wrenster -> Wrenster's Movies On TV Listings (New Listing Every Friday) (20/7/2006 6:03:28 PM)
BRAND NEW LISTINGS EVERY FRIDAY ON THIS PAGE!
As you who regularly pop in to use this page will have noticed, not only has it had a name change (so as to try and encourage people from using this thread to talk telly movies, instead of taking up precious space by opening up new threads) but as requested, I have now kept the Friday previous so you don't miss a thing on TV on the night of the new listings.
Those new to the listings, I have included all the channels available on freeview, and the times of the repeat screenings.
As usual, the views of mine and shouldn't be taken literally. As we always say, there are some films I like that you hate, and visa versa. That's what makes us who we are.
IF YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE MOVIES SHOWN ON TV, DON'T START A NEW THREAD, AS THE MODS WILL JUST LOCK IT DOWN. THIS IS THE PLACE FOR YOUR COMMENTS, MEMORIES, AND ANYTHING ELSE RELATING TO THE MOVIES ON THE BOX.
SATURDAY 27TH AUGUST
ENSIGN PULVER 12.20pm ***
Wartime comedy with Burl Ives as the captain of a cargo ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean who demands his men work hard for him to become a commander, pushing them to the limits of mutiny although everyone is fearful, until Robert Walker’s Ensign Pulver pulls a prank. Likeable film with a cast that includes an early appearance from Jack Nicholson.
THE VICTORS 2pm ***
An epic war drama following a group of American soldiers as they travel to Europe during the early days of The Battle of Britain, and head off to Italy and Spain before arriving in Berlin at the end of the war. With a very strong cast, including Albert Finney, Peter Fonda and George Peppard, this rarely screened film takes the decision to cover several major events instead of one, and this does lose some of the impact, but apart from that, a finely crafted drama.
CONFETTI 11.10pm ***
Likeable British comedy about three couples all trying to win the prize given out by a magazine of The Most Original Wedding of the Year. Filmed as a mockumentary, Martin Freeman, Jessica Hynes, Robert Webb and other up-and-coming comedy actors have a bundle of fun with the material, and while it starts off a little slow, it's worth sticking with as it does become a small little gem that will make you smile.
CARRY ON ENGLAND 12.45am *
You know when the series was on its last legs when the only original members are Kenneth Connor and Joan Sims. The plot revolves around an army camp that mixes men and women, and when a new sergeant major arrives, he wants things changed. The rest of the cast seem embarrassed to be there and the gags are almost non-existent. Only Carry On Emmannuelle and Columbus are worse.
AMERICAN: THE BILL HICKS STORY 10pm & 1.20am [PREMIERE] ****
Documentary charting the life and career of one of America’s most controversial and influential comedians who died far too soon. Using concert footage with montages of animated still photographs during the talking heads of people who knew and worked with Hicks, this is a must see for fans of the comic and those who want to know how a man so tuned into the American psyche worked.
THUNDERBALL 3.05pm ****
The fourth outing of the Bond series has Sean Connery up against a head of SPECTRE, who steals some nuclear weapons to hold the world to ransom. With some of the best underwater action scenes around, the film does suffer from a slower middle section than usual, but this is Bond with all the glamour, action and puns you'd come to expect. Still a cracking view.
THE BOURNE SUPREMACY 10.15pm *****
Superior sequel to The Bourne Identity with Matt Damon returning as the ex agent, this time who has to resort to his old ways when he is blamed for a botched CIA assignment that goes wrong. Paul Greengrass does a good job at keeping the action level high, as well as an intelligent, adult script. The only downside is the overly shaky camerawork.
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY 11.40am ****
Tim Burton teams up once more with Johnny Depp to bring a colourful and imaginative version of Roald Dahl's classic tale of a group of children who get the chance to enter the weird world of Willy Wonka, owner of a magical chocolate factory. After a long build-up, Depp arrives and gives a very different creation than the one made by Gene Wilder, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot help but compare to the classic 70s musical. Perfect for Burton's strange style and a major achievement, but the memories keep getting in the way.
BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III 1.50pm ****
The final of the series is a real hoot. Marty goes in search of the doc in 1885, and we have a western version of the adventure, as Marty comes across family members from his very distant past. Filled with knowing nods and nicely played gags, this equals the first film in fun and entertainment, and a cracking heart-stopping finale.
BEAN 5.10pm **
Rowan Atkinson's clumsy comic creation gets his first big screen outing, as he is sent to America to take charge with the showing of Whistler's Mother at an art museum, and of course, chaos reigns. The TV series was fine as it was only half an hour long, but stretching it out for longer just gets annoying, as Atkinson, working with his buddy Mel Smith as director, milks every ounce of humour out of everything, and yet it just doesn't work. A huge hit but don't know why.
BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON 11pm **
Renee Zellweger returns as the British singleton, this time, nicely together with straight laced Colin Firth, until cad Hugh Grant returns on the scene. Nothing much happens in this less successful sequel, and it doesn't deliver the laughs the first film did. Disappointing.
CARRY ON UP THE JUNGLE 2.05pm ***
Loads of fun is had by the Carry On team as they send up the Tarzan films with a team heading into the jungle in search of a long lost baby but they are captured by a tribe made up of women. Seeing Terry Scott as the Trazan character is genius casting and while it may not be up there with the best, it still raises several smiles.
ROCKY IV 9pm **
The Rocky saga continues with a flashy, slightly tired entry as Rocky meets a Russian super fighter, who, when destroying his friend Apollo, Rocky has to go back to basics to get on track for the fight of his life. This is one of the films that looks like they were cashing in. It did make Dolph Lungdren famous, but it isn't a patch on the other films.
CHILD’S PLAY 3 10.55pm *
More notorious in this country for being blamed for a most horrific murder, this is a weak entry in the story of Chucky, the killer doll, as Andy has now grown up and is in a military school, with his murderous toy coming after him. This was the final act of a series too long, and then it managed to re-invent itself with The Bride of Chucky, but best avoid this.
BARBARELLA 12.45am ***
Bonkers 60s cult sci-fi adventure with Jane Fonda in the lead as a space maiden whose mission is to track down the evil Durand-Durand. Director Roger Vadim tries to hold the pieces together but this is a colourful mess with Fonda showing her sexier side before becoming a serious actress. And yes this is the film where 80s super group Duran Duran got their name.
SEX AND THE CITY 9.15pm **
First big screen outing for the four girls from the hit TV show as Sarah Jessica Parker prepares to get married at last to Mr Big but one of her friends accidentally causes a rift in the relationship. Fans will love watching the girls dressing up every five seconds and talking openly about sex but it is far too long and looks more like an extended advert than a proper film.
PREDATOR 10pm *****
A team of commandos, in the jungles of South America, find themselves fighting for their lives against an invisible alien who is slowly killing them off. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in this all-action, big, loud adventure movie with added gore. John McTiernan keeps the tension level high as we, the audience are taken on their journey along with the soldiers. The odd comic one-liners break up the otherwise high energy flick. Cracking.
STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER 12.05am **
One of the weakest of the Star Trek movies, with Kirk and the crew finding the Enterprise being hijacked by Spock’s half-brother, desperate to search for the answers to the universe, and particularly God. Directed by William Shatner, this slightly silly movie doesn’t fit so well after the popularity of the fourth movie. For die-hard Trekkies only.
THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS 3.15pm **
Pointless and action less remake of the Hitchcock classic, with Kenneth More stepping into the role of Richard Hannay, a man who is accused of murder and must prove his innocence as well as breaking a spy ring. While More is fine, the rest of this version is badly made, with poor direction and lack of suspense. A waste of time.
FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX 10.30pm ***
Reasonable remake of the classic 60s tale, of a group on board a plane that crashes in the middle of the desert, miles from anything, and having to make a brand new plane out of their crippled craft in order to survive. Dennis Quaid leads the cast in a film that keeps the interest throughout while keeping faithful to the original. Much better than it even deserves to be.
THE LADY VANISHES 11am *
Pointless remake of Hitchcock's classic thriller, with Cybill Shepherd as the American woman travelling aboard a train who tries to convince everyone that a kindly old woman has disappeared, even though no one believes her, apart from fellow American Elliott Gould. As beautiful as Shepherd is, her acting skills leave a lot to be desired, and it is left to seasoned vets Angela Lansbury, Arthur Lowe and Ian Carmichael to keep the fun in this otherwise dull movie going.
HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS 1pm ***
Wild and silly Disney effects comedy with Rick Moranis as a scientist who has created a machine that can shrink things, but he doesn't plan on shrinking his own children, who must fight against everyday items that are twice the size of themselves. Popular at the time, this is the kind of escapism that you can switch your brain off and enjoy the ride. Don't expect anything too deep there.
FOOL’S GOLD 2.50pm *
Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey star in the rubbishy romantic comedy, playing an ex-married couple with a sense for adventure, who find a map leading to buried treasure, and could rekindle their love for each other. Not particularly funny and the stars lack any real chemistry even though they spend most of the time half naked. That doesn’t make for a good movie.
BLACK KNIGHT 5pm *
Martin Lawrence is a comic that I have never found particularly funny, and this appalling, so-called comedy vehicle just drags him even further down into the pits of people who should stop now. He plays an amusement park worker who gets hit on the head and wakes up in 14th century England in a time of knights and people with terrible English accents. Tom Wilkinson must have been really desperate for work to appear in such tripe.
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND 6.50pm ***
A cure for the mutants has been found which leads to a struggle between the X Men and Magneto's own brotherhood. Brett Ratner takes over directing duties from Bryan Singer, and while not as good as the previous two, there is plenty to enjoy and if you are fans of superhero movies, then you will have fun with this and the final battle does look amazing.
TAKEN 9pm ****
A film that has built a cult following in a short space of time. Liam Neeson plays a former spy out to find his missing daughter who has been taken by slave traders. This violent thriller could have been very run of the mill if it hadn’t been for the presence of Neeson who has managed to re-invent himself as a tough, no-nonsense action guy. Not the most intelligent film in the world but a cracking action flick that keeps you watching.
MIRRORS 10.45pm ***
Reasonable horror with Keifer Sutherland as an ex-cop who is trying to rebuild his life when he gets to be night watchman for a building where the mirrors are impeccably clean but soon he starts to see things in them that aren’t there. A creepy tale from director Alexandre Aja that has some effective scares and Sutherland is on form but not the classic we all hoped for.
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE 1am ****
A quiet man, living in a quiet town, becomes a hero when he foils a robbery. The news spreads and suddenly he becomes the focus of some men that could shake the very foundations of his private life, particularly his family. David Cronenberg's film version of the graphic novel is a brilliant thriller with an outstanding performance from Viggo Mortensen. An unsettling film that doesn't pull any punches, and one of Cronenberg's finest.
AUTUMN IN NEW YORK 1.05pm *
An aging playboy meets a terminally ill younger woman and so begins a romance that changes the way he looks at his own life, while she begins to enjoy the few days she has left. Sickly dire love story with Richard Gere and Winona Ryder that tries to be the modern equivalent of Love Story but is so clichéd and badly made, you feel sick just thinking about it.
THE SHEEPMAN 4.45pm ***
Unusual western with Glenn Ford as a confident cowboy who comes to a cattle town and surprises the locals with his stock of sheep. The locals, not happy, decide to try and run him out. A lighter western drama that usual with a cast including Shirley MacLaine and Leslie Neilsen. Not a classic but one that will put a smile on your face.
SURF’S UP 5.20pm ***
A clever idea in which se go behind-the-scenes of an annual surfing competition for penguins as a newcomer arrives and is desperate to meet his idol, a wily old hippie penguin, voiced by Jeff Bridges. There are some genuinely funny moments and the whole of this CGI animated movie is well made but it drags its feet in places and begins to repeat itself too much.
LAST OF THE DOGMEN 12noon ****
Tom Berenger stars as a tracker who heads into the Montana Mountains to search for three escaped fugitives. After discovering they have been murdered he comes across a tribe that have previously been believed to be wiped out. Quite a good little movie, this, with a reasonable storyline and nice cinematography.
GENGHIS KHAN 2.15pm *
A massively expensive epic disaster with Omar Sharif totally miscast as the evil Mongolian leader who dreams of taking the title of Genghis Khan, as he strikes to destroy those who stand in his way. The Yugoslavian locations look fine, but the plot, dialogue, acting and direction is woeful and we are left with a pretty desperate affair.
STEALTH 6.45pm **
Big, expensive blockbuster that came down with a crash at the box office, as a new super plane is released by the American Air Force, that doesn't need a pilot. But you just know that on its maiden voyage something is going to go wrong. Josh Lucas, Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel all seem to be having fun as the pilots out to try and control the plane, and with flashy direction from Rob Cohen, you will soon forget how empty the plot really is.
WALKING TALL: LONE JUSTICE 10pm *
Second sequel to The Rock’s remake of the 70s thriller with Kevin Sorbo as the sheriff who this time must protect his FBI girlfriend and key witnesses to overthrow a drug lord. Not a patch on the original and even a step down from the first sequel, this looks more like a TV movie than anything that has past, and Sorbo isn’t the most charismatic lead male.
THE CHAPERONE *
Another WWE produced movie with one of their wrestling stars taking the lead, this time Triple H as an ex con who is released from prison and is determined to go straight and make amends with his daughter but his previous crew want the money that is stashed on a school bus his daughter is travelling on. An unoriginal family comedy (?) that has very few laughs and a sickly ending. Not good.
DEATH AND LIFE OF CHARLIE ST CLOUD **
Teen heartthrob Zac Efron stars in this bizarre melodrama as a man grieving over the death of his younger brother, who he can communicate with. When a girl enters his life, he must make a decision, to go with the girl or keep his visits with his brother. Efron is fine but the material is so strange it just doesn’t work and it is truly aimed at the fans of the star. Others will be very bemused.
Christopher Nolan’s extraordinarily visual and mental treat with Leonardo DiCaprio as a thief, skilled at stealing information from deep in the subconscious, who is hired to enter the dreams of a businessman with a team and implant an idea. Not giving too much away, this is an incredible head-rush of a journey with some amazing special effects and a story that never talks down to its audience. An absolute must see.
JONAH HEX *
Badly misconceived film version of the graphic novel with Josh Brolin as a wanted bounty hunter who is hired by the US military to stop a terrorist from unleashing hell on earth. Even the cast including John Malkovich and Megan Fox cannot hide the fact that this is a mess that has explosion and noise replacing story and character. A disaster in every sense of the word.
MEET THE ROBINSONS ***
Disney animation in which a young boy who has invented a machine that looks into people’s brains, meets a kid from the future who needs his help to stop the evil Bowler Hat Man. Not one of the studios better efforts even if the CGI animation is fine, the story is a little too out there but if it keeps the younger audience happy then they have achieved their aims.
MIRRORS 2 *
Sequel that acts more like a remake with Nick Stahl as a man recovering from an accident who becomes a security guard in a store only to start seeing the form of a mysterious girl in the mirrors. Nothing new is here that hasn’t been seen in the original and Stahl is no replacement for Keifer Sutherland.
TRON LEGACY **
Belated sequel to the ground-breaking 1982 film, this time the game’s son is transported into the grid where he has to battle against the all powerful Clu and be reunited with his missing father. Visually this is a stunning piece but the confused plot and wooden lead in the form of Garrett Hedlund makes this a rather dull experience. The presence of Jeff Bridges does help as does Olivia Wilde but you can’t make a good movie with just star power alone.
SUNDAY 28TH AUGUST
TEXAS RANGERS 11.45pm *
A group of ex Civil War soldiers form the Texas Rangers, out to protect the immigrants from crossing the US border, stopping Americans from trying to claim the land and generally becoming a new law enforcement. But there are some who don’t agree with having them and are out to destroy them. Coming on like some new Young Guns, the cast of fresh faced TV stars (James Van Der Beer, Ashton Kutcher et al) aren’t strong enough to carry this western and so we get a mundane, fairly dull adventure.
THE HOURS 10.40pm *****
Outstanding drama following three very different women as they are affected by the book ‘Mrs Dalloway’. A woman whose best friend is dying of AIDS; a pregnant woman in the 50s and the writer of the book, Virginia Woolf. The cast, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and a completely unrecognisable Nicole Kidman (in her oScar winning role) as Woolf. Powerful, beautifully performed and a film that grows better with every view.
THE QUEEN 4.35pm *****
Helen Mirren deservedly walked away with almost every acting award around for this incredible performance of Elizabeth II, during the days of Princess Diana’s death, and showing how the Royal family had to pull all their resources together for the private and public grieving. Stephen Frear’s movie is a fascinating insight into a world we will never fully understand, but it is Mirren’s performance that will stay with you long after the film is over.
THE FUGITIVE 10.15pm ****
John Ford’s film version of Graham Greene’s novel with Henry Fonda as priest on the run from his Central American parish after the authorities have denounced Christianity and heads to America only to be followed by a police informant. An underrated classic from Ford with a terrific central performance from Fonda. A gripping tale of a man on the run.
BEAN 3.55pm **
See Saturday for review
HOT FUZZ 9pm *****
The team that gave us Shaun of the Dead are back and on cracking form with this affectionate spoof of the action cop film, with Simon Pegg as a super cop sent to a sleepy village but soon uncovering a crime ring among the locals. Relentlessly funny and with some superb set pieces, Edgar Wright directs with the same pace and visual flair as Shaun. With Timothy Dalton and Edward Woodward in the cast, this is an absolute blast.
THAT’S CARRY ON 4.50pm **
Kenneth Williams and Barbara Windsor guide us through a collection of clips of the best of the Carry On movies, with all your favourites on parade. A bit like a Carry On film, but without the storyline, however the interplay between the two stars is a little cringing.
THE CONSTANT GARDENER 11.05pm *****
Ralph Fiennes stars as the title character, a mild-mannered diplomat with a love for gardening, who must investigate the murder of his wife, and, told in flashback, he finds that his relationship with her comes into question. A complex web of deceit involving medical relief for Africa in this adaptation of John le Carre's novel, brilliantly handled by director Fernando Meirelles, who has created an intelligent, intriguing political thriller. Fiennes is perfect as the lead with superb support from Rachel Weisz.
HORIZONS WEST 1.15pm **
A battle between brothers after the Civil War when one goes off to drive cattle and starts becoming a troublemaker to the local towns, while the other has to try and stop him after being appointed Marshall. Disappointing western considering the talent involved, with Robert Ryan as the lawman and Rock Hudson as the man who he must tame.
LETHAL WEAPON 4 9.05pm ***
The final outing for Gibson, Glover and co, this time up against a Chinese gang who are desperate to get the grandfather of a Chinese family that are hiding in Glover’s house. While the gags are still here and the inclusion of Chris Rock adds another dimension to the familiar gang, the violence has been upped with an ultra-violent finale that was hacked by the censors. Fun but a long way from the original.
ROCKY IV 11.35pm **
See Saturday for review
RUNAWAY BRIDE 3.15pm ***
Trying to capture the same magic they had on Pretty Woman, director Garry Marshall re-teamed Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in this amiable romantic comedy, about a reporter who goes to a small town to investigate why a young woman keeps running away just as she is about to be married. Undemanding stuff that alas, isn’t a patch on their first film.
RUSH HOUR 3 9pm [NETWORK PREMIERE] **
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan return for another film in which they argue, fight and generally upset the authorities, this time they go to Paris to track down and protect a woman who has knowledge of the Triads. The team are now getting tiresome and what made the original work so well has now vanished and you are left with a loud, chaotic and completely forgettable third film that really isn’t needed or, for that matter, wanted.
BEVERLY HILLS COP II 10.45pm ***
Sequel to the hugely successful comedy thriller with Eddie Murphy returning to LA after one of his friends is shot, and investigating a series of robberies. Tony Scott's flashy direction goes for the loud and explosive rather than the laughs, and what we get is a disappointment.
NACHO LIBRE 4.10pm **
Madcap comedy with Jack Black as a monk who dreams of becoming a legendary wrestler but it seems to be a very long journey for that dream to come true. What is a promising premise, and with Black at the top of his game, this actually is slightly disappointing, and even with a host of quirky characters, it doesn't really carry through and the gags are not as strong as they could have been. Kudos for Black, giving everything he has to make it work. Not terrible, just not as good as it could have been.
EDWARD SCISSORHANDS 7.55pm *****
Tim Burton's modern day fairytale with Johnny Depp as a man who has been created with scissors for hands and how he arrives in a small community and manages to make everyone feel special, until a local bully decides to have other ideas. Winona Ryder plays the girl who falls for Edward's charms, in a sweet, magical and beautiful movie.
MURDER MOST FOUL 11am ****
Margaret Rutherford returns as Miss Marple in a terrific adaptation of Agatha Christie's story. She joins a group of actors in a troupe after a blackmailer is murdered, but when the rest of the performers are being bumped off one by one, Marple has to solve the crime before they all die. Rutherford is such a force to reckon with that she brings a level of fun and entertainment to this great whodunit.
CLASH OF THE TITANS 1pm ****
Fantasy with a terrific all-star cast and Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation in this telling of the legend of Perseus, as he has to battle against medusa and The Kraken in order to save the beautiful Princess Andromeda, while the gods lead his path, or downfall. Laurence Olivier is perfect as Zeus, while Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress and Claire Bloom ham it up. The only disappointment is Harry Hamlin’s slightly wet Perseus and the annoying robotic owl. Still plenty of fun and escapism for young and old alike.
FIVE CHILDREN AND IT 3.15pm ***
Likeable family film based on E. Nesbit's story of a group of children who find a sand fairy on a beach near their uncle's house. The creature grants them a wish every day that would last till sunset, but the children find it difficult to come up with wishes, which could lead them into trouble. Eddie Izzard supplies the voice for 'It', and while it doesn't match the BBC version, this is still an enjoyable and quaintly old fashioned fable.
GREASE 5pm *****
Extremely popular musical with super cool John Travolta as the leader of a high school gang who falls for sweet and innocent Olivia Newton-John, but cannot let on his true feelings in front of his fellow gang members. A real feel-good movie with catchy tunes, loads of colour and energy and pure fun from start to finish. Escapism of the highest order.
DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION 7.15pm [PREMIERE] *
Terrible fantasy adventure based on a cartoon in which a young man is chosen to find seven secret orbs that will grant him unlimited powers. This flashy mess has nothing good to redeem it, with awful acting, an annoying lead and Chow Yun Fat looking like he really shouldn’t have signed up for this. Dire.
DEFINITELY, MAYBE 9pm ***
Better-than-average romantic comedy with Ryan Reynolds as a father who is on the verge of getting a divorce and has to try and explain his situation to his young daughter, who wants to know about how they met and fell in love. The reason this works is the likeable cast including Abigail Breslin as his daughter and Rachel Weitz, Isla Fisher and Elizabeth Banks as the three women in his life. Predictable, yes but enjoyable too.
PRIMAL 11.10pm [PREMIERE] **
Vicious and gory horror in which a group of friends go to a remote island to investigate ancient paintings but when one of the group goes skinny dipping, she soon starts to regress into a man-eating creature. The idea is pretty original but the execution isn’t perfect, even if the blood flows and horror fans will love the grisly deaths. You do wonder if you would do some of the things the characters do if you were in their place.
THE FLY 12.50am ****
David Cronenberg took a B-movie from the 50s and gave it a distinguished face-lift as Jeff Goldblum plays a scientist who creates a transportation machine, but when a fly gets in with him, the DNA starts mixing and he starts changing. Even though it is a gore-fest, there is a touching love story mixed between Goldblum and Geena Davis.
THE BOUNTY HUNTER 2pm ****
A decent Randolph Scott western with a touch of a thriller involved. He plays a bounty hunter hired by the Pinkleton detective agency to track down three unidentified members of a violent train robbery, but when he tracks the men down to a small town, his next job is to know exactly who they are before they get to him first. The tension is handled well and this becomes more than just another Western.
RIDERS OF VENGEANCE 3.35pm ***
Reasonable B-movie western in which a rancher who has discovered gold during the Californian Gold Rush, has to track down the men who stole his claim and murdered his wife. Richard Conte star in this cowboy film with the usual clichés but a darker tone than most. Not bad and fans of the genre will enjoy it.
CHARLIE’S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE 5.10pm *
If you thought the first film was bad, this is even worse. Bill Murray had enough and jumped ship, only to be replaced by Bernie Mac, but this tiresome tale of an ex-angel wanting her revenge on Charlie is just so pitiful, you will probably switch off before the opening credits end. Bad beyond words. Let's hope there's no more...please!
THE DA VINCI CODE 7.10pm **
Big screen version of Dan Brown's bestseller with Tom Hanks as a professor who is brought into investigating a secret code that has been protected by a sect that could shake up Christianity. While the production values are very high, and director Ron Howard keeps this moving with the help of the star cast, the story itself is both dull and silly, and who can you get excited when Hanks delivers lines like 'I've got to get to a library... Fast!'
SURF’S UP 1pm ***
See Saturday for review
GENGHIS KHAN 12.30pm *
See Saturday for review
MONDAY 29TH AUGUST
STREETDANCE 1.55pm [NETWORK PREMIERE] **
British dance movie about a team of dancers who must work with a ballet troupe in order to get rehearsal space for an up and coming competition, and the old and new collide. The plot is wafer thin but you really only want to see the moves from the hippest dancers this country has, including Britain’s Got Talent winners George Sampson and Diversity. The dancing is great, the acting isn’t.
THE INCREDIBLES 3.25pm *****
Pixar takes on superheroes and wins big time. Brad Bird’s brilliantly realised comedy has all superheroes outlawed, and so they live ordinary lives, until a new threat comes, and Mr. Incredible and his family have to come out of retirement. Hilarious from start to finish, with fun poked at suburban life as well as all those superhero creations, it looks amazing and is painfully funny. I think its Pixar best to date. Superb.
LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT 11.55pm *
Lightweight romantic comedy with Angelina Jolie as a TV reporter who interviews a homeless psychic, who predicts that she will die soon and that her life has no meaning, sparking her to do something about it. This is fairly hopeless stuff, with Jolie looking out of her depth in a blonde wig. Not funny, not romantic and certainly not clever.
ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT 11.35am ****
Wartime adventure from Powell and Pressburgen with Dirk Borgade leading a team who go to occupied Crete to kidnap a German General and get him back to Cairo, but an extensive air and land search begins, making it hard for the troop. This is a straight-forward, no-nonsense boys' own adventure lifted by the classiness of the direction and some solid performances.
THE STEPFORD WIVES 11.10pm **
Light-weight remake of the classic 70s thriller with Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick as the young couple who move into a new neighbourhood where all the women seem more than perfect and dote on their husbands. This comic version isn’t that funny, and all the suspense and drama that made the original so great has gone. Instead we are left with a limp rag of a movie.
CHICKEN RUN 7.10pm ****
Aradman Animations first full length feature is a cracking comedy that lampoons The Great Escape among others. A band of chickens want to escape a farm, but when a brave cockerel comes, they think their hopes are high. Mel Gibson and Julia Sawalha lead the cast that provide the voices, in this funny and inventive movie.
GOOD WILL HUNTING 11.45pm ****
Oscar winning drama about a troubled young man who has the hidden talent of being a mathematical genius. While sounding quite dull, Gus Van Sant’s movie dodges over sentimentality and delivers good performances from award winning script team Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, while Robin Williams won a gold statue for his role of the professor that takes the boy under his wing. A solid drama but a little too overrated for my liking.
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER 3.30pm ****
Sean Connery returns to the role of James Bond in this funky adventure involving a batch of stolen diamonds. The stunts and action sequences are up to par, but the story is a little thin. Still Connery is as smooth as ever and the one-liners are fun, and while it's not up there with the best, it's one of my personal favourites and a real guilty pleasure.
CATWOMAN 4.40pm *
Halle Berry went from Oscar winner to Razzies winner with this abysmal comic strip adventure, playing an office worker left for death after discovering boss Sharon Stone’s evil intentions, but being brought back to life by the spirit of the cat. Clumsy and confused, even though Berry looks great, it may be best to stick with Batman Returns for Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman.
THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE 10pm ****
Keanu Reeves is a newly qualified lawyer who lands the most perfect job, working for Al Pacino. Life is good for him and his wife Charlize Theron, until he realises that Pacino is not all he seems to be. While this is a slightly silly tale, it is livened up by Pacino’s completely over-the-top performance, and you can tell he loves every single moment, thus making this a very entertaining tale indeed.
THE MIRROR CRACK’D 3.30pm ***
Angela Lansbury is perfectly cast as the mild-mannered Miss Marple, in this Agatha Christie adaptation, in which a murder occurs on the set of a movie. The starry cast including Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis are outshined by Elizabeth Taylor's and Kim Novak's bitchy actresses. Not one of the best Christie movies, but a fair way to waste a Sunday afternoon.
VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED 10.05pm ***
John Carpenter's remake of the classic creeper. The women of a small village all become pregnant and the children that are born are not all they seem. Christopher Reeve stars in this reasonable movie that doesn't add anything to the original, but manages to stand alone as a good shocker.
ENTER THE DRAGON 12midnight *****
The big daddy of kung fu movies. A high-kicking, big, dumb action thriller with Bruce Lee as a martial arts expert sent to infiltrate an island of a madman who is trying to flood the US with opium. The plot and dialogue is absolutely nonsensical, but who cares when Lee gets to show what an amazing fighter he was. Brash, exciting and enjoyable. A classic of 70s action with a legend that died too young.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS 10.20am *****
David Lean's superb adaptation of Dickens’ classic novel with John Mills playing the man who was abandoned as a child and lives with the overpowering Miss Havisham, who becomes a man with the help from an unexpected benefactor. Lean's movie manages to capture Dickens world quite brilliantly, with all the trappings of emotions that run through the book, and the cast is simply terrific. One of those movies you have to see before you die. Brilliant.
MURDER SHE SAID 11am ****
Margaret Rutherford returns as Agatha Christie spinster amateur sleuth, Miss Marple. She witnesses a murder on a train journey through a small village, but as there is no body to be found, the police dismiss her allegations, so she takes a job in the village to investigate. A slice of old-fashioned fun with Rutherford adding plenty of charm and lightness of touch. A gentle, fun film.
BATMAN 12.45pm ***
The original 60s TV series is given the big screen treatment with Adam West and Burt Ward playing the Dynamic Duo battling all their greatest enemies (The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin and Cat Woman) as they steal members of the United Nation. This is glorious camp fun which never once takes itself seriously, and you find yourself laughing at the silliness of it all, and yet, it's as entertaining as being tickled with a feather.
HOME ALONE 2.50pm ****
The first and best of the adventures of a young boy left home alone by his parents and having to fend off two bungling crooks who are after the family’s belongings. It made Macaulay Culkin into a superstar and For a while was the most successful comedy of all times. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are perfect as the crooks who get battered and bruised by the boy. Tons of fun.
HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK 4.50pm **
Badly judged sequel to the popular Christmas tale with Macaulay Culkin this time left alone in a New York hotel, and still having to battle thieves Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. The violent attacks this time come across as much more brutal and the relationship he builds with Brenda Flicker’s bird woman is just overly sentimental. Best stick with the original.
THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING 7.05pm **
Unimpressive fantasy adventure in which a young boy finds he is the last of a line of immortals who must fight the forces of evil. He has to travel back and forth in time collecting clues that can help with his final showdown. Christopher Eccleston and Ian MacShane must have been paid loads to appear in this hammy, heavy-handed family film that flopped.
INDEPENDENCE DAY 9pm **
Effects filled sci-fi drama in which the world comes under attack from aliens, and it’s up to a small band of survivors and soldiers to fight the good fight and get glory back for the world. While the explosions and destruction of the major American monuments are impressive, the whole “America is great” thing is sickening and the plan they come up with is so ludicrous it becomes laughable. A massively missed opportunity.
FINAL DESTINATION 3 11.45pm **
The spooky series starts to slow down a little with this third outing, this time a girl cheats death on board a rollercoaster ride, and, of course, the survivors she drags off the ride all become immediate targets for death. The invention of their demises is still the interesting thing, but after three times out, it's starting to run a little thin.
JOY RIDE 2: DEAD AHEAD 1.30am [PREMIERE] **
DTV sequel to the excellent Road Kill (aka Joy Ride) that doesn’t come close to reaching the tension and suspense of the original as a group of youngster travelling to Vegas borrow a car when their vehicle breaks down, not knowing that the car belongs to the psychotic truck driver. Lots of chasing, screaming and stupidity that is fine for those who want something completely undemanding.
MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY 1.55pm ****
Colourful version of the classic tale with Trevor Howard as Captain Bligh, the leader of the Bounty, a ship heading to Tahiti. Wanting to get there quickly, he runs a tight ship, but when they arrive and its paradise for the crew, Blight’s second in command, Fletcher Christian, decides to stay and starts a mutiny. Marlon Brando is the mutinous Christian and this is an underrated version of the tale, directed with flair by Lewis Milestone. Brando is as brooding as ever, while Howard holds his own as the Captain.
STUCK ON YOU 9pm ***
The Farrelly Brothers have looked at all sorts of disabilities for humour, so why not Siamese twins. Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear star in this tale of brothers joined together, one quite shy while the other wants to break into movies. There are some very funny moments, but you can’t help but think that the Farrellys are running out of steam
TUESDAY 30TH AUGUST
THEY WERE NOT DIVIDED 11.35am ***
Wartime drama written and directed by Terence Young and set in a World War II training depot for the British guard where ordinary people are thrown together to join in the fight for their own country. This little seen drama is perfectly fine with an unknown cast (although look out for a small role from Christopher Lee). A fine time waster.
THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS 9pm ****
Heart-breaking drama in which the son of a concentration camp commandant starts a forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy who is has been captured by the Germans and is living in the camp. This tale of innocence during a time of horror is beautifully played by the two young boys and you are drawn into their lives with so much horror around them. A truly touching tale.
AMERICAN: THE BILL HICKS STORY 12midnight ****
See Saturday for review
DREAMCATCHER 10.35pm ***
Confused mix of horror, sci-fi and suspense as a group of friends on a camping trip that soon discover their holiday interrupted by parasites from another world. Lawrence Kasdan’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is a mish-mash that doesn’t quite work. The cast, including Morgan Freeman and Jason Lee do their best and William Godman’s script has moments of good moments but it just doesn’t work and becomes hard work.
BATMAN FOREVER 9pm ***
With both Tim Burton and Michael Keaton jumping ship, it’s up to Joel Schumaker to take directorial duties and he gets Val Kilmer to don the black suit, but the darkness has gone and we head towards the campness of the TV series. Jim Carrey is annoying as the Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones is wasted as Two-Face, while Nicole Kidman’s love interest doesn’t work. Flashy and big but empty and not a patch on the first two films.
EYES WIDE SHUT 11.35pm ****
Stanley Kurbrick’s controversial last movie has Tom Cruise as a doctor who goes on a night long redemption of sex when his wife (Nicole Kidman) admits to having an affair. This curiosity may not be for everyone, and some might think it is a lumbering bore, but others will see what a brilliant film maker Kurbrick was. Not his best, by a long shot, but still one fans should cherish.
UNLEASHED 10.25pm ***
Violent action thriller with Jet Li as a man who has been brought up like a dog by his trainer, gangster Bob Hoskins. He is a one-man killing machine who manages to escape his captor, he meets a blind man who teaches him the better things in life and tries to retrain him to be a human. Morgan Freeman plays the blind man, in this slightly silly yet exciting and well paced action film written by Luc Besson. Nonsense, yes, but entertaining.
BARBARELLA 12.30am ***
See Saturday for review
I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE 3.55am *****
Pure classic Howard Hawks comedy with Cary Grant on top form as a French officer assigned to work with a female American Lieutenant, and after they fall in love, she gets called back to the US, but find that she cannot bring her new love with her, unless they act on a law that allows men to bring females back. Ann Sheridan plays the love interest but this is Grant's film, and he milks every comedy possibility going. The cross dressing comedy is a dream and a must for fans of a good giggle.
THE THIEF OF BAGDAD 10.30pm *****
Bright and colourful adventure from Michael Powell (and Ludwig Berger), based on the Arabian Knights adventure about a Prince who is cast into a cave by an evil Grand Vizier, and befriends a young thief to help him. A wondrous fantasy that will keep anyone happy, made by a master filmmaker.
WARLOCK 11am ****
Cracking western drama in which the town of Warlock is attacked by a gang of crooks, and so they hire gun slighter Henry Fonda to come and be their Marshall, but by bring along a gambler (Richard Widmark) have the town made the right decision? Edward Dmytryk's film is rich with story and the action is handled well, while the leads are as reliably good as ever. A strong western adventure.
DOCTOR AT LARGE 1.20pm ***
The continuing adventures of Dr Simon Sparrow, as played by Dirk Bogarde, sees him graduating and going out into the big wide world where he comes across a whole series of people and situations that could ruin his career. If you enjoy the series of Doctor films, this won't disappoint. Simple, old comedic fun.
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S 3.15pm *****
Classic quirky comedy about a young free-spirited girl who becomes the object of fascination for a young writer who has moved into her building. Audrey Hepburn glows as Holly Golightly, while George Peppard isn't given enough to do as the writer, but then this is Hepburn's movie. Joyful and who can resist Moon River.
A TOWN CALLED PANIC 5.30pm ****
Highly original and completely bonkers stop-animation comedy in which Indian and Cowboy decide to build a new homestead for Horse but this is the start of a whole host of trouble, leading them to a paralell universe. This hilariously off-kilt film from Belgium just keeps getting more and more loopy as it goes on but at a short running time and a pace that is almost relentless, this is a very satisfying comedy if a little on the surreal side.
HOME ALONE 3 7pm *
Culkin, Pesci and Stern decided to stay away from this dreadful rehash of the Home Alone series, with Alex D. Linz as the brat who is home alone to defend himself from a group of thieves who wants a microchip hidden in his toy car. The slapstick violence is laid thick and John Hughes' script is just a rehash of the other two movies. And they say that money is the root of all evil, well this comes pretty close.
TINA: WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? 9pm ****
Angela Bassett is almost perfect as singing diva Tina Turner, as this film based on her autobiography of a struggling young singer seduced by a man who promised her the world, but finds herself in a violent and abusive relationship. Laurence Fishburne is equally good as Ike Turner in this uneasy yet fascinating movie.
BAD LIEUTENANT 11.15pm ****
Abel Ferrara’s shocking and brutal police thriller with Harvey Keitel as a lapsed Catholic cop on his last legs, who is given one last chance when he is sent to investigate the rape of a nun, but his feelings towards the church are started to affect his judgement. An incredibly brave performance from Keitel, as he pushes the boundaries of taste and the content is controversial and unsettling. A gritty drama that will unnerve many.
TOKYO SONATA 1.05am ****
Japanese director Kiyoshi Kursawa gives us a picture not very domestic bliss as a family slowly starts to disintegrate when the father of the family loses his job and the family's greed pulls them apart. Not one of Kurasawa's best, as this does get a little depressing and is very downbeat, but you cannot ignore the level of style that he brings to this tale of a self destructive clan in a time when they really need to be together. Heavy going but worthy.
THE TRANSPORTER 9pm ****
Ludicrous action flick with Jason Stratham as a driver who delivers goods with no questions asked, but finds he’s being tracked down after discovering that one of his deliveries is a girl. The action sequences are so over the top that you can’t help but enjoy it. This is dumb to the extreme, and yet strangely watchable.
WEDNESDAY 31ST AUGUST
BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE 11.30pm *
Lame comedy with Steve Martin as a lawyer who thinks he is corresponding with a beautiful blonde woman, but is shocked to find ex-con Queen Lathifa on his doorstep. Cue a host of racial gags and awkward moments that tries to re-introduce Martin as a comedy genius, but the material is just embarrassing. Even the usually reliable Eugene Levy is left out in the cold.
DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT 11.40am ***
Wartime romantic drama written by Terence Young, about an American newswoman who meets and falls for a Polish piano virtuoso, but fears when he wants to return to his native home and fight in the war. Tearjerker that plays out beautifully as it goes through flashbacks of the events of the two people's lives. A nice way to waste a few hours.
DANTE’S PEAK 10.35pm ****
Better-than-average recent disaster movie with Pierce Brosnan as a volcanologist who comes to a small town when he notices some strange underground activities, leading to a possible eruption of a dormant volcano. Linda Hamilton plays the town’ Mayor and love interest, but the star of the film is the special effects as the eruption is amazing to watch. Roger Donaldson handles the set pieces well and there’s a human side to this exciting adventure.
THE RIVER 2.35am ****
Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek star as a farming couple who have fallen on hard times. Desperate to stop the bank from taking their land away, they face an even greater threat when a heavy storm begins and starts raising the waters in their nearby river. A compelling piece that is simply told and well made. Good performances from the leads help.
BATMAN AND ROBIN 10pm *
The death-nail in the Batman franchise started by Tim Burton, as George Clooney steps into the suit and does battle with Arnold Schwarenegger's pun-filled Mr Freeze and Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy. The bright colours and homo-erotic attitude turned many fans off, and the script is so woeful, it is a big surprise that anyone was allowed to touch the comic book hero again. Thank goodness for Christopher Nolan's re-invention.
LAND OF THE DEAD 10.05pm ***
George A. Romero returned to his favourite subject some twenty years after Day of The Dead with this continuation of the zombie story. The world is now filled with the living dead, and only a handful of survivors have managed to live in a walled city, while the wealthy live in the skyscrapers, but how long can they go on like this. Not a patch on the original trilogy and you can’t help but think that Shaun Of The Dead put a last nail in the coffin of Romero’s good work.
CHILD’S PLAY 12midnight ****
A young boy is given a doll, not realising that the soul of a dead serial killer has possessed the toy and is determined to find another human to get into. A little bizarre, this has moments of genuine scares as we get introduced to Chucky, the murderous doll in the film that launched a thousand sequels (well quite a few). Director Tom Holland keeps the tension rising nicely and even if it is silly, it’s fun silly.
THE GIFT HORSE 12.10pm ***
British war drama about a marine officer who, after a court martial, is given control of a dilapidated ship, and while becoming hated by the crew, and close to being thrown out of the navy, he manages to turn the whole thing around. Trevor Howard and Richard Attenborough star in this reasonable war movie that has the added bonus of a decent storyline.
PREDATOR 11pm *****
See Saturday for review
BROKEN LANCE 10.35am ****
Big time western adventure with Spencer Tracy as a land owner and cattle baron who takes on a local copper smelter for polluting the water that runs through his land, but this leads to tragedy and revenge is on the books. Director Edward Dmytryk handles this lavish tale well, and with a strong cast including Robert Wagner and Richard Widmark, this is how to make a decent, exciting western.
THE BLACK TENT 11am **
British war movie with Anthony Steel as a soldier who, while retreating, finds safety with a Bedouin tribe and falls for the sheik’s daughter. The scenery and use of location is good but the plot is terrible and the script could have been written on a postcard.
THE SHERIFF OF FRACTURED JAW 12.50pm ***
Fun western comedy with Kenneth More as an Englishman travelling through the mid west, when his stagecoach is attacked by Indians, and he inadvertently saves everyone. Once reaching the nearest town, word gets around and he is offered the position of sheriff. Partly used to help Jayne Mansfield career grows, this, nevertheless, is simple, straight-forward escapism, and perfect afternoon fare.
THE ENGLISHMAN WHO WENT UP A HILL BUT CAME DOWN A MOUNTAIN 2.55pm ****
Gentle and sweet natured comedy with Hugh Grant as a cartographer who goes to inspect a Welsh hill that falls short of being a mountain, so the locals decide to do something about. Undemanding stuff with the usual mix of eccentric characters that populate the quaint Welsh village, and a love story involving Grant and Tara Fitzgerald. Just simply a nice film and you can't argue with that.
CLASH OF THE TITANS 1pm ****
See Sunday for review
THE WEDDING PLANNER 7pm **
Jennifer Lopez stars as a wedding planner who is the best at her job, but things get complicated when she falls in love with the groom of her next job. Matthew McConaughey plays the love interest in this routine rom com that just goes through the motions and doesn't add anything different.
PREMONITION 9pm *
Head scratching horror with Sandra Bullock as a woman who is given the news that her husband is killed in a car crash, only to wake up the next day and find he is still alive. While it could have been an interesting premise in the right hands, it lacks any real suspense in the hands of director Mennan Yapo, and so we get another below average Bullock film, asking the question...will she ever make another good one?
THE ESCAPIST 10.50pm ****
First-rate thriller with Brian Cox on cracking form as a lifer in prison who finds out his daughter is ill and is determined to make peace with her, so he plots to escape by recruiting a band of misfits to help him out. A terrific cast helps this tense, exciting film move along at a cracking pace, with most of the actions in the tunnels and sewers. There is much more to this escape movie than just tunnelling, but it has plenty of heart and Cox proves that he is an actor that shouldn't be wasted.
ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER 12.50am *****
Another gem from director Pedro Almodovar, in which a young woman, dreaming of becoming a writer, finds herself wanting to learn more about the father she never knew, thanks to his secret being kept by her mother. Full of sharp dialogue and plenty of colour, this is Almodovar's most personal movie, and that helps to make it a cracker, with terrific performances from all. A great film from a great director.
THURSDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER
THE HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG 11.35pm ****
Gripping drama with Jennifer Connolly as a woman who is evicted from her house after a mistake, and then tries to get it back from the Iranian immigrants who have bought it from an auction. Ben Kinglsey plays the father of the family who have moved in, and while this may sound dull, it will grab you from the beginning and is incredibly moving, particularly the tragic ending. A cracking little drama that is well played by all.
BOMBARDIER 11.40am ***
Wartime drama following the new recruits as they join a US Air Force bombing training school, lead by one of the best bombardiers around. Filmed in semi-documentary style with personal stories of their journey, this makes for a more interesting tale and with a solid cast including Pat O’Brien and Randolph Scott, this isn’t a terrible experience at all.
JIG 9pm [NETWORK PREMIERE] ****
Delightful documentary following the young contestants as they prepare to enter the 40th Irish Dancing World Championship. The usual heartaches, bonding and back-stabbing as we get to see another world that is rarely seen outside those who enter is funny, moving and surprisingly exciting. Proof once more that modern documentary films are getting better and better.
MAD MAX 2 9.05pm *****
Excellent sequel with Mel Gibson roaming the wastelands of Australia and coming across a society that is desperately protecting their own from the violent gangs outside their enclosure. George Miller has upped his game with this outstanding action movie which includes some incredible stunt work. A futuristic classic.
CHILD’S PLAY 3 11.10pm *
See Saturday for review
THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN 10am ****
Classy British crime caper with Jack Hawkins leading a team of ex-servicemen who plan, with military precision, a bank robbery. There is something most appealing about this very British movie: the cast do an outstanding job and Hawkins holds the group together well. Although the ending is a little disappointing, you cannot deny that this is a particularly good caper that is fun all the way.
NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND 11am ****
Studio Ghibli sci-fi animation with an environmental edge. Set in the future, after a war has destroyed the Earth, a small pocket of survivors battle to save their land and the Princess Nausicaa must try and protect an area which everyone believes has poisonous toxic plants, but they have quite the opposite effect and could save the earth. Hayao Miyazaki's classy futuristic tale is a much darker affair than most of his other works.
THE LAW AND JAKE WADE 1.20pm ****
Western adventure with Robert Taylor as a marshal whose shady past catches up with him when he uses his powers to help an old associate, only for a personal vendetta to be used against him. John Sturges directs this taut and exciting western, with Richard Widmark as the baddie,
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS 3.05pm *****
Don Siegel's terrific science fiction thriller in which something very strange is happening to ordinary people, and Kevin McCarthy believes that the aliens have landed and are taking over. A 50s classic that was made as a parable to the threats of Communism, it has been remade several times but never have they managed to capture the tension and the true suspense of one of the best sci-fi movies of the 1950s.
ESCAPE TO ATHENA 4.40pm ***
Starry cast led by Roger Moore seem to be enjoying themselves in this POW drama, set in Greece, and where the prisoners not only want to escape but they plan to capture a stash of treasure hidden in a mountain top monastery. Elliott Gould, Telly Savalas and David Niven also star, and while the plot gets silly, it’s all done with a sense of fun and if you don’t take it too serious, this is strangely likeable.
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND 7pm ***
See Saturday for review
THE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER 9pm **
Routine military thriller with John Travolta as an army officer called in to investigate the rape of the general's daughter, and uncovering some pretty nasty secrets. A good cast including James Woods and Madeline Stowe, but Travolta virtually sleepwalks his way through and the twists and turns cannot hide the predictability of the ending.
A ROOM AND A HALF OR A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME 11.15pm [PREMIERE] ****
Interesting mix of actual footage and staged to follow the journey of exiled Russian poet Josef Brodsky, who went on to win the Nobel prize. Film maker Andrey Khrzhanovskiy has cleverly mixed different styles from animation, colour and black and white and other film styles to really draw the audience into the life of an extraordinary man. A fascinating journey well worth taking.
THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY 1.50pm ****
Bizarre horror in which a maniac lives in the basement of a gothic house, and has to kill in order to get fresh body parts so he can stay alive. Italian shock director Lucio Fulci goes completely for broke with this bloody tale which does lose the plot but is worth viewing considering it was one of the notorious video nasties of the 80s. Being shown in its original Italian, this is a curio for cult horrors and fans of over the top gore fests.
FRIDAY 2ND SEPTEMBER
RUNAWAY TRAIN 11.45pm *****
Criminal mastermind Jon Voight and partner Eric Roberts escape from a maximum security prison and board a train bound for nowhere in the snowy wastelands. With the prison's guards closing in, the train starts to pick up speed. A little too fast, as it becomes a runaway. Underrated thriller that has enough tension and suspense for a dozen thrillers, and even if Voight goes a little over the top, this is a first-rate action film that demands attention.
THE PURPLE PLAIN 11.35am ***
Based on a novel by H.E. Bates, Gregory Peck is on fine form as a pilot who has a death wish after his wife is killed in an air raid. Fearing his own life and his fellow pilots, he is assigned to a mainly English-speaking outpost where his life changes after meeting a Burmese woman. A well structured drama that relies heavily on peck and he delivers in stoves.
SONG OF SONGS 1.35am **
A dark drama set in the world of London’s orthodox Jewish community, in which a religious woman, returning from Israel to look after her dying mother, tries to persuade her brother to return to, but this triggers off some secrets of sexual obsession and forbidden games. Not many laughs in this serious adult drama that tries its best to show religion and sex, but the performances are too shabby and it takes itself far too seriously.
POLICE ACADEMY 10.35pm ***
The first and best of the comedy series about a group of inept cadets to the Police Academy and the antics that they get up to. Steve Guttenberg leads the ragbag of misfits, and the gags, while some are very infantile, others are of a more mature nature and you find yourself giggling away and then feeling very guilty afterwards. Just try and put the sequels out of your memory and just enjoy it for what it is.
BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON 11pm **
See Saturday for review
HOT FUZZ 11.15pm *****
See Sunday for review
ATONEMENT 10pm *****
Outstanding adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel in which a 13 year old girl misinterprets the relationship of a socialite and the son of a servant and he gets accused of a crime he never committed. Keira Knightley and James McAvoy are perfectly casted in this drama of lies and deceit and Joe Wright’s beautifully restrained direction works well. One of the best British films in recent years.
ENTER THE DRAGON 10pm *****
See Monday for review
LETHAL WEAPON 4 12.15am ***
See Sunday for review
THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS 10.35am **
See Saturday for review
KISS THE GIRLS 9pm ***
Morgan Freeman stars as Alex Cross, a police pathologist who becomes involved in tracking down a serial killer, with the help of the only victim who managed to escape his clutches. Ashley Judd plays the victim in a decent thriller that has a twist that is so blindingly obvious at the beginning, you would have to be a fool not to work it out. Freeman and Judd are good value, however.
WATERLOO ROAD 11am ****
Forgotten but well crafted British war drama with John Miles as a man who skips being drafted in order to track down Stewart Granger, who has been seeing Miles wife behind his back. Filmed in and around the streets of Waterloo Station, this is both a fascinating look at real London during the war, and a solid drama of a man driven by the acts of his adulterous wife, an excellent performance from Joy Shelton. Better than most war drama, and worth checking out.
BLESS THIS HOUSE 12.35pm **
Movie version of the hit TV series with Sid James as the harassed man with two teenage children. The movie follows the running battle between him and his new neighbour, Terry Scott. Looking more like a Carry On movie, it does have its moments, but it outstays its welcome and looks decidedly dated now.
GREASE 2.20pm *****
See Sunday for review
HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS 4.30pm ***
See Saturday for review
INDEPENDENCE DAY 6.15pm **
See Monday for review
DEFINITELY, MAYBE 9pm ***
See Sunday for review
MIRRORS 11.15pm ***
See Saturday for review
THE FINAL CUT 1.20am ****
Science fiction thriller in which everyone in the future has a chip inside them that records everything, and once you die, the chip can be edited for the memories of a loved one to live on. Robin Williams plays a mild-mannered, yet troubled Cutter who becomes involved in a deadly game with Jim Caviezel, who wants this act to stop, and will do everything in his power to do so. Intriguing thriller with some excellent performances and Williams proving once again what a strong actor he really is.
FRIGHT NIGHT 9pm ****
A variation of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, except he cried Vampire, as William Ragsdale plays a teenager who believes his new neighbour is a blood-sucker but everyone thinks he is mad, so he has to turn to an aging actor who hosts a late night horror show. Tremendous fun with Chris Sarandon as the neighbour, and Roddy McDowall hamming it up as the actor. An absolute treat for vampire fans, and a real hoot to boot.
MONTE WALSH 3.45pm ****
Aging cowboy Lee Marvin and his friends are trying to come to terms that the old west is disappearing under the railroad and modern changes, and he struggles to with the thought that he will become outdated soon enough. A moving western with Marvin on top form and great support from Jack Palance. Unusual in the sense that the western clichés aren’t around.
THE TRANSPORTER 9pm ****
See Tuesday for review