Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Films on Freeview TV : wednesday 24th of December

WALL-E (2008 94min.) [BBC1 11.00am]
Animated sci-fi comedy featuring the voices of Sigourney Weaver, Ben Burtt and Elissa Knight. On a refuse-covered Earth of the future, a lonely robot called WALL-E is carrying out its function to compress and form litter into towers, a task it was programmed to do by the humans who abandoned the barren planet centuries ago. Then a visit from a probe called EVE brings hope that Earth could be populated once more.

Pixar's Oscar winning eco-message animation starts with a very long dialogue free section that is absolutely beautiful to watch. The 'love' story between is Wall-E and Eve is touching and the film only sags a bit when the human characters turn up. A absolute joy and a pleasure.

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit (2005 81min.) [BBC1 1.45pm]
Animated comedy adventure featuring the voices of Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter. As the annual Giant Vegetable Competition approaches, enterprising Wallace and Gromit cash in with their humane pest-control outfit, "Anti-Pesto". But business turns sour when a huge, mysterious beast begins destroying every garden in the area.

Wallace and Gromit are as charming as ever in this affectionate horror movie send-up. The cheese-loving inventor and his dog (not just a loyal hound but business partner, housewife, fixer) try to catch the mutated rabbit that's threatening to devour the village's annual crop of giant vegetables.
The painstaking stop-motion, Peter Sallis' Yorkshire accent, vicars and village fĂȘtes all hark back to Watch with Mother, though children’s TV was never this stuffed with puns, double entendres and so many pop culture references you'd need several viewings to catch them all.

The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938 101min.) [Ch5 1.50pm&+1]
Classic swashbuckling adventure starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. Robin Hood and his band of followers fight to protect King Richard's throne from evil Prince John and his villainous accomplice Sir Guy of Gisbourne.

The Grinch (2000 100min.) [Ch4 2.45pm &+1]
Comedy fantasy based on the book by Dr Seuss, starring Jim Carrey. It's Christmas in Whoville and preparations are well underway. Meanwhile, up in his mountain lair, cold-hearted hermit the Grinch sits alone resenting the Whovians' happiness. But then he's befriended by a little girl.

(1951 86min.) [Ch5 3.50pm &+1]
Classic British version of Charles Dickens's Christmas tale, starring Alastair Sim. On Christmas Eve, a tight-fisted businessman is visited by three ghosts who remind him of the true spirit of Christmas.

Says here they are showing the black and white original rather than the vile ‘colorised’ version which keeps popping up elsewhere. In which case it’s pretty much unmissable.

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946 125min.) [More 4 4.10pm&+1]
Frank Capra's classic fantasy drama, starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore. George Bailey is a small-town businessman who believes he has been a failure. Contemplating suicide, George meets his guardian angel and discovers what life in his home town of Bedford Falls would have been like had he never lived.

One Hundred And One Dalmatians (1960 76min.) [BBC1 4.45pm]
Freeview premiere
Disney's classic animated adventure based on the novel by Dodie Smith, featuring the voice of Rod Taylor. When love blossoms between Londoners Roger and Anita, the same also occurs for their dalmatian dogs Pongo and Perdita. But when the two pooches have a litter of puppies, Anita's old schoolfriend Cruella De Vil is determined to have them at any cost. Her purpose: to make a coat from their pelts.

Cruella De Vil is one of the great Disney character creations and the ‘midnight bark’ sequence is an absolute joy. This is a film made by a studio working at the top of their game and a stand-out work in their canon. Despite the advances in animation technology since there still lots to enjoy in this hand-drawn classic and, at 76 minutes, hardly a moment is wasted.

Muppet Christmas Carol (1992 85min.) [Ch4 4.50pm &+1]
The inimitable puppets are joined by Michael Caine for their own special interpretation of the classic Dickens Christmas tale in which miserly Scrooge is visited by ghosts to help him mend his selfish ways.

Genuinely funny retelling of the Dickens classic with the added bonuses of some great songs and Michael Caine as Scrooge.

Toy Story 3 (2010 98min) [BBC1 6.25pm]
Animated comedy adventure sequel, with the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. Andy's heading off to college and plans to give most of his toys to a day-care centre. But when Woody and the gang are accidentally donated, too, they must embark on a daring and dangerous mission to escape.

Some great new characters, especially the villainous Lotso the bear, and a strong script helped the Toy Story franchise end (or pause) with some style.

Stand out moments include Barbie’s growing frustration with Ken and Buzz Lightyear becoming stuck in Spanish language mode.

Nightmare Before Christmas (1993 73min.) [ITV2 7.20pm &+1]
Animated musical drama featuring the voices of Chris Sarandon and Catherine O'Hara. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, longs to escape the routine of Halloweentown. Through a door in a tree, he stumbles upon Christmastown where he engineers the kidnapping of Santa Claus and wreaks havoc among the inhabitants.

Top quality stop-motion animation with some great songs, sets, characters and voice work. Not just for kids and goths!
Superb set of songs by Danny Elfman too.

The Raid (2011 96min.) [Film4 11.40pm &+1]

A cop joins a SWAT team as they undertake a deadly mission - to infiltrate the tenement that contains the lair of a powerful drug kingpin. However, they soon learn they have walked into a trap - all routes out of the building are blocked, the gangster's henchmen are surrounding them and they will have to fight their way out. Action thriller, starring Iko Uwais and Joe Taslim.

Gareth Evans film is a superbly constructed mixture of Die Hard, Assault On Precinct 13, the Hong Kong action films of John Woo and any number of role-playing shoot em up video games.

Every second of the running time is filled with action : there's no attempt at telling backstory or character development ; the plot is lightweight and there's minimal dialogue.
But the film still has the ability to grip the viewer from beginning to end ; there are some superb action sequences and a genuine air of peril and danger.

It's bloody and violent and, if that's not your sort of thing, you should steer well clear as you won't enjoy The Raid at all.
However if you think you would enjoy a tense thriller with a pounding electronic soundtrack set in a claustrophobic space with some dazzling martial arts sequences and superbly done shoot outs then you'll have to go a long way to find a better recent example than this film.

Rare Exports From The Land of the Original Santa Claus (2010 79min.) [Ch4 1.55am &+1]
Dark seasonal fantasy starring Jorma Tommila and Onni Tommila. Santa Claus's tomb is unearthed in Lapland, just before local children begin disappearing. It seems he isn't quite the jolly soul of Christmas legend.

Wonderfully bonkers Finnish horror-comedy that messes around with the Santa Claus story and creates a brilliantly realised alternative universe in which an evil Santa rules despotically over a world of ensalved elves and helpers.

Terrific fun!

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