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Monday, 13 June 2016

Deadpool, Tale Of Tales and Straight Outta Compton: Your Week In Film (June 13-19)

Breaking bad: Ryan Reynolds brings infectious energy to Deadpool


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

Monday 13th:
I'm not sure I ever need to see Deadpool (DVD, Blu-ray and VOD) again but it is certainly a great deal of fun and a real corrective to the kind of po-faced superhero film that seems to have become the norm recently (Batman v Superman, Age Of Ultron etc). 
Tim Miller's movie might not be as funny as it thinks it is, but it's hard not to fall for its anarchic charm and sweary joie de vivre. Ryan Reynolds, as the fourth-wall breaking, dick-joke making anti-hero, is clearly having the time of his life and the energy he brings to the role is certainly infectious. You can read my full review hereBone Tomahawk (DVD and Blu-ray) is a film that should have been right up my street. The horror western sees cannibal 'Troglodytes' (monstrous Native Americans) kidnap a group of settlers from the town of Bright Hope. A suitably grizzled Kurt Russell leads a posse to get them back. Unfortunately, there's a big bit in the middle during which little of note happens and a whiff of racism about the whole 'cannibal Injuns' twist I found difficult to shake. Those who enjoy a bit of honest-to-goodness gore are sure to get a kick out of it though. Anticipating this month's Glastonbury Festival, MUBI's theme for the next few days is music. Their mini-season kicks off with Patti Smith: Dream Of Life, Steven Sebring’s intimate portrait of punk's poet laureate.  It was the winner of the prize for cinematography at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Bad to the Bone: Kurt Russell takes on cannibals

Tuesday 14th: MUBI continue their mini music season with Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called QuestMichael Rapaport’s 2011 portrait of the influential rap outfit. Hopeless idiot Navin R Johnson (Steve Martin) searches for his "special purpose" in The Jerk (00:10, ITV4) one of the '70s' finest film comedies. "I'm gonna buy you a diamond so big, it's gonna make you puke!" 
Wednesday 15th: Jonathan Demme is best known for The Silence Of The Lambs but he's also responsible for one of the best concert movies ever made. Stop Making Sense (MUBI) features Talking Heads at the height of their powers in December 1983, playing three nights in Hollywood to showcase their just-released album, Speaking In Tongues. It's a perfect blend of terrific music (Psycho Killer, Once In A Lifetime and Girlfriend Is Better are all featured) and pure theatre (Byrne's infamous suit gets bigger and bigger as the performance proceeds). Ben Kingsley is currently in cinemas with Learning To Drive and it's therefore as good a time as any to revisit his Oscar-winning turn in Gandhi (17:15, Movie Mix). Elsewhere, Michael Caine stars in cracking crime caper The Italian Job (16:05, Sky Action), and Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert team up in romantic screwball comedy It Happened One Night (Netflix UK). Frank Capra's 1934 classic was the first to win all five major Oscars (best picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay).

Look Who's Talking: Demme's Stop Making Sense

Thursday 16th: Film4 boasts a fine rock'n'roll-flavoured double bill tonight. We Are The Best (23:45) is Lukas Moodysson's uplifting celebration of youthful rebellion and friendship, focusing on the three members of an all-girl punk band in 1980s Stockholm. It would have been easy for this to be patronising or slip into sickly sentiment; instead it crackles with energy, humour and riotous charm. White Lung, or somebody equally punk-rock, really needs to cover 'Hate the Sport' right now. The Punk Singer (01:50) is Sini Anderson's documentary biopic of inspirational Bikini Kill/Le Tigre/Julie Ruin singer Kathleen Hanna, who has spent far too much time away from the spotlight in recent years battling chronic Lyme disease. Keeping with the musical theme, MUBI are showing Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets from today, focusing on the Disco 2000 band's return to hometown Sheffield in 2012 to play their final gig. On the subject of the Steel City, in The Film Programme (16:00, BBC Radio 4), Francine Stock reports from this year's Sheffield Doc Fest and talks to the winner of the festival's first award for virtual reality. Brian De Palma has been back in vogue recently following the release of a documentary exploring his career (De Palma, no UK release date as yet). The blistering Scarface (21:00, Sky Select) - starring Al Pacino as Miami drug baron Tony Montana - is a good place to start if you are discovering the controversial director for the first time.


Punk's not dead: Lukas Moodysson's We Are The Best

Friday 17th: Straight Outta Compton (15:30 and 20:00, Sky Movies Premiere, also on NOW TV) is director F Gary Gray's biopic of '80s rap legends NWA. Unfortunately, it's an uneven film that not only sanitises the nihilistic group's controversial history (Dr Dre's cowardly assault on journalist Dee Barnes is airbrushed out completely) but ultimately gets a bit bogged down in their disintegration over contracts and money. The first half’s cracking, though, as is the music. It's a bumper week for films that are being released in cinemas and on VOD simultaneously. Tale of Tales was shown at the Cannes Film Festival - not this year, last year! - and is the one I'm looking forward to most. Toby Jones, Salma Hayek and Vincent Cassel star in a fairytale portmanteau that weaves together three bizarre and bawdy stories. Hayek plays a queen who forfeits her husband's life to have a child, Cassel is a king whose passion is inflamed by two mysterious sisters, and Jones a monarch who keeps as a pet a flea the size of a cow. There are also ogres, dragons, witches and monsters, making Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone's film sound like an arthouse version of Warcraft. Also getting the cinema/VOD treatment are mucky French teen drama Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story) and The Violators, a 
powerful British coming-of-age tale. Kermode And Mayo's Film Review (12:00, BBC Radio Five Live) is on earlier due to the Euro 2016 football (Italy v Sweden, if you're interested) and has James King sitting in for resident reviews guru Mark Kermode. 

Bizarre and Bawdy: Selma Hayek stars in Tale Of Tales

Saturday 18th: Independence Day (20:00, Channel 4) is schlocky sci-fi of the purest vintage as Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman lead the resistance when alien nasties invade Earth and blow up all our best stuff. A Smith-less sequel - Resurgence - hits cinemas next Thursday. Fancy a titter after all that carnage? Sid James, Barbara Windsor and Kenneth Williams star in Carry On Camping (23:15, ITV). Funnier still is well-rubbish CG horror blockbuster I, Frankenstein (22:50, Channel 4), which seeks to reimagine Mary Shelley's creature as some kind of hunky action hero. I hope star Aaron Eckhart was well paid.
Sunday 19th: 
George Clooney both stars in and directs Leatherheads (18:05, Gold), a 1920s-set comedy about two American football stars battling for the affections of a nosy female reporter. Renee Zellweger and John Krasinski (Jim in The Office) also feature. Rather better is A Private Function (23:00, Gold), Alan Bennett's Ealing-inspired comedy set in post-war Yorkshire where rationing is still in force. It sees Michael Palin's downtrodden chiropodist plotting to kidnap a pig being fattened up for a posh banquet. Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, Alison Steadman and Liz Smith make up a fine cast.

Hamming it up: Michael Palin stars in A Private Function 

UK Box-office Top 10
1. Warcraft: The Beginning R
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows
3. Me Before You
4. Alice Through The Looking Glass
5. X-Men: Apocalypse R
6. The Nice Guys R
7. Angry Birds
8. The Jungle Book R
9. Money Monster R
10. Housefull 3
R = Recommended

All information correct at time of publication

**The Last 5 Films I've Seen is being 'spun off' into its own regular
standalone slot - look out for it later in the week**

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