Monday 21 December 2015

Home Comforts: The best in TV, DVD, Blu-ray and VOD (Monday, December 21 - Sunday, January 3)

I'd like to wish everyone who has taken the time to read this blog in the last 12 months a very Merry Christmas. I love all three of you from the bottom of my heart. I shall return at the end of the month to reveal my favourite 30 films of the year. In the meantime, here are my movie recommendations for the festive season - one a day (including The Third Man, pictured above) for the next two weeks... 

Mon, Dec 21 (today): Mommy (Netflix)
Exhausting but rewarding Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother) melodrama about an emotionally disturbed teenager reuniting with his mother. Guaranteed to break your bloody heart.

Tues, Dec 22: The Third Man (BBC4, 23:00)
Classic British-made spy thriller starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten. Set in shadow-soaked post-war Vienna, novelist Holly Martins (Cotten) investigates the mysterious death of old friend Harry Lime (Welles).
Wed, Dec 23: Uncle Buck (ITV2, 19:00)
I happened to catch Home Alone for the umpteenth time over the weekend and seeing John Candy's cameo in that film made me realise just how much I miss the late, great Canadian comic. He was a very, very funny man who passed away at the ridiculous age of 43 back in 1994. Uncle Buck, in which Candy plays an unreliable slob with a penchant for disaster, isn't his best work but certainly has its moments ("Take this quarter, go downtown, and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face! Good day to you, madam").

Christmas Eve: Casino Royale (ITV2, 21:00)
Daniel Craig makes his debut as James Bond. Not quite as good as Skyfall (showing on Boxing Day) but streets ahead of Quantum Of Solace and this year's Spectre.
Christmas Day: Scrooged (Channel 4, 15:45)
The festive season just wouldn't be the same without this riotous reworking of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol. Bill Murray is the grasping TV executive visited by three spirits, including Carol Kane's kickass Ghost of Christmas Present. Big Hero 6 is also worth checking out (Sky Movies Premiere at 12:15 and 18:15).
Boxing Day: Under The Skin (Film 4, 01:10)
My favourite film of last year is a masterful slice of sci-fi from director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast). Scarlett Johansson plays a predatory alien in human form stalking male victims in Glasgow. Eerie and atmospheric, it boasts a superb soundtrack and an ending that punches you square in the guts. 

Sun, Dec 27: Kill Bill Vol 1 (Syfy, 22:00)
Get in the mood for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight (opening in the UK on January 8) with the director's stylish homage to Japanese cinema from 2003. Uma Thurman is The Bride, stabbing and hacking her way through an army of tooled-up bad guys.
Mon, Dec 28: All Is Lost (Netflix)
JC Chandor's A Most Violent Year was one of 2015's most underrated films and he's on top form here too, directing Robert Redford in a powerful one-hander that sees the veteran actor's unnamed yachtsman run into trouble on the Indian Ocean. A tense and thrilling treat.
Tue, Dec 29: Precinct Seven Five (VOD and DVD)
Terrific documentary chronicling the rise and fall of corrupt New York cop Michael Dowd in the 1980s. Despite his criminal past, post-jail Dowd is a charismatic, likeable figure and it's easy to see how his colleagues on the force would have fallen under his spell.

Wed, Dec 30: Dope (VOD and DVD)
Whip-smart crime comedy that cleverly turns the tables on the way African Americans are frequently portrayed in movies and elsewhere. Just when you think Rick Famuyiwa's film is pandering to stereotypes, it cleverly yanks the rug out from under your feet. One of this year's hidden gems. 
New Year's Eve: Foxcatcher (Amazon Prime Video)
Haunting adaptation of a true story featuring superb performances from a strong cast. Steve Carell is creepiness personified as John E du Pont, the unstable multi-millionaire who founds a wrestling academy to train US Olympic hopefuls. Suffice to say, it doesn’t end well...
New Year's Day: Wreck It Ralph (BBC1, 16:30)
Cracking animation featuring classic video game characters coming to life in a way not entirely dissimilar to Toy Story. Fed-up and feeling taken for granted, Ralph (voiced by the excellent John C Reilly) quits his job in the arcade game Fix-It Felix and decides to go it alone... much to the horror of his pixelated colleagues. Enormous fun.

Sat, Jan 2: Adventureland (Comedy Central, 23:00)
Kirsten Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg starred together in American Ultra this year and suffered a box-office flop as well as a critical mauling. This coming-of-age comedy set in a decrepit theme park from 2009 - their first movie as co-stars - is warm, witty and far more successful. 
Sun, Jan 3: Ricki And The Flash (VOD, DVD and Blu-ray)
Meryl Streep plays an ageing rocker (the titular Ricki) who abandoned her family to pursue dreams of stardom. She tries to make amends when her daughter has a breakdown. 

1 comment:

  1. The problem with the otherwise good Wreck It Ralph is that they had a wonderful opportunity to make a visually striking film and have the older characters appear in chunkier, pixelised forms, but instead everything is done in the same post-Pixar semi-3d as every other animated film these days.

    Never have I been more disappointed* by the laziness of modern US animation than I was when I saw Wreck It Ralph. Such a missed opportunity.

    *(Well, maybe Kung Fu Panda when the 2d flashback sequence looked better than the rest of the film.)