Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Freeview film choices : wednesday 23rd of December

Fly Away Home (1996 102min.) [Ch5 11.20am &+1]
Drama based on a true story, starring Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin. Amy finds life difficult with her eccentric father, but they are forced to overcome their differences when she rescues a batch of goose eggs from a construction site, then takes responsibility for teaching the birds to fly.


Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989 126min.) [BBC1 1.45pm]
Action adventure starring Harrison Ford, Sean Connery and Denholm Elliott. When archaeologist Henry Jones disappears, his son, Indiana, joins in the search for him. In a desperate race against time, he encounters some old enemies and once again finds himself in pursuit of an ancient religious artefact.

The Glenn Miller Story (1953 107min.) [Ch5 2.30pm &+1]
Musical biographical drama, starring James Stewart and June Allyson. When the young Glenn Miller leaves university, he finds work as a musician on Broadway. Eventually he forms his own band and begins searching for the elusive sound that will make him a household name around the world. Many of Miller's greatest hits are featured including Tuxedo Junction, In the Mood, Little Brown Jugand Moonlight Serenade.

Shrek Forever After (2010 89min.) [BBC1 3.50pm]
Animated fantasy comedy, the fourth adventure about the grumpy, green ogre, featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy. Bored with a life of domesticity, Shrek makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin that will allow him to return to something like his old life. Things don't go to plan, however, when Shrek finds himself in a land where ogres are hunted and he and Princess Fiona have never met.

Slightly disappointing fourth (and last?) film in the series, what was once novelty has now become routine and it lacks the zest and joie de vivre of the first film.

Has it's moments but falls flat far too often for something with it's pedigree.

Hairspray (2007 111min.) [Film4 4.20pm &+1]
Satirical musical comedy starring John Travolta, Nikki Blonsky and Michelle Pfeiffer. In 1960s Baltimore, chubby teenager Tracy Turnblad wins a place on her favourite television dance show. She soon faces a battle with ruthless station manager Velma von Tussle, who fears Tracy may steal the Miss Teenage Hairspray crown from her daughter.

Some great songs and likeable performances from Zac Efron and Nikki Blonsky; Michelle Pfeiffer is superb as the panto villan and Christopher "Twinkletoes" Walken dances up a storm.

Look out for the cameo by the writer/director of the original film John Waters in the opening song.

Clash Of The Titans (1981 113min.) [Ch5 4.50pm &+1]
Fantasy adventure starring Laurence Olivier and Harry Hamlin. Perseus, son of Zeus, sets out to win the love of thebeautiful Andromeda by overcoming the terrifying monsters set in his path by the other gods on Mount Olympus.They include a two-headed dog, the deadly Gorgon Medusa and a horrifying giant sea monster called the Kraken.

Larry Olivier overacting at Olympic standard and Ray Harryhausen's wonderful stop-motion animation creatures more than make up for the fact that the romantic leads have all the chemistry of a wet paper bag.
Enjoyable nonsense.

The Lady Vanishes (1938 92min.) [BBC3 7.30pm]
Classic thriller starring Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave. One moment Miss Froy was sitting there, on the London-bound train from the Tyrol. The next she had vanished. Some passengers claimed she was never there, but Iris Henderson is convinced that she saw her. Was it her imagination?

Hitchcock in playful mood with a lightweight but brilliantly structured mystery thriller. Michael Redgrve and Margaret Lockwood are enchanting leads, there's scene stealing support from Mae Whitty and Cecil Parker and an amusing light relief turn from Music Hall act Radford & Wayne as a pair of cricket obsessed Englishmen abroad.

Mamma Mia! (2008 104min.) [ITV3 8.00pm &+1]
Musical romantic comedy featuring the music of Abba, and starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan. On an idyllic Greek island, young Sophie Sheridan prepares to marry the man of her dreams. But a problem looks set to blight the big day as the bride doesn't know who her father is. So Sophie sends out invitations to three men who might fit the bill, hoping to solve the riddle once her guests arrive.

If you approach this in the right way (slightly boozed up and with low expectations) it's stupidly dumb entertainment for a couple of hours.
There are moments of genuine hilarity : mainly based around Pierce Brosnan's foghorn bellow style singing, Colin Firth's "dancing", Muriel bringing method acting intensity to even the most straightforward of Abba's songs and Stellan Skarsgard's utter bewilderment throughout.

Emerging star Amanda Seyfried is excellent in the face of all odds.

The Purge (2013 81mins.) [Film4 9.00pm (+1]
Freeview premiere
Futuristic horror thriller starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey.

Writer/director James DeMonaco throws a lot of subtext and moral questioning into what is, in essence, a survival of the fittest, horror thriller : but the two excellent leads are up to the job and deliver an entertaining film superbly assisted by lead villain Rhys Wakefield.

The Anderson Tapes (1971 94min.) [Movies4Men 9.00pm &+1]
Crime drama starring Sean Connery and Dyan Cannon. On his release from jail after completing a ten-year sentence, Duke Anderson immediately begins plotting the daring robbery of an entire New York apartment building.

Absolutely of-it's-time star laden caper/heist movie handled with great ease by director Sidney Lumet and with a perfect Quincy Jones score.
Among the supporting cast : a very, very young Christopher Walken, the always great Martin Balsam and Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch in the Wizard Of Oz) in her last film role.
Dated in many ways it's still sufficiently well put together to entertain and amuse for an hour and a half.

In Fear (2012 81min.) [Film4 10/40pm &+1]
Psychological horror starring Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert. Young couple Tom amd Lucy are driving to a music festival in Ireland and plan to stay at a remote country hotel overnight. But the signposts lead them in circles and, as darkness falls and the weather takes a turn for the worse, it soon becomes apparent that someone - or something - else is out in the woods with them.

Smart little low budget three-hander : the hand-held cameras and semi-improvised dialogue help to create a strong sense of mood, place and growing disquiet as it soon becomes apparent that All Is Not Well.

Rare Exports From The Land of the Original Santa Claus (2010 79min.) [Film4 2.20am &+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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