Monday 6 July 2015

Home Comforts (Monday July 6 - Sunday July 12): Still Alice

Okay, I think I've finally decided how this regular weekly section of the blog is going to look from now on. I'm going to call it Home Comforts and as well as focusing on all the usual TV and View on Demand stuff, I'm going to be talking about new DVD and Blu-ray releases too. The idea is to give you a fairly comprehensive idea of what is available to watch in the comfort of your own home each and every week. Let's see how it works out, shall we?


Julianne Moore is every bit as fantastic as you'll have heard in Still Alice (DVD, Blu-ray and various streaming services) but I was surprised at how sniffy some critics were about the rest of the movie. Following the Oscar winner’s language professor (the titular Alice) as she fights a losing battle against early onset Alzheimer’s, it is certainly a simple, subtle, perhaps even low-key affair, but is far removed from some of the “TV movie” jibes aimed in its direction. For a start, all the performances are good, particularly Kristen Stewart as Lydia, Moore’s wannabe actress daughter, and Alec Baldwin as husband John, a character who becomes less and less sympathetic as Alice’s condition worsens. It’s a work that eschews melodrama or directorial/screenplay pyrotechnics in an attempt to properly, soberly show us the affect of a terrible disease on both its sufferer and their family. And it does so very effectively indeed.

Rating: WWW

Streaming & View On Demand highlights...
Everyone’s Going to Die (various streaming services) Quirky British drama with more than a hint of Lost in Translation about it. It charts the relationship between a directionless young woman and an enigmatic older man.
Second Coming (VSS) Idris Elba and Nadine Marshall star in a powerful British 'immaculate conception' drama. Social realism with a supernatural twist.
The Walking Deceased (VSS) Mentioned only for the utter shamelessness of its title. It's a zombie spoof, apparently.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Netflix UK, from Tuesday) Classic western starring Paul Newman and Robert Radford as the titular outlaws.
'71 (Amazon Prime Instant Video, from Thursday) Jack O'Connell is a British soldier lost in the madness of sectarian Belfast during the Troubles. A dark but utterly gripping drama. 

Terrestrial highlights...
Somewhere (01:15, Wednesday, Channel 4) Stephen Dorff is the weary and dispirited Hollywood actor, Elle Fanning the 11-year-old daughter who turns his life upside down in Sofia Coppola's charming drama.
Hard Target (23:10, Friday, ITV) Jean-Claude Van Damme takes on a sadistic gang that hunts humans for sport in John Woo's kickass thriller.
Ted (21:00, Saturday, Channel 4) Hilarious, filthy and utterly un-PC tale of a talking teddy bear (Seth McFarlane, who also writes and directs) and his human best friend (Mark Wahlberg).
Hot Tub Time Machine (23:05, Saturday, Channel 4) Nostalgia-drenched, time-travel comedy starring John Cusack. 
Dracula (00:45, Saturday, BBC2) and The Curse of Frankenstein (02:05, Saturday, BBC2) Hammer horror double bill shown as a tribute to Sir Christopher Lee, who recently passed away at the grand old age of 93.

Cable & Satellite highlights...
Jaws 2 (23:00, tonight, ITV4) Not so much a case of needing a bigger boat, this soggy sequel to Steven Spielberg's 1975 original was in sore need of some bigger ideas. At least the great Roy Scheider was persuaded to reprise his role of police chief Martin Brody.
Animal Kingdom (23:15, tonight, Film4) Superb Aussie drama directed by David Michôd (The Rover) chronicling the lives of a Melbourne crime family as seen through the eyes of 17-year-old "J" (James Frecheville). Guy Pearce also stars.

Attack the Block (21:00, Friday, E4) A gang of south London hoodies takes on the might of an alien invasion in Joe Cornish's enjoyable sci-fi romp.
Magic in the Moonlight (10:00 and 22:00, Friday, Sky Movies Premiere) Lightweight Woody Allen romantic comedy starring Colin Firth as a pompous debunker of the supernatural. 
Unforgiven (21:00, Sunday, ITV4) Director and star Clint Eastwood is the retired gunslinger coming out of retirement for one last job in this magnificent western. Gene Hackman, Richard Harris and Morgan Freeman co-star. 

DVD and Blu-ray highlights...
Mona Lisa (Blu-ray) Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson and Michael Caine star in Neil Jordan's classic crime drama from 1986. The late, great Hoskins as former jailbird/chauffeur George was probably never better. No, not even in The Long Good Friday. This is a newly restored version sourced from the original camera negative.

Black Coal, Thin Ice (DVD) An ex-cop and his former partner return to the murder case that ended their careers in this taut Chinese crime thriller. 
Hippocrates (DVD) Dark comedy-drama about a young intern battling to earn his stripes at a chaotic French hospital.
Roaring Currents (Blu-ray) South Korean war drama based on the Battle of Myeongnyang which took place in 1597.
Return to Sender (DVD and Blu-ray) Rosamund Pike stars in a psychological thriller.

Please note: Films starting after midnight are always considered part of the previous day's schedule, e.g. Dracula begins at 00:45 - technically Sunday morning - but is still part of Saturday's listings. All times in 24-hour clock.


WWWW = Wonderful
WWW = Worthwhile
WW = Watchable
W = Woeful

No comments:

Post a Comment