Monday 25 January 2016

Your week in film (Monday, January 25 - Sunday, January 31)

MONDAY: "A shootout, right, is a fucking shootout... like a western!" Legend - starring Tom Hardy as both Kray Twins (pictured above) - is out today on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD. In truth, the film is underwhelming but Hardy's extraordinary double performance makes it well worth checking out. The best of the rest include Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon starring in financial crisis drama 99 Homes (DVD, Blu-ray and VOD - trailer below); martial arts masterpiece A Touch Of Zen (Dual Format); 1970s Boston crime thriller The Friends Of Eddie Coyle (Dual Format); and pacifist war drama Tangerines (DVD and Blu-ray). TV-wise, Aria (Sky Arts, 01:40) is an obscure British movie from the 1980s in which a clutch of great directors - including Julien Temple, Nic Roeg, Derek Jarman, Robert Altman and Ken Russell - got to visually reinterpret segments from 10 famous operas. The results are every bit as strange and arresting as you'd hope.

TUESDAY: Ahead of Youth's debut in cinemas on Friday, check out Italian director Paolo Sorrentino's previous film The Great Beauty (Film 4, 23:25). It's a visually stunning and poetic meditation on ageing and a life well lived, but also an unabashed love letter to Rome. Trailer below

WEDNESDAY: Netflix boasts an unusually impressive trio of new releases from today: Oliver Stone's controversial but underrated Natural Born Killers (script by Quentin Tarantino); Sergio Leone's sprawling but brilliant Once Upon A Time In America; and whip-smart comedy Play It Again, Sam (trailer below), in which Woody Allen gets lessons in life and love from Humphrey Bogart (sort of). Claudia Winkleman presents Film 2016 (BBC1, 23:45), aided and abetted by resident critic Danny Leigh. Not only is the show on even later this week, but the objectionable Camilla Long is guest reviewer. Maybe I'll just fast-forward through her bits.

THURSDAY: In The Film Programme (BBC Radio Four, 16:00), Francine Stock talks to veteran actress/muse Anna Karina about her life and work with Jean-Luc Godard. If that puts you in the mood to check out some of the legendary French director's work, why not sign up with MUBI? The subscription-only service is currently showing three of the great man's films: Band Of Outsiders, Joy Of Learning and Weekend. On the subject of all things Gallic, Curzon Home Cinema is screening a season of new French films and I can definitely recommend French Blood, the bruising tale of a Parisian neo-Nazi. Trailer below 

FRIDAY: Spotlight (trailer below) arrives in cinemas today and Mark Ruffalo talks about the Oscar frontrunner on Kermode & Mayo's Film Review (BBC Radio Five, 14:00). If you're staying in, check out Keanu Reeves in face-punching, bone-breaking action flick John Wick (Sky Movies Premiere, 16:15 and 20:00), or stay up late for Michael Douglas and Glenn Close in infamous '80s thriller Fatal Attraction (Channel 4, 00:55). Unlike its stars, I suspect it hasn't aged well.

SATURDAY: It's the usual Saturday night smorgasbord of middling delights, this week featuring middling thriller Now You See Me (Channel 4, 21:00), middling historical serial killer yarn Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer (BBC2, 22:20), and middling horror The Hole (Channel 4, 23:15). The Lost World: Jurassic Park (ITV, 22:30) features a T-Rex stomping around night-time San Diego and is therefore in no way middling. That said, your best bet today might just be Ralph Thomas' 1959 remake of Alfred Hitchcock's classic spy thriller The Thirty-Nine Steps (More4, 11:40). Kenneth Moore is in-over-his-head hero Richard Hannay. Trailer below

SUNDAY: I could write a book about how much I love Pam Grier as the titular lead in Quentin Tarantino's wonderful Jackie Brown (ITV4, 23:00), but I'm just going to recommend you watch it instead. Based on Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch, QT altered quite a bit of the original novel for his screenplay, including Jackie's name and race (it was Jackie Burke and she was white). And whilst the director can't help but nod to the Blaxploitation flicks in which Grier made her name, he keeps his usual excesses in check to deliver a gripping crime drama that is really about ageing, last chances and missed opportunities. Not only is it his best film but his most mature, too. Trailer below

UK box office top 10
1. The Revenant
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
3. Creed R
4. Daddy's Home
5. The Hateful Eight R
6. The Danish Girl
7. Room
8. Snoopy And Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie
9. Joy R
10. The Good Dinosaur

R = Recommended


  1. It's not my favourite Tarantino film -- I adore the cartoon excess of Kill Bill -- but I agree that Jackie Brown is probably his best.

    A Touch of Zen is glorious and I keep forgetting to buy it. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Having been slightly underwhelmed by Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight, I went back and rewatched Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction to see how they stand up. They're both still brilliant which leads me to conclude QT has lost his mojo somewhere along the line. A Touch Of Zen has just come out in some swanky new limited three-disc edition - Amazon and Zavvi have it for about £20.