives. With an memorable appearance by Jean Harlow as a swanky blonde who is partially relieved of some of her battledress for comic effect. (JM)

Friday (8/7)          01:55   Channel 4            10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, this is an example of a horror sequel that is better than its predecessor (Cloverfield, 2008). Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) is Michelle, who wakes up in an underground bunker after an accident, uncertain what has happened to her. John Goodman is Howard, who tells her there has been a chemical warfare attack outside and she is lucky he rescued her in time. She is not sure she believes him. John Gallagher is slacker Emmett, the other occupant, whom Howard doesn’t seem to like very much.  Gradually the three fall into a form of domesticity in Howard’s quaintly equipped survivalist pod: cooking meals, playing board games, reading magazines. There is mention of another young woman who isn’t around any more. But it can’t last. Michelle digs deep and begins to take matters into her own hands. And what really is going on out there? Winstead is excellent as the resourceful lead and Goodman suitably disturbed and disturbing. (JR)

Other modern films of interest

Saturday (2/7)     17:10   ITV2         Despicable Me (2010)

Despicable Me kicked off an extensive CGI franchise for Illumination Entertainment, focusing on Bond-style supervillain Gru, voiced by Steve Carrell. With an eye for an evil plot, a basement full of elaborate gadgets and a non-descript European accent, he certainly fits the villain persona, but his softer paternal side is exposed when he adopts three young orphans as part of a diabolical plan. The girls – Margo, Edith and Agnes – are smarter than he expects, teaching him about life and getting him into an entirely different type of trouble than he is used to. His countless little yellow minions may be the most well known exports of the franchise. (MH)

23:20    BBC1        Legend (2015)

Tom Hardy admirably stars as both of the fearsome Kray twins, Ronnie and Reggie, in this good looking but somewhat routine crime drama. The film follows the crime lords’ rise and fall through the London underground gangland in the 1960s, focusing on the brothers’ fragile relationship and the romance between Reggie and Frances, played by Emily Browning. (MH)

Sunday (3/7)        15:25   ITV2          Despicable Me 2 (2013)

Gru and his minions return for another outing, which sees him tempted out of retirement by the Anti-Villain League, a group of do-gooders who combat efforts of the world’s many criminal forces. Gru has now turned his back on villainy to be a full time parent to his three adopted daughters, but is employed, à la Hannibal Lecter, to help track down another world-threatening villain who plans chemical warfare. The diminutive, jibberish-spouting minions also return to aid their master and cement their place in the consciousness of children everywhere. (MH)

21:00   BBC2         Dunkirk (2017)

Christopher Nolan’s restrained account of the WW2 evacuation of British troops from the French coast, which eschews high concept and sticks to convincing dramatic action. The sparse dialogue, natural lighting and insistent score by Hans Zimmer make it very compelling. The cast is packed with the kind of actors you would want on such a mission: Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Barry Keoghan and Harry Styles. Various strands are followed: three privates, Tommy, Gibson and Alex (Styles) are rescued by a destroyer that subsequently sinks, and they wind up back on the beach; Dawson (Rylance), a civilian sailor takes his small boat, Moonstone, over the Channel, accompanied by his son and a deckhand; three Spitfires, one piloted by Farrier (Hardy), try to defend the forces on the ground; RN Commander Bolton (Branagh) oversees the evacuation in person. Peter Bradshaw gave it five stars in the Guardian and Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter called it ‘an impressionist masterpiece’ that was ‘deeply moving’ without ‘manufactured sentimentality or false heroics’.  While an enormous logistical exercise to make, it was a commercial success and won three Oscars, and was nominated for five others. (JR)

Tuesday (5/7)      22:00    BBC4         On the Morning You Wake (to the End of the World)  (2022)

This is a strange, innovative documentary about a real event in 2018, when Hawaiians were suddenly given notice of an imminent nuclear missile strike, including the words ‘This is not a drill’. Made in video-game animation as a virtual reality experience, using real audio samples, it has toured the world’s anti-nuclear festivals as a free attraction. I wonder how it will hold up on good old flat television? (JM)

Thursday (7/7)    22:55    BBC4         The Wife (2017) 

Adapted by director Bjorn L Runge (Festen) from the novel by Meg Wolitzer, about a wife travelling to Stockholm to see her writer husband receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. In reality, she has ghostwritten most of his work and he has never publicly acknowledged that: in fact, he lives off his reputation while having affairs with other women. Glenn Close plays Joan Castleman and Jonathan Pryce plays Professor Joseph Castleman. Christian Slater is Nathaniel Bone, an ambitious biographer who homes in on the couple’s untold story.  Close was nominated for numerous awards for her performance, and won fourteen. A similar theme was explored in Colette (2018), starring Keira Knightley, although that was a period piece, whereas this one is contemporary. (JR)

Friday (8/7)          02:20   Film4         Garage (2007)

Tragi-comedy directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Frank, What Richard Did) about Josie (Pat Shortt), who has spent most of his life tending a petrol station in rural Ireland and whose existence is upended by the arrival of a teenager called David (Conor Ryan) and growing awareness of his feelings about Carmel (Anne-Marie Duff), who works in the local shop. But a mistake with a video leads to a complaint from David’s parents. It won the CICAE Art and Essay Cinema Prize at Cannes. (JM)


Sunday (3/7)          22:30   BBC1                      Rain Man (1988)

Rain Man missed out on the ‘Big 5’ Oscar wins because as essential a buddy movie it did not get a Best Actress nomination. It had to settle for statuettes for Best Picture, Director (Barry Levinson), Actor (Dustin Hoffman) and Screenplay (Barry Morrow). Dustin Hoffman steals the show and the kudos for playing severely autistic Raymond, who is commandeered by his selfish estranged brother, Charlie, played by Tom Cruise, and taken on an adventure of discovery, opening eyes and hearts for both of them. (MH) The film really brought the idea of autism into the mainstream, but this was a distinctively Hollywood conception of the condition: Raymond is an autistic savant, with quasi-magical special abilities that drive the plot. That’s not how the condition usually presents itself, but many people ‘on the spectrum’ do have unusual ways of processing information that can be very productive in certain contexts. The Doughnut is full of them. Hoffman has yet to apologise for taking the part of a neuro-diverse person, but it’s only a matter of time: he’s been too busy in recent years apologising for his interest in young actresses. (JM)

Monday (4/7)        16:45   Film4                      Cat Ballou (1965)  (also Friday 12:50)

Possibly the first spoof Western, this curious item has Jane Fonda as a schoolteacher who hires some gunslingers to avenge the death of her father. Lee Marvin plays both the killer and the avenger (alongside Michael Callan). There are lots of songs. Some people find it very amusing; many don’t. Pauline Kael wasn’t keen: ‘mainly it’s full of sort-of-funny and trying-to-be-funny ideas. The director Elliott Silverstein’s spotty tone is ineptitude, thinly disguised’. Ouch!

Wednesday (6/7)   00:05   Talking Pictures   The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

Comedy-horror with Vincent Price as the organ-playing doctor, who is disfigured in a car accident and presumed dead. He plots revenge against the surgeons whose incompetence he believes cost him his wife, wearing a mask and despatching them one-by-one using methods derived from the biblical plagues. ‘Anachronistic period horror musical camp fantasy is a fair description, loaded with comedic gore of the type that packs theatres and drives child psychologists up the walls,’ wrote Variety, achieving an award-winning adjectival pile-up.

Leave a Reply

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