Monday 9 November 2015

Home Comforts: The best films on TV, DVD, Blu-ray and VOD (Monday November 9 - Sunday November 15)

A dozen essential films to check out in the next seven days on a variety of formats...

1. Inherent Vice 
(from Friday, 11:30 and 22:00, Sky Movies Premiere)

Vague and sprawling, Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s similarly opaque novel features Joaquin Phoenix at the top of his game as a pot-head private investigator. Perhaps a difficult film to truly love but it is nevertheless enormous fun.

2. I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka 
(DVD and Blu-ray)

Before he went mad and directed the likes of Little Man and White Chicks, Keenen Ivory Wayans made and starred in this laugh-out-loud blaxploitation parody. Wayans is Jack Spade, a former soldier who returns to the hood to investigate the death of his brother from a gold chain overdose.

3. Dreamcatcher - Surviving Chicago's Streets 
(tonight, 22:00, BBC4)

Kim Longinotto’s film focuses on former teenage prostitute Brenda Myers-Powell and her organisation, the Dreamcatcher Foundation, which offers help and support to women still working Chicago's streets. A harrowing but uplifting piece of work. Read more here

4. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover 
(tonight, 01:30, Film4)
Peter Greenaway's blackest of black comedies sees Michael Gambon's ghastly crime boss come a cropper when he discovers that his wife (Helen Mirren) is conducting a torrid affair right under his nose at the restaurant he has recently bought. Jean-Paul Gaultier provides the costumes, Michael Nyman the score.

5. The French Connection
(Netflix UK, from Wednesday)
William Friedkin's classic cop thriller sees Gene Hackman (as the iconic Popeye Doyle) and Roy Scheider on the trail of the French drugs kingpin (Fernando Rey) who supplies New York with most of its heroin. Worth seeing for the famous high-speed car chase sequence alone.

6. Cabaret 
(Wednesday, 23:35, BBC1)
Set in 1930s Berlin, this multiple Oscar-winning adaptation of the Broadway musical stars Liza Minelli as flamboyant American singer Sally Bowles. Her love life is complicated and her performances light up the stage at the Bohemian Kit Kat Klub. But bad times are afoot in Germany as the country begins its inexorable slide into fascism.

7. The Mission
(Tuesday, 23:55, BBC1)
Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro play 18th Century Jesuits battling to save their South American mission from Portuguese slavers in a powerful drama. Roland Joffé directs but Wayne Hussey is conspicuous by his absence.

8. Spy
(VOD, DVD and Blu-ray)

Paul Feig directs Melissa McCarthy for a third time and whilst this breathlessly amusing secret agent caper isn't quite as much fun as Bridesmaids or The Heat, there is still plenty to enjoy. Jason Statham sends himself up a treat as tough guy Rick Ford. Full review here 

9. Cosmopolis
(Sunday, 23:05, BBC2)
Robert Pattinson is the young, self-made billionaire being driven across New York to get a haircut blissfully unaware his life of indulgence and luxury is about to fall apart around his ears. David Cronenberg directs, Juliette Binoche and Paul Giamatti co-star.

10. Song of the Sea
(VOD, DVD and Blu-ray)
Sumptuous, hand-drawn Irish animation that takes inspiration from the country's myths and legends, specifically the Selkies who can live in the sea as seals or on dry land as humans.
If Pixar's Inside Out is the year's best animated film, this runs a close second. Brendan Gleeson and Fionnula Flanagan star.

11. Ex Machina
(from Friday, 14:00 and 20:00, Sky Movies Premiere)

Alex Garland's directorial debut is a terrific three-hander that starts off as an engaging bit of AI-themed sci-fi exploring ideas of consciousness, humanity and attraction, but ends up as an out-and-out thriller. Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander star.

12. The Crying Game
(Tuesday, 21:00, TCM)

Neil Jordan's haunting IRA drama featuring Stephen Rea, Forest Whitaker and Jaye Davidson. Is there anyone alive who doesn't know the brilliant twist? 

And one to avoid...
The Voices 
(Netflix UK, from Sunday)
Witless black 'comedy' starring the wretched Ryan Reynolds as a seemingly ordinary guy urged to commit murders by his evil pet cat. I just hope co-stars Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick were well paid...

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