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
Wonder: An adaptation of R. J. Palacio’s New York Times Best Seller, ‘Wonder’ tells the story of August Pullman, who was born with an “extremely rare medical facial difference”, and his story of starting middle school after only ever being home-schooled. ‘Wonder’ is a heartwarming and genuinely lovely film, and we will have our full verdict up on site soon! You can catch ‘Wonder’ in UK cinemas from Friday!
War for the Planet of the Apes: The epic finale to arguably one of the best trilogies ever made is yours to take home this week! ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ concludes the story of Caesar and his family of apes in an all-out, high stakes finale. Caesar comes face to face with ‘The Colonel’ (Woody Harrelson), who threatens to wipe out the apes once and for all, and Caesar will do anything to protect those he loves. You can read our full review here
Valerian: Luc Beeson’s latest offering received a very mixed reception when it hit cinemas earlier this year. Fiona thought it took more of a beating than it deserved, but not all of it was incorrect – “It is, mostly, entertaining and the visual feast is almost worth your time and money”. You can read Fiona’s full review here and see whether it’s worth your money to take home this week.
ON TV THIS WEEK
Die Another Day (ITV4, 9pm): The 20th film in the James Bond sees Pierce Brosnan in his fourth and final 007 outing that put the final nail in the golden-era of the franchise in 2002. Lee Tamahori directs this outing which sees Bond take on a power-mad North Korean dictator intent on taking out the DMZ and starting a new world war…sounds familiar 15 years later? Not even CGI glacier-surfing, a CGI invisible Aston Martin or Halle Berry could save the film from it’s over-inflated ego. Loud, noisy, sloppy visual effects and a run of the mill action film with a worn-out looking Brosnan who is simply ticking the boxes. It may start a little promising but soon nose-dives, which is a shame, but then we wouldn’t have got a groundbreaking reboot in 2006. A wonderful case study in what happens when a then 40 year old franchise finally runs out of steam.
Starship Troopers (Syfy, 10pm): Like much of Paul Verhoeven’s work, Starship Troopers was misunderstood by many to be a mindless action film upon release. The dialogue is cheesy and schlocky, it follows a fairly run-of-the-mill alien invasion plot and it doesn’t help that it features the acting “talents” of Denise Richards. However, this film is actually a biting satire of fascism, the military and propaganda which is perhaps even more relevant now than when it was released. It can still be enjoyed on the level of an action/Sci-Fi flick, of course and it is brainless fun if that’s what you’re in the mood for. But for me, Starship Troopers is an underrated gem which shows what Verhoeven can do (and yes, I am including Showgirls in great films that have come from this director). If you’ve not seen this fantastic movie – make sure you check it out.
Step Brothers (5*, 10:05pm): Arguably one of Will Ferrell’s best films to date, ‘Step Brothers’ centres around two middle aged men who both still live at home, The pair are forced to become friends when their parents marry and move in together. Will Ferrel and John C. Reilly are absolutely hilarious together, both when the pair are fighting one another, and then later on in the film when they actually start liking each other a little (which turns out to be worse than them fighting). With some truly memorable yet toe-curling cringey scenes (I’m looking at you, Boats and Hoes), end your Monday with a laugh and a few songs along the way… “It’s the fucking Catalina Wine Mixer..”
Mars Attacks! (ITV4, 10:50pm): Now a much loved cult classic, Tim Burton’s brief encounter with B movie styled science fiction certainly divided audiences back in the nineties — still it has never been short in entertaining many from the generation. The iconic, cackling Martians unleash panic across America alongside a see-it-to-believe-it line-up of famous faces — including Glenn Close, Jack Nicholson and a rather memorable head-swap between Pierce Brosnan and Sarah Jessica Parker — being terrorized by tiny beings carrying oversized brains. Comical and quirky, this is a feature designed to be accepted for what it is and should simply be allowed to entertain. Set phasers to stun — they’re landing Tuesday at 10:50pm on ITV4.
Liar Liar (Sky Comedy, 9:40pm): Jim Carrey stars in a highly underrated role as a hotshot lawyer whose career is put in jeopardy when he inherits a mysterious condition that prevents him from lying for 24 hours. Hilarious until the court adjourns that instantly becomes your go-to feature for one-liners. Supported by Maura Tierney and Cary Elwes, Carrey enthusiast and director Tom Shadyac of ‘Ace Ventura’ fame excels at highlighting the talents of one of Hollywood’s finest comics. This straightforward and heart-warming comedy will have you hooked after the first watch featuring a quick-witted and perfectly paced script by Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur (‘The Little Rascals’) Court is in session Tuesday at 9:40pm on Sky Comedy.
Hail, Caesar! (Sky Cinema, 6pm): Hail Caesar ticks so many boxes for me – the Coens, the 1950s, Hollywood and Channing Tatum dancing. This movie stars Josh Brolin as a “fixer” at one of the top Hollywood studios, meaning that he can arrange for awkward things like mistresses or gay lovers to be ‘handled’ and kept from the beady eye of gossip columnist Thora Thacker (Tilda Swinton). It features some fantastic set-pieces; including Ralph Fiennes trying to teach future Han Solo Alden Ehrenrich how to deliver a particularly tricky line, to Scarlett Johannsson in a spectacular water-based dance number, to George Clooney attempting to get his Julius Caesar movie off the ground. An insane communist sub-plot just makes Hail, Caesar all the more ridiculous but it’s hilarious and fun with some stunning costumes and set design. Highly recommended.
Crank (ITV4, 10pm): After being injected with poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops, professional assassin, Chev, spends almost the entirety of ‘Crank’ finding numerous ridiculous ways (including picking fights, taking drugs, and public sex) to stay alive, whilst also hunting down the man who poisoned him. This is a typical performance from Jason Statham, his character is quite similar to those we’ve seen him as before, but the fun with this film lies in his methods of staying alive and just how ridiculous the whole thing is. It’s fast paced, action packed, and ridiculous. A perfect mid-week film.
The Raid 2 (C4, 11:35am): How do you follow up one of the finest action films of the decade so far? By going bigger, bolder, more violent, and more insane. When The Raid took streaming services by storm in 2011, people craved more from their action films. They wanted better choreography, better action set-pieces, better characters to root for. In Welsh-director Gareth Evans, they have a man who is happy to let moments play out for as long as they need and that little bit extra. He wants to showcase the unbelievable talent he has on offer with his incredible Indonesian cast, and he just wants to blow your fucking minds. The Raid 2 builds on the previous film by ramping the action up to 11 in every aspect: we have fight scenes in a muddy courtyard, inside and outside cars simultaneously, in hallways, in kitchens; you name a setting, there’s a fight scene in it. The Raid 2 is long at 2 and a half hours, but it’s worth it; settle in for The Godfather Part 2 of action sequels. If you love films like John Wick or Dredd in any way, watch this film. You won’t regret it.
Total Recall (ITV1, 11:15pm): This 1990 dystopian science fiction action film is directed by Paul Verhoeven and sees Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rachel Ticotin get their asses to Mars to take on the ruthless Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside and Ronny Cox as they try to rule the planet. Coming out in 1990, this was a refreshing slice of sci-fi which relied on miniature effects, model work, stunts and complex set-design to really make everything look and feel as real as possible. This is a big popcorn based pleasure trip for all Arnie and action fans alike, full of classic moments like the ever memorable 3 breasted woman, the freaky looking Johnny Cab, Quaid’s faulty Mars disguise, the gratuitous use of violence and gore, and of course the puns. If you’ve not seen this, which I doubt, then please check it out and forget all you know about the turgid Colin Farrel 2012 remake. Nobody did it better than Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Sky Cinema, 11pm): Gareth Edwards directs the first ever spin-off film from the “Skywalker saga” and brings along Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen and Mads Mikkelsen as Rebel fighters to take on evil Ben Mendelsohn and the Galactic Empire as a super-weapon called the “Death Star” is about to make it’s debut mission. X-Wing and TIE dogfights across blue skies with a war-zone on the beaches below is something ripped from the computer games we’ve played over the years. These new heroes and villains leap from the pages of books we’ve read set outside the canon. ‘Rogue One’ puts the WARS back in Star Wars in the bravest and most faithful way possible that delivers thrills, emotion, tension, excitement and some gorgeous moments you never saw coming outside of the usual films we are used to.