Monday 15 February 2016

Peaks and troughs: Your week in film (Feb 15-21)

Mia Wasikowska stars in the underwhelming Crimson Peak

TV, Radio, DVD, Blu-ray, VOD and cinema picks for the next seven days...

MONDAY 15th: The week's biggest home entertainment release is Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak (Blu-ray, DVD and VOD). But, despite boasting some stunning visuals, this overcooked gothic romance/horror never comes close to matching the quality of the Mexican director's Pan's Labyrinth or The Devil's Backbone. It's a shame, because the cast (including Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain) are terrific and it's certainly influenced by all the right stuff (Rebecca, Roger Corman and Hammer). The schools are on half-term break, so if you're in need of something to keep the kids quiet, there's animated monsters sequel Hotel Transylvania 2 (Blu-ray, DVD and VOD), starring Adam Sandler as Dracula (he certainly sucks the life out of me), and riotous Shakespeare comedy Bill (DVD and VOD), from the makers of Horrible Histories. Eli Roth's Idealistic Teens v Cannibals horror The Green Inferno hits View On Demand services today just days after its cinema release, and more splattery thrills are provided by '80s slasher 'classic' The Mutilator (Dual Format), which has been given a smart 2k restoration and a ton of extras. TV-wise, Matt Damon stars in The Bourne Supremacy (ITV2, 21:00) and Angela Bettis lights up the wonderful and weird May (Horror Channel, 02:40)

The Horrible Histories gang take on Shakespeare in Bill (trailer)

TUESDAY 16th: It's all about the TV today. Pitch Black (Movie Mix, 21:00), starring Vin Diesel as badass escaped convict Riddick for the first time, remains a smart and genuinely thrilling slice of sci-fi. Elsewhere, there's more SF in the form of underrated alien invasion adventure Skyline (Film4, 23:35), while The Anderson Tapes (Movies 4 Men, 21:00) is a superior Sidney Lumet heist thriller starring Sean Connery. Best of the bunch, though, is Sergio Leone's The Man With No Name trilogy, which Sky Movies Select are showing back to back. A Fistful Of Dollars (18:00) kicks off proceedings with For A Few Dollars More (19:45) and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (22:00) following in quick succession. 

Vin Diesel is badass Riddick in Pitch Black (trailer)

WEDNESDAY 17th: If you only watch one film this week, make it 
4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days (Sky Arts, 22:00), an excoriating, heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting drama set in communist Romania in the 1980s. Masterpiece is a word I try not to bandy about too much on here but Cristian Mungiu's film is very close to perfection and froths with a righteous fury you simply don't see very often. Concentration camp drama The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (BBC4, 22:00) is another tough but worthwhile watch, while Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall (ITV4, 22:00) remains as batty and brilliant as it ever was. Kubrick's sublime Dr. Strangelove hits Netflix today, as do Erin Brockovich and Django UnchainedKim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini's excellent and eye-opening 1998 documentary Divorce Iranian Style makes its debut on MubiAntonia Quirke and Danny Leigh are joined by critic Ashley Clark on Film 2016 (23:45, BBC1) to give their verdicts on the week's new cinema releases, including horror western Bone Tomahawk and gay rights drama Freeheld 

4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days is my film of the week (trailer)

THURSDAY 18th: Gaspar 
Noé's Love (Netflix) is every bit as mucky as you'll have heard and isn't nearly as good as some of the French director/provocateur's previous work. But, for all that, it isn't bad, being both an honest attempt at reclaiming good old-fashioned cinematic filth from the porn industry and a reasonably engaging drama about the corrosive effects of love and lust. It's nicely shot, too, with Noé finding compositional beauty in even the most ridiculous bouts of sweaty humping. Although Dirty Harry (ITV4, 23:25, also Friday, 21:00) sounds like it should be a companion piece to Noe's film, it is of course nothing of the sort. Clint Eastwood stars as the titular San Francisco cop in Don Siegel's iconic thriller from 1971. In truth, Andy Robinson steals the movie right out from under Eastwood as the Scorpio Killer. Altogether now: "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream..."

"Are you feeling lucky, punk?" Clint Eastwood stars in Dirty Harry (trailer)

FRIDAY 19th: The week's most intriguing cinema release is Chronic (also available on VOD), a bleak drama starring Tim Roth as a home care nurse working with terminally ill patients. It was one of the big winners at last year's Cannes and Roth's performance is reportedly his best for some time (yes, even better than the one he gave as Sepp Blatter in United Passions). David Morrissey and Robbie Collin are the guest presenters on Kermode and Mayo's Film Review (Radio Five Live, 14:00) on which Chiwetel Ejiofor talks about his new film Triple 9 (out today). Unfriended (Sky Movies Premiere, 10:55 and 00:05) is a fiendishly clever horror film that plays out entirely on a teenager's computer screen as she and her friends come under attack from an unseen supernatural assailant. It shouldn't work but it does. Film4 boasts a Sam Jones double bill of Ted (21:00) and Flash Gordon (23:05).

Chronic was a big hit at the Cannes film festival (trailer)

SATURDAY 20th: Shailene Woodley (fantastic in last year's criminally underrated White Bird In A Blizzard) does the YA novel adaptation thing in 
Divergent (Amazon Prime Video), while The Straight Story (TCM, 16:40) showcases director David Lynch's sweeter, quirkier side. It tells the true tale of Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth), a 73-year-old who travelled 240 miles between Iowa and Wisconsin to see his sick brother on a lawnmower with a top speed of around 5mph. Sissy Spacek and Harry Dean Stanton lend support. Apocalypto (Channel 4, 23:20) is Mel Gibson's visceral and visually stunning action/adventure flick set during the decline of the Mayan empire. No one does good old-fashioned savagery like Mad Mel.  

David Lynch's The Straight Story (trailer)

SUNDAY 21st: It's Ethan Hawke Day on Sky Movies Select and they've lined up some of the actor's best films, including Before Sunrise (09:45), Boyhood (13:00) and Training Day (21:45). Lots of good stuff elsewhere on Sky Movies, too, including bonkers David Fincher thriller Gone Girl (Crime & Thriller, 21:00), Alex Garland's superior sci-fi Ex Machina (Sci-Fi & Horror, 21:00) and civil rights drama Selma (Valentine), which features a fabulous turn from 
David Oyelowo as Dr Martin Luther King. Gold are offering a Marx Brothers double bill of Duck Soup (14:50) and Horse Feathers (16: 20). Gold, indeed.

The Marx Brothers' classic comedy Duck Soup (trailer)

UK box office top 10
1. Goosebumps
2. Dad's Army
3. The Revenant R
4. Dirty Grandpa
5. Spotlight R
6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
7. The Big Short R
8. Ride Along 2
9. Point Break
10. Daddy's Home

R = Recommended

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