Monday 16 November 2015

Home Comforts: The best in TV, VOD, DVD and Blu-ray (Monday November 16 - Sunday November 22)

16 of the week's most intriguing films to watch on a variety of formats...

1. Love & Mercy 
Bravura biopic of Beach Boy Brian Wilson, concentrating on two crucial periods of his life. Paul Dano plays the songwriter as a young man at the height of his musical powers (Pet SoundsGood Vibrations) but teetering on the brink of mental illness, while John Cusack is the older Wilson, under the perfidious spell of Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti), a quack psychologist who took his money and cut him off from his family. Love & Mercy boasts superb performances (Dano has to get an Oscar nod), smart storytelling (the two strands are beautifully weaved together) while the music is, of course, simply gorgeous.

2. Badlands 
(Friday, 23:35, BBC2)
Martin Sheen's psychotic greaser and his impressionable teen accomplice Sissy Spacek go on a killing spree in Terrence Malick's superb directorial debut. A stone cold classic.

3. Orion: The Man Who Would Be King 
(tonight, 22:00, BBC4)
Excellent documentary telling the odd but tragic story of Orion, a masked pop star (real name Jimmy Ellis) who came to prominence in the years following the death of Elvis Presley. The singer was younger and far taller than the King but that didn't stop fans believing he was the dead legend somehow reborn. 

4. Vanishing Point 
(Wednesday, 01:30, Film4)
The very definition of 'cult movie', Vanishing Point sees Barry Newman's Kowalski wager he can drive his white Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco in just 15 hours. His amphetamine-addled journey takes in all manner of odd balls along the way in a 'carsploitation' classic.

5. A Fistful Of Dollars
(Tuesday, 15:00, Sky Select)
Sergio Leone's classic Dollars trilogy in its entirety. For A Few Dollars More follows at 16:45 with The Good, The Bad And The Ugly showing at 19:00. Clint Eastwood stars as The Man With No Name. Below is the original Italian trailer for A Fistful Of Dollars.

6. Love 
(VOD, from Friday)
The tiresomely controversial (but actually very talented) Gasper Noé (Irreversible, Enter The Void) returns with a shag-packed love story that definitely isn't porn (its stars Aomi Muyock and Karl Glusman are pictured at the top of page). Some cinemas are showing it in 3D which I mention more in warning than recommendation. The trailer below is mercifully restrained...

7. Love Is Strange 
(Netflix UK, from Saturday)
Long-term partners Alfred Molina and John Lithgow's life of contentment starts to fall apart after they get married. This bittersweet comedy/drama boasts fine performances all round and a strong script.

8. Güeros
(Curzon Home Cinema, from Friday)
Three young Mexican lads embark on a road trip to pay their last respects to a dying rock legend in this critically-lauded Spanish language film.

9. The Homesman 
(Amazon Prime Video, from Saturday)
Unusual, beautiful-looking, but ultimately deflating alt-western starring Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones (who also directed). Meryl Streep gets a cameo.

10. I Believe In Miracles 
(DVD, Blu-ray and VOD)
Documentary chronicling the rise of manager Brian Clough's all-conquering Nottingham Forest football team in the 1980s.

11. The Long Kiss Goodnight
(Thursday, 23:00, ITV4)
A bump on the head cures Geena Davis' amnesia and transforms her mumsy school teacher into a kickass, gun-toting government assassin. Samuel L Jackson co-stars, director Reny Harlin doesn't stint on the action scenes.

12. Welcome To The Punch
(Sunday, 23:05, Channel 4)
Superior Brit cop thriller that sees James McAvoy's traumatised police officer handed a second chance to take down hardened criminal Mark Strong.

13. Under Milk Wood 
(DVD and Blu-ray)
Enjoyably saucy adaptation of Dylan Thomas' "play for voices" starring Rhys Ifans and Charlotte Church. Features both English and Welsh language versions.

14. Closely Observed Trains 
(DVD and Blu-ray)
This Oscar-winning film set in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia during WW2 gets a swanky 4K restoration.

15. The Legend of Barney Thomson 
(DVD and VOD)
Robert Carlyle directs and stars in this enjoyable black comedy as a dull and cantankerous Glasgow barber who accidentally murders his boss. Ray Winstone, Emma Thompson and Ashley Jensen lend their support. 

16. Minions 
(DVD, Blu-ray and VOD)
Amusing animation featuring the weird yellow creatures from the Despicable Me movies. Sandra Bullock stars as foxy super-villain Scarlet Overkill.

Please note: Films starting after midnight are always considered part of the previous day's schedule, e.g. Vanishing Point begins at 01:30 - technically Thursday morning - but is still part of Wednesday's listings. All times in 24-hour clock.

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