Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.
In Cinemas / Take Home
Justice League: The highly anticipated DCEU team-up has arrived in cinemas, but with lots of issues during production, including director Zack Snyder having to leave the project due to a heartbreaking family loss, does the end result reach fan expectations? You can read our full spoiler free review here.
Spider-Man: Homecoming: With 3 different “universes” and 7 films, the ‘Spider-Man’ movie franchise is in its second reboot in just 15 years making it one of the most controversial and it seems difficult superheroes to make work. From Tobey Maguire to Andrew Garfield – and lots of legal ties in the meanwhile – the web slinger finally gets a new home where he should have been all along; settled in the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland is our new Spider-Man/Peter Parker going up against Michael Keaton’s Vulture in a story that dispenses with the origin tale and throws us into Spidey’s world after seeing him in ‘Captain America: Civil War’. A big, bold and bright return to the silver screen here for old web-head, shaking up how we see Spider-Man and some familiar faces with lots of exciting action sequences and tight CGI to boost. It’s a tired character when you think about how much he’s been on screen, but somehow now Spidey has a boost of enthusiasm and vibrancy about him for the Marvel future he’s part of. You can read our full review from earlier this year here.here.
Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy (SyFy, 9pm): Ostensibly the story of a human plucked from earth to explore space and save the universe, Hitchhikers is difficult to sum up succinctly. As a huge fan of the books, I was skeptical of a film adaptation and this wariness was at least partly founded. Martin Freeman does make an affable Arthur Dent and I love Mos Def as Ford Prefect. Add in Sam Rockwell and Zooey Deschanel and the casting all round is generally spot-on. There are some design and world-building issues, however. But beggars cannot be choosers. It looks like this is the only adaptation we’re getting for some time (despite having two Dirk Gentlys since then), so enjoy the whimsical narration of Stephen Fry as he guides you through his good friend Douglas Adams’ world. And then go and read the books. All of them.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (Film4, 9pm): Matthew Vaughn’s spy comedy with a hyperbolic twist turns spy agent Colin Firth into a teacher of gentlemanly things for an adolescent tearaway — the breakout role for the charismatic Taron Egerton. Easy to become your favourite gadget-fest, The Secret Service satisfies the relentless urge to become an undercover agent if only to have the sturdy Mark Strong as your right-hand man. Be entertained by the charming good fun and memorable characters this growing, lucrative franchise has to offer — topped with the finest suits for window-shopping. Get suited and booted Tuesday at 9pm on film4.
The Bourne Identity (Sky Cinema, 4:40pm): Waking on a fishing boat with no memory of who he is, Matt Damon conquers Europe in attempts to recall his identity and explain why assassins are following his trail. Doug Liman’s first of the Bourne trilogy sets the barrier high for the assassin genre peaking with Damon’s establishing role as an action star contender — thus paving the way for the Jason Bourne fandom. This fast-paced pursuit boasts impeccable fight-scene choreography and confidence in calling itself a “thriller” complete with one of the best car chases in cinema. Grab your will to survive Tuesday at 4:40pm on Sky Cinema.
The World is Not Enough (ITV4, 10pm): His name is Pierce Brosnan and his number is 007. The James Bond of the 21st Century takes us into the new millennium with the 19th entry to the Bond serie, each one getting louder, bigger and more action packed than ever. Boasting the most exciting pre-title sequence for decades across the River Thames and the Millennium Dome, 007 is pushed to the limit when protecting wealthy oil heiress Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) from assassination from terrorist Renard (Robert Carlyle). But M (Judi Dench) is also a target when the danger hits too close to home… With sexy support from the likes of nuclear physicist Denise Richards (don’t ask) and the welcome return of Robbie Coltrane as Valentin Zukovsky, this Bond movie drags it’s heels a little in getting through the story after a blistering opener, but does it’s best however much it shows signs of what was to come of the franchise with ‘Die Another Day’ 3 years later.
Cowboys and Aliens (Film4, 9pm): With such strong foundations to build on, many expected this to be box-office gold. We had the classic Western mashed with sci-fi. ‘Iron Man’ director Jon Favreau takes the helm. James Bond and Indiana Jones unite on-screen. What could go wrong? Well, sadly, on reflection, quite a bit when it tries too hard to be something it isn’t. Instead of making the story fun and exciting, it soon becomes a very lack-lustre cliché of expectations from each genre that work against each other in vying for control. Lots of talk and debating does nothing to maintain the excitement and fun we could have had with real Wild West cowboys taking on an army of aliens. Instead of this, we get a bunch of miserable and argumentative cowboys on horseback tracking one downed spacecraft, which doesn’t even appear until a good 40 minutes in, all leading to a pay-off that combines everything we should have had before but it’s too little, too late. It’s always great to see Harrison Ford on screen. However, it’s way too dark and dreary to be something entertaining for those who love a good cowboy film or alien invasion; this just doesn’t know what it wants to be and suffers for it greatly.
Inglourious Basterds (Sky Cinema, 12am): The iconic Quentin Tarantino’s critically-acclaimed affair with this World War II satire — receiving aid from compadre Eli Roth — serves a sophisticated telling of Jewish U.S soldiers impending conquest over a Nazi-occupied France. A stellar show from Christoph Waltz in Colonel uniform leads a thorough search for Jewish occupants opposing the rebellious American guerrilla soldiers “The Basterds” assembled by Brad Pitt’s merciless Lt. Aldo Raine. A platoon of intense conversational scenes and explosions of controlled action in true Tarantino style — Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger and an army of familiar faces keep it engaging and thrilling to watch more than once. It’s a bingo Wednesday at 12am on Sky Cinema.
Lost in Translation (Sky Cinema, 8pm): An astonishing achievement from director Sofia Coppola – drawing out probably Scarlett Johansson’s best performance (and one of her earliest starring roles) and also reinventing Bill Murray’s career with this dramatic, nuanced and layered role, which of course is punctured by humour. Perhaps it will feel different, viewing it through the eyes of 2017, but their relationship somehow manages to not seem creepy. It comes across as refreshingly sweet to see these two fish out of water bonding in the overwhelming anonymity of Tokyo at night. Murray is the washed up movie star hocking whiskey in Japanese adverts “It’s Suntory time” and Johansson is the lonely young wife of a photographer, both jet-lagged and woozy in a totally alien culture. If you haven’t seen this film, you really must spend some time with these characters in Coppola’s world.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (Sky Comedy, 8pm): Popstar is the best comedy of 2016 that you probably never got to see. It stars Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer who in real life make up The Grammy award winners ‘The Lonely Island’. This Judd Apatow produced mockumentry follows Samberg’s Conner4Real as he attempts to have a solo career away from the group that made him famous, The Style Boyz . The film Is packed full of cameos from a host of famous faces across the entertainment industry which really helps add a sense of realism to the movie. The other thing which is outstanding is the film’s soundtrack. All original songs from the creative minds of ‘Dick in a Box’ and ‘Jizzed in my Pants’ comes songs like ‘I’m So Humble’ and ‘Incredible Thoughts’, which are as good as anything in the charts today. Really funny comedy films are so rare recently it’s a shame when they don’t find an audience. ‘Popstar’ should be applauded. This is a funny hidden gem which should be sought out as soon as possible.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (TCM, 10:50pm): One of Tarantino’s best films, featuring a bravura performance by Uma Thurman as The Bride seeking revenge on her old colleagues. This first half of the story mainly focuses on tracking down O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu); by firstly obtaining a legendary Hattori Hanzo sword and culminating in the astonishing House of the Blue Leaves sequence. However, through the use of flashback, we get much of the backstory motivating The Bride on her brutal and bloody rampage across the planet and which will ultimately lead her to Bill himself. Features supporting work from Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Michael Madsen and Vivica A Fox as The Deadly Viper Assassin Squad. If you haven’t seen this film, what have you been doing with your life? After catching up with Vol I, make sure you track down the equally good Vol II.