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
The Disaster Artist: James Franco directs and stars in arguably the best comedy of 2017 as we get a look in to how the best worst film ever made came to be. Go behind the scenes of Tommy Wiseau’s cult hit ‘The Room’ in this comedy based on the book that was written by Greg Sestero about how he met Tommy and how ‘The Room’ came to be. Thankfully, we have Tommy’s biggest fan on our team and Sarah’s review for ‘The Disaster Artist’ will be available on our blog tomorrow!
On TV This Week
Live and Let Die (ITV4, 9pm): The late, great Sir Roger Moore takes up the Walther PPK from Sean Connery to establish a new James Bond – more humour, more family-friendly and Moore himself. He’s confident, charming and dangerous and starts his 7 film run in a way that makes it difficult to imagine anyone else as a suave and sophisticated British secret agent. After a blasting theme tune from Paul McCartney & Wings, Bond and love interest Solitaire (Jane Seymour) take on Yaphet Kotto’s drug baron Dr Kananga as he attempts to flood America with drugs. The story is more grounded and character driven to ease us into our new 007, but it doesn’t hold back on the girls, gadgets and outrageous action! It’s very much a Bond of the 70s (1973) with the heavy ‘Blaxploitation’ theme running through it from the off with African-American co-stars such as Julius Harris, Geoffrey Holder, Gloria Hendry and Earl Jolly Brown and action set in Harlem, New Orleans and the Caribbean alongside terms such as ‘honkey’ and ‘spades’ amidst that funky jazz scene and pimpmobiles driving the streets. Overall, it’s a cracking debut.
The Grinch (Sky Christmas, 8pm): This live action Dr. Seuss treasure energizes our favourite green bah humbug in the form of the highly animated Jim Carrey — plotting his sabotage on the festive town of Whoville as the mythical Grinch. Ron Howard provides the snug night in joining the holiday cheer that no December should be without — with majestic imagery and plenty of giggles narrated by the comforting voice of Anthony Hopkins. The Grinch’s hyperbole and chronic cynicism against the cheerful Bobble-nosed Whos and their infectious Christmas spirit is relentless in delighting with the added bonus of a moralistic and ambivalent dog. Make this your background entertainment whilst Christmas wrapping Monday at 10pm on Sky Xmas.
The Man with the Golden Gun (ITV4, 9pm): Roger Moore never fails to delight as 007 with a successful balance of humour and charm that sees him make the role his own with the right amount of cold brutality Bond needs as he slaps around women and shows little mercy to the enemy. He’s a joy to watch and helps carry the film with a story that is not the most exciting, but one that is saved with a great villain in the guise of Sir Christopher Lee as Scaramange – a clever and cunning hitman. With some good action scenes and locations but irritating characters, half of the Bond team wanted to take the series bigger and more escapist, while the other half wanted more humour and espionage. The balance doesn’t work and it proved to be the final collaboration between original producers Albert R Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Memorable for many good reasons, but also for a few bad, this is one of mediocre Bond offerings, but still impossible not to enjoy for what it is.
Love Actually (Sky Christmas, 8pm): An abundance of British talent graces the screen in this idyllic rom-com from Richard Curtis to get you in the festive spirit — featuring the talents of Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson and more — bestowing a warming Christmas cracker stuffed with humour and plenty of “awwww’s”. Each character story is compelling and touching — giving you the gift of belief in love at unexpected times from a cast that has remained one of the better ensembles in film for fourteen years. A treat to be added to the Christmas film list or buried away for the heart-wrenching break-up, Love Actually attests that in a darkening world, all you need is love, actually. Grab some Kleenex and a bottle of wine for 8pm Tuesday on Sky Xmas
Captain America: The First Avenger (Film4, 9pm): Although most people seem to hold ‘The Winter Soldier’ in the highest regard of the ‘Captain America’ films (and even of the whole MCU), ‘The First Avenger’ is my favourite. I love an origin story and also the period setting of this film appeals to me. If you’re unfamiliar, it follows the story of weedy weakling Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), too ill to be allowed to sign up with his best buddy Bucky to fight in World War Two. Mysterious scientist Dr Erskine (Stanley Tucci) offers Steve a chance to be injected with a serum that transforms him into a tall, strapping solider. Once decked out in a stars and stripes suit, Captain America becomes a mascot and is used to elicit war bonds and new recruits. Frustrated by this role and eager to join the front lines, Cap becomes involved in a daring rescue of his best friend’s squadron and seeks to defeat Hydra, led by Schmidt (Hugo Weaving). This film is also the introduction of Peggy AKA Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell), who went on to have an unfortunately short-lived TV series. Evans is all charm here and this is real reminder of why he’s the leader of the ‘Avengers. With Infinity War’ coming up next year, take this chance to look back at a nostalgic origin story.
The Spy Who Loved Me (ITV4, 9pm): A 3 year break and a new production team with a single vision for the franchise meant audiences were going to get something bigger and better than ever. It’s Bond and beyond! The team give you a submarine car, a Union Jack parachute escape and set design that rivals anything ever seen – you get this and Moore. Roger Moore as 007 and Barbara Bach as Russian agent Anya Amasova team up against Curd Jürgens who wants to destroy the world, all with the aid of nuclear submarines and a steel-toothed giant called Jaws played by the inimitable Richard Kiel. The adventure crosses the globe and the production is bigger than ever to give us a fun, exciting and very iconic entry to the series where everyone looks like they’re having a blast, and it certainly shows. Nobody does it better than 007.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (ITV4, 11:35pm): For me, this is the last good Burton film (although last year’s Miss Peregrine wasn’t terrible). Many people think he jumped the shark before this (even before Big Fish, which I will not hold sway with at all), but ‘Sweeney Todd’ still has a lot to offer, if you can still stomach watching Johnny Depp. It is not so much the songs which are the appeal for me, but the production design. Burton creates an almost black and white world with pops of colour (particularly blood red) to tell this murderously dark tale of revenge. The cast is rounded out by HBC (obvs), Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and Sacha Baron Cohen. Definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.
Moonraker (ITV4, 9pm): Where does 007 have left to conquer? Why, outer-space of course! Roger Moore returns as James Bond to jump on the sci-fi band wagon established by ‘Star Wars’ to take the battle to save the world OUT of this world. Evil billionaire Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) wants to destroy Earth and shape it again in his own vision – cue 007 and CIA agent Holly Goodhead (no sniggering) played by Lois Chiles to stop him! Richard Kiel returns as Jaws when the action spans the globe and then into the stars. Some may see this as a little blip in the Moore era – some forced humour and silly jokes over-shadow things, but it’s not all bad. We have more stand-out set design, more daring stunt work and of-the-era special effects to show there is no limit to where 007 can go.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Comedy Central, 9pm): ‘The Spy Who Shagged Me’ is the second film of Mike Myers’ ‘Austin Powers’ trilogy. In this Academy Award nominated sequel, Austin has his mojo stolen by Doctor Evil, who travelled back in time to steal it from him whilst he was frozen. Much like the first, this film delivers the laughs and still holds up pretty well! It’s takes every cliché from the Bond films before it, adds some 60s flare, and Mike Myers playing multiple characters. A good laugh for a Wednesday night!
Wayne’s World (Comedy Central, 11pm): ‘Wayne’s World’ is in my Top 5 films of all time. Admittedly, this is a lot to do with the age I was when it came out and the nostalgic associations it holds for me. It was only relatively recently that I discovered that it was directed by a woman. The whole film rests on the central performances of Mike Myers as Wayne and Dana Carvey as Garth, playing “teenagers” who host a cable TV show from their basement. The film is infused with the rock of Led Zeppelin and Queen and the stylings of Wayne’s girlfriend Cassandra’s band. Some delightful supporting work comes from Rob Lowe and Lara Flynn Boyle (as Wayne’s crazy ex-girlfriend). This hilarious movie is packed full of catchphrases and memorable set-pieces (Bohemian Rhapsody in the car) that will stick with you long after you’ve seen it. If you’ve not seen it before, where have you been? If it’s been too long since you last saw it (it certainly has for me), then revisit this early 90s gem.
For Your Eyes Only (ITV4, 9pm): Roger Moore takes 007 into the 80s going up against villainous KGB agent Julian Glover to stop a deadly military encoder falling into the hands of the Russians, and he does so with the help of charming smuggler Topol and Greek archaeologist Carole Bouque. The good thing with EON Productions and their James Bond series is that they know when certain aspects have to change to convince fans and critics the series is still relevant. After the outlandish ‘Moonraker’, Bond was brought back down to basics for a film that was more gritty, darker and practical, all the while retaining the fun and charm that Roger Moore brought to the role of James Bond. It was the most Fleming-esque of the Moore era, and won over many fans and critics as it relies on character development and espionage over silly gadgets and over-the-top action.
Ted (E4, 9pm): John Bennett (Mark Walhberg) wishes the teddy bear Ted (Seth McFarlane) to come to life during his childhood. Ted is suddenly alive and John must determine to keep a relationship with the bear or girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis). ‘Ted’ is unconventional to some extent and outright hilarious from start to finish. The unnecessary sequel ‘Ted 2’ is more of the same and proves stand alone films must be kept alone. If anything, ‘Ted’ provides satisfying chuckles and highly recommend skipping the sequel.