Freeview films from 11 December 2022

World Cinema

Sunday (11/12)           01:25   Film4    Sputnik (2020)

Russian science fiction horror about a Soviet-era astronaut who returns from a planet with an alien life form installed as a parasite. Generic on the face of it, but – do you need me to tell you this? – there’s a subtext.  (JM)

Wednesday (15/12)   01:20   Film4    La Civil (2021)

Mexican drug-cartel thriller in which a mother attempts to find her abducted daughter with the help of a military man with harsh methods. Not seen it but it sounds rather good and not as morally bankrupt as most narcos. (JM)

Thursday (16/12)       01:15    Film4    Deed of Death (2019) 

This is a martial arts movie from Malaysia, in Malay. All I have been able to find out about it is this reader review on IMDB. ‘This is pure silat martial art movies. Must watch movie for all silat lovers especially local audiens which is Malaysia. Thumbs up for all casting. Only a few is real actor and actress. Good storyline. Very entertaining. Low budget but really Well done!’

Saturday (18/12)        00:55    Film4    The Square (2017)

This is the Ruben Östlund satire on modern art, starring Elisabeth Moss. Some people love it, others hate it. Unusually for me, I can see both sides. Certainly preferable to his current outing, Triangle of Sadness, a thin satire on the über-rich and mega-famous. As we all know, they don’t care about being satirised. We should just get on and eat them. (JM)

Stephen Ilott’s Curated Collection

Saturday (10/12)     11:00   Film4        The Straight Story (1999)

David Lynch’s true story about a man journeying across a mythologised America on a (big) lawnmower to visit his long-lost and disabled brother. My helpers have been arguing in the liminal space about whether Mulholland Drive is a masterpiece. Mostly they think it is. I’m with Barry Norman. ‘What’s it about?’ Anyway, this is one of the better Lynches, human rather than grotesque, and it has an excellent score. (JM)

                                   14:00   BBC2         A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

Powell and Pressberger’s wartime after-life masterpiece, with David Niven as a pilot trapped between life and death. Surely everyone has seen it? Watch it again, and again. That’s what Scorsese does. (JM)
                                   21:00   5 Star        Saving Private Ryan (1998)

You’re asking the wrong person. I think Spielberg is a terrible director and this ‘unflinchingly realistic’ war film (Rotten Tomatoes) is twaddle. One good film: Jaws. OK, maybe two: Duel and Jaws. (JM)

Sunday (11/12)        17:55   ITV2          Arthur Christmas (2011)

British animated film about life in the Christmas family’s home at the North Pole, with lots of famous voice talent. This is an Aardman film, a product of their deal with Sony pictures that ended badly. It’s an interesting and somewhat murky story. The industry story, not this film, which is fun. (JM) 

                                   20:00   ITV1          Casino Royale (2008)

Needs no introduction, so I’m not giving it one. I’ve used that joke twice in public, once when introducing Richard Eyre and the other when introducing Tony Palmer. Neither was very amused. Which worked for me. (JM)

                                   21:00   Sky Arts    Touch of Evil (1958)

Orson Welles’s masterpiece. A Mexico/US border thriller, more enjoyable than Citizen Kane, with one of the most audacious tracking shots in cinema history. (JM)

Stopping here because my hands are freezing up.

Other 21st Century films of interest

Saturday (10/12)      11:30   Great Movies Action   Meek’s Cutoff (2010 )

An early ‘Western’ by Kelly Reichardt, who went on to make the highly-acclaimed and borderline unwatchable First Cow. Praised by the cineastes, not much loved by anybody else but I’d give it a look. (JM)

                                     21:00   Sky Arts                         Sunshine Superman: The Story of Donovan (2008)  (also Saturday 00:25)

A documentary by a German director, Hannes Rossacher. I interviewed Donovan once. In passing, he reminded me that he had taught the Beatles how to fingerpick, which gave us the White Album, that Bob Dylan had stolen his look (certainly his hat), and that he had kind of invented World Music. At the time I thought he was a little bit bitter. Now I think he was right. (JM)

                                     23:25   Channel 4                     War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)  (also 4seven Sunday 22:00)

I looked from ape to man and man to ape and couldn’t spot the difference. This is the one with Woody Harrelson and Andy Serkis. (JM) 

Sunday (11/12)          21:00   Film4                             Sicario 2:Soldado (2018) 

Action sequel.

                                      22:00   BBC3                            Rosie (2018)

Searing social realism about a homeless woman in Ireland. From a script by Roddy Doyle. Not seen it but I want to. I love Roddy. Less than 100 people turned up to see him at the Town Hall for the literature festival, when people were queueing round the block for The Hairy Bikers. I gave him a copy of my novel and, of course, heard nothing back. Never mind. All writers are ego-maniacs. It’s how they survive. (JM)

Tuesday (13/12)         22:00   BBC4                             A Bunch of Amateurs (2022)

Documentary about an amateur theatre company in Halifax, I think. Definitely worth a look. Strange how people make (and fund) affectionate movies about things our society is cheerfully killing: amateur drama, newspapers, classical music, sport, dancing, etc.

                                      22:00   BBC3                             The Young Offenders (2016)

Brilliant disaffected youth sitcom set in Ireland. Tremendous. Naturally, BBC3 is not making anything like that any more.

Thursday (15/12)       23:10   Film4                             Somers Town (2008) 

Shane Meadows drama, starring Thomas Turgoose (as usual). Derided by one critic as a film about a railway station, it’s centred on the gruesome St Pancras International development and its corrosive effect on the King’s Cross community. Travel idea: got to St Pancras International and walk 100 yards to the North. A world apart. (JM)

Oldies but Goldies (no Mouldies)

Saturday (10/12)       00:30   BBC2                          A Christmas Story (1983)  (also BBC2 10:00)

I don’t know anything about this film, which is directed by Bob Clark. It is apparently a minor classic, a nostalgic but nonetheless somewhat acerbic tale of a family Christmas in Midwestern America in the 1940s. Where’s the English midwest, I wonder. Calne? (JM)
                                     21: 00   ITV2                          10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Ah, now this interesting. It’s a teen dating comedy built on the story-line of The Taming of the Shrew. Or, what I suppose we should now call William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, for the benefit of people who might think it’s a spinoff of Springwatch. It stars Julia Stiles and a young Australian actor called Heath Ledger in his first Hollywood role. He had a rapid rise and fall, didn’t he? Sad. (JM)

                                     21:05    Talking Pictures      The Wimbledon Poisoner Part 1 (1994)  (Part 2 Sunday 22:00)  

This is a rather brilliant television series, written by Nigel Williams, about a mild-mannered solicitor in the suburbs who decides to do away with his bullying wife. He does his research, but finds it’s actually quite tricky. With an amazing cast including Robert Lindsay, Alison Steadman, Philip Jackson, Art Malik and Larry Lamb. Poisoning advice: stick to pigeons in the park. Worked for Tom Lehrer. (JM)

Monday (12/12)        11:00    Talking Pictures      Forever and a Day (1943)

This is a portmanteau film in which an American (Ray Milland) travels to London to buy a house from a reluctant Englishwoman (Ruth Warrick). There is an air-raid and they go into a shelter together. I know what you’re thinking. In fact, she tells him about the history of the house, since 1810, and the episodes are dramatised by different directors: Edmund Goulding, Cedric Hardwicke, Frank Lloyd, Victor Saville, Robert Stevenson, Herbert Wilcox and René Clair. Classic Talking Pictures fare, gawd bless ’em. (JM)

Leave a Reply

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