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Monday, 8 February 2016

Martians and Lobsters: Your week in film (Feb 8-14)

Matt Damon stars as a stranded astronaut in The Martian

TV, DVD, Blu-ray, VOD and cinema picks for the next seven days...

MONDAY 8th: Ridley Scott's The Martian (Blu-ray, DVD and VOD) is easily the biggest home entertainment release of the week and stars Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars when a manned mission to the red planet goes tits up. It's MacGyver in space, it's Cast Away meets Apollo 13, and although the final 20 minutes strain credulity and Damon's smarty-pants botanist never seems bothered enough by his predicament, it's hugely enjoyable. The Lobster (DVD, Blu-ray and VOD) is a very different kettle of shellfish. Yorgos Lanthimos's first English language film is a frequently hilarious, blisteringly original satire on romance and dating. In the Greek director's bizarre future world, single people have 45 days to find a mate or they are transformed into an animal of their choosing. The first half is perfect and although the film runs out of steam towards the end, its superb cast (Colin Farrell has never been better), wealth of ideas and sheer chutzpah make it more than worthy of your time. Also out this week are action-packed Pam Grier blaxploitation flick Sheba, Baby (Dual Format) and Michael Mann's debut feature Thief (DVD), starring the great James Caan as an expert safecracker who gets tangled up with the mafia. On the 40th anniversary of its cinema release, online subscription service Mubi have today added Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver to their catalogue.. 

Colin Farrell, John C Reilly and Ben Whishaw
are looking for love in The Lobster (trailer)

TUESDAY 9th: Jim Carrey is the unknowing prisoner of reality TV in Peter Weir's prescient and pretty much perfect The Truman Show (Sky Greats, 20:00). Elsewhere today, there's Wes Craven's clever horror satire Scream (TCM,21:00) and, although I've never really warmed to it, I know a lot of people love Gareth Edwards' Monsters (Film4, 23:10). Granted, it's an ingenious low-budget spin on the monster movie, but I prefer my creature features populated by cannon-fodder characters I really couldn't give a toss about (see Cloverfield below). 

Gareth Edwards' ingenious Monsters (trailer) 

WEDNESDAY 10th: Clint Eastwood's supernatural revenge western High Plains Drifter hits Netflix today. Elsewhere, former Radio 1 movie critic Rhianna Dhillon joins Claudia Winkleman and Danny Leigh for a look at the week's new releases on Film 2016 (BBC1, 23:15), including Zoolander 2, Deadpool, and Pride And Prejudice And Zombies

Ryan Reynolds kicks arse in Deadpool (Red Band trailer)

THURSDAY 11th: Jessica Chastain plays hide and seek with Osama Bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty (Film4, 21:00); a ruddy great monster chomps his way through a bunch of New York yuppies in found-footage flick Cloverfield (Sky Greats, 22:10), and Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando square off in Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam epic, Apocalypse Now (ITV4, 23:40). 

The hunt is on for Osama Bin Laden in 
Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty (trailer)

FRIDAY 12th: Lots of new films in cinemas from today. I've mentioned a few of them already (see Wednesday) but also out are Will Smith NFL drama Concussion, Eli Roth's Cannibal Holocaust The Green Inferno, and The Survivalist, a haunting British post-apocalyptic tale that's available on Curzon Home Cinema as well as in theatres. Away from the multiplex, Michel Gondry's eccentric French road movie Microbe & Gasoline debuts on Amazon Prime Video, while Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story Of Cannon Films (Film4, 23:00) is an entertaining documentary about the rise and fall of the movie studio responsible for such '80s 'classics' as Masters Of The Universe, Lifeforce and Chuck Norris's Missing In Action.

The Survivalist, aka Mad Max in the British countryside,
is up for a BAFTA (trailer) 

SATURDAY 13th: If you only watch one film this week, make it There Will Be Blood (BBC2, 23:15). Daniel Day-Lewis is on truly spectacular form in Paul Thomas Anderson's epic tale of oil, madness, family and religion. Set at the turn of the last century, it's the story of an ambitious oilman (Day-Lewis) and a preacher (Paul Dano, also electrifying) who share a long-gestating mutual loathing. Probably Anderson's best film and definitely Day-Lewis's.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano are electrifying
in There Will Be Blood (trailer)

SUNDAY 14th: It's Valentine's Day and nothing says love and romance better than, erm, The Mist (Horror Channel, 21:00), Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's novella about a small town besieged by terrifying creatures from another dimension. If you are looking for something a little more smoochy, there's While You Were Sleeping (BBC1, 23:30), a Sandra Bullock rom-com in which she saves Bill Pullman's life then pretends to be his girlfriend while he's in a coma. Yes, it sounds rubbish but Bullock makes it watchable as she does every mediocre film she's in. 

Thomas Jane stars in creepy horror The Mist (trailer).  

UK box office top 10
1. The Revenant R
2. Dirty Grandpa
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
4. Ride Along 2
5. Spotlight R
6. The Big Short R
7. Capture The Flag
8. Daddy's Home
9. Creed R
10. Room R

R = Recommended

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