Reviews

Watch This Space: 11th – 17th December

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 you can read Sarah’s review for ‘The Disaster Artist’ here!

On TV This Week

Monday

Krampus (Sky Movies, 6:15pm): If you’re looking for a slightly different approach to your cinematic festive countdown, Halloween favourite ‘Trick ‘r’ Treat’ skipper Michael Dougherty unleashes the nightmarish anti-Santa that is Krampus on a dysfunctional family that have lost their Crimbo mojo — originating from German folklore as far back as the 1600’s. Adam Scott and Toni Collette star in the answer to horror fans that cry “Bah Humbug” while still offering magical imagery with a sprinkle of the holiday jollies amongst black comedy bloodshed. Keep your Christmas spirit alight 6:15pm this Monday on Sky Movies.

Matilda (Sky Cinema, 9:30pm): Danny DeVito’s childhood treasure still stirs the nostalgic pot well into adulthood, delivering a warming tale of a powerful young girl who fights to rise above her heartless family and challenging school whilst radiating a sincere message of belief in ones self. A wonderful array of characters and memorable moments that truly stand the test of time 21 years later — starring director Danny DeVito, Embeth Davidtz, Mara Wilson and Pam Ferris as the obscene Miss Trunchbull. Many would crown this thoroughly enjoyable family film as their favourite to watch as a kid, and has remained equally as entertaining after a hard day at the office. To be watched with a luxurious slice of chocolate cake Monday at 9:30pm on Sky Cinema.

Serenity (Syfy, 9pm): Famously Joss Whedon‘s “Space western” ‘Firefly’ only ran for one season, leading to the ire of its fan and securing its place as a cult classic. We did, however, get a film version, which in my opinion is as good as the TV show. It follows the story of Captain Mal and the crew of the Serenity – basically a rag-tag bunch of space pirates – who become embroiled in a plot involving a girl with mysterious powers who must be shielded from the Alliance. A hugely likeable cast and a typically zingy script from Whedon make this a must see twist on the sci-fi genre. Also check out what Whedon does with horror in ‘Cabin in the Woods’, if you haven’t already. )

Gangs of New York (ITV4, 11:40pm): TBA

Tuesday

Swordfish (TCM, 9pm): A very mediocre thriller that embraces film-making technology of the 90s (a jarring ‘Matrix’ style opener) and political themes of the new millennium including terrorism and cyber-crime, ‘Swordfish’ came just months before the September 11th terror attack on America and probably got lost in the void because of it. It’s very run-of-the-mill and by the numbers. We have all the jargon. We have fast typing (actors button mashing looking like they know what they are doing). We have a drum and bass synth soundtrack. Techno nightclubs. Blowjobs. Ball-bearing “Claymore” style explosive vests. Flying busses. Oh, and Halle Berry topless. Hugh Jackman looks like a lil’ baby here in his pre-Wolverine stardom, and doesn’t do much but talk and type and run around. John Travolta, like he does in every film he’s in, gives 100% of a hammy and joyful performance with a bad haircut to boot and monologues a plenty as our villain. You have to love the effort he puts into everything. 95mins is long enough, as the film drags lots after the opener. Forgetful stuff really, and one of the last few films about the war on terror that was made to be slick, cool and carefree before the world changed forever as did Hollywood.

Daredevil (Syfy, 9pm): Before he donned the Batman suit, Ben Affleck played Matt Murdock, an attorney by day and crime fighter by night. Murdock was blinded by toxic waste at a young age and discovered it had heightened his other senses. Murdock defends the streets of Hell’s Kitchen as Daredevil, and when Wilson Fisk hired Bullyseye to stop Daredevil once and for all, Murdock discovers his girlfriend is also hiding a secret life. Whilst it may not be the film we all hoped it would be at the time, I think this film really makes you appreciate what we have now in terms of comic book films and especially the incredible effort that goes in to the Marvel Netflix shows. I think we can all agree that Afflecks red-leathered sins of the past are well and truly forgiven with his recent appearances as Batman in the DCEU. 

Wednesday

Eraser (TCM, 9pm): The 90s helped showcase a lot of material for Arnold Schwarzengger, from rousing sci-fi, to family comedy, supernatural horror and of course his action films. Some were hits, some were misses, but this is a solid hit with a basic formula – shoot-outs, car chases, daring stunts and double-crosses. With a cast that really shine alongside Schwarzenegger such as James Caan, Vanessa Williams and Robert Pastorelli, the story of a simple cat-and-mouse chase with plenty of stand-out moments and well shot sequences including a home rescue, a mid-air jet battle and a final dockyard confrontation; lots of noise and bangs for your viewing pleasure. It’s a bit of a mediocre story, the underlying factor being selling arms to Russian gangsters, but everything else around that is what makes it good fun, with Arnie’s using all his tricks and tactics to stay one step ahead of the villains. It’s not Arnie’s most memorable work, but it can stand as one of his best of the 90s offerings.

Thursday

Judge Dredd (Syfy, 9pm)Before Karl Urban became ‘The Chin’, and before the films of comic book lore turned darker, more emotional and more thought provoking, Sylvester Stallone cranked up the camp and hammed his way as a bankable action star in this adaptation of the popular ‘2000 AD’ comic character. It’s basically a light-hearted typical 90s sci-fi actioner with hints of ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Star Wars’ and even ‘Total Recall’ sprinkled on top. There’s decent action sequences to please, big explosions, fantastical guns that dispense everything from flares to grenades, to tough fist-fights with a fair amount of violence – but not as brutal or dark as the modern ‘Dredd’. Ignore the fact Dredd spends most of his time on screen minus his trademark helmet and you’ll be okay. With a pompous and very heroic score by Alan Silvestri and a decent supporting cast with Jurgen Prochnov, Max von Sydow and an OTT Armand Assante, Stallone reminds us still that no-one delivers that line better than him. “I AM THE LAAAAAW!”

Friday

The Impossible (E4, 9pm): Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and a pre-Spider-Man Tom Holland collaborate in Spanish director J.A. Bayona’s moving retelling of a tourist family caught in the destruction of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Thailand. Heart-gripping moments and powerful acting from Watts and Holland surges this heavy drama forward — showing justice towards what is a true story that offers an understanding of the genuine terror several families faced on that fateful day. A then sixteen year old Tom Holland captivates with his earnest performance that refuses to leave a dry eye in the house. Beware of some realistic, stomach-churning camera movements this Friday at 9pm on E4.

Bunny and the Bull (Film4, 1:30am): From much of the same team behind ‘The Mighty Boosh’, this 2009 film is a British gem. Filled with eccentricity and playing on the classic dynamic of a introvert (Stephen – Edward Hogg) and an extrovert (Bunny – Simon Farnaby), it follows a road trip across Europe – or does it? Because Stephen is a recluse, the story is told through fantasies and flashbacks and it is the incredible production design that is the star of the show. Paper backdrops and other witty inventions are used to create the world they are “travelling through” and the supporting cast – Julian Barrett, Noel Fielding, Richard Ayoade and especially Veronica Echegui add to the rich and crazy world created in Stephen’s flat and in their minds. If you haven’t seen it, be sure to seek out this crazy ride of a film.

The Godfather (Sky Cinema, 10:30pm):

 

 

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