Monday 5 January 2015

TV movie picks (UK): Monday, January 5 - Sunday, January 11

Any good films on the telly this week? Why yes, please permit me to suggest a few you might find agreeable...

TERRESTRIAL: Forest Whitaker is terrific as a "zen hitman" in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Channel 4, Wednesday,12.30am). For anyone who has only seen last year's Only Lovers Left Alive and now wants to check out more of director Jim Jarmusch's work, it's a perfect place to start. ITV are showing Bond 23 - aka Skyfall - on Saturday (9pm) but will almost certainly desecrate it with innumerable ad breaks and trailers for Take Me Out. If you're a connoisseur of drivel or just really hate yourself, you should definitely check out The Medallion (Channel 5, Sunday, 9pm). Jackie Chan, Julian Sands and Claire Forlani are all hunting for an ancient artefact with mystical powers or something. So bad it'd make Satan weep pitch-black tears of purest despair.

CABLE & SATELLITE: Two crackers make their debut on Sky Premiere this Friday. Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel (showing 10.15am and 8pm) is last year's finest film comedy (yes, even funnier than Sex Tape), while Starred Up (10pm and 1.35am) is a rough and rowdy British prison drama starring Unbroken's Jack O'Connell. Before that, on Wednesday night, Film 4 serves up a Brendan Gleeson double bill of The Guard (9pm) and In Bruges (10.55pm). They, too, are somewhat funnier than Sex Tape.

VOD: Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and, erm, Jake Gyllenhaal, has just opened in cinemas but can also be found on View On Demand (Virgin Movies, Curzon Home Cinema, Sky Store etc). I'll be reviewing the film here later in the week. Debuting on Amazon Prime Video this Saturday is director Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave. Great script, terrific cast, stunning cinematography, and a story so harrowing it'll take you a while to process it all. McQueen is a truly fearless filmmaker and his triple Oscar winner deserved every plaudit and award it got. Horror of a different kind is provided by Byzantium (Amazon Prime Video, from Friday), a superior, slow-burning vampire film directed by Neil 'The Crying Game' Jordan, and starring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan as mother and daughter blood-suckers. It's bloody good, he said in a rather pathetic attempt at ending this column on a pun like what proper writers do.

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