Watch This Space: September 4th – 10th

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

IT: The highly anticipated ‘IT’, the second Stephen King adaptation to grace our cinemas this year, is released on Thursday! It’s been 27 years since we last saw Pennywise on screen, but this time he looks like he’ll really be inducing nightmares. We’ll have our review up early next week.

Patti Cake$: Last week we posted up our review of Geremy Jasper’s first feature length directorial effort. Sarah calls it “a delightful, uplifting comedy drama with a killer soundtrack“. Don’t let this one fly under your radar! 

Logan Lucky: Another film we reviewed last week,  Soderbergh’s ‘Logan Lucky’ hit cinemas at the end of last month and you’d be a fool to miss this one. With Adam Driver, Channing Tatum, and Daniel Craig delivering the charm and laughs, we think this is a must-see this month. 

On TV

Monday

Star Trek (1979): This 1979 sci-fi feature film debut for the crew of the USS Enterprise was made out of an un-used TV pilot. So with ready made costumes, sets and props, a film was green lit to rival ‘Star Wars’ and prove that Trekkies weren’t out of the space film race yet! This isn’t the easiest of watches, I warn you. It’s very slow, very of it’s time and very un-eventful. BUT it paved the way for twelve sequels, multiple new TV shows and a fan base to rival that of the Jedi. With the cast of the original 60s show back, you’re in good company, but don’t expect anything to knock your socks off JUST yet in the early voyages of Captain James T Kirk. Beam up on SyFy at 9pm

Unbreakable (2000): Still the best Shyamalan movie (in my humble opinion of course), ‘Unbreakable’ is also one of the most unassuming “superhero” films as well, with fascinating characters and an interesting narrative. With standout performances from Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis, and with the recently announced sequel to ‘Unbreakable’ in the pipeline, what better time to watch it than right now…or this week at least!

 

Tuesday 

Gladiator (2000): The 2000 film that came from nowhere proved to be one of Hollywood’s biggest gambles – a genre that was pretty much dead in the water, leading actor Russell Crowe who was yet to break the big time and a story set in ancient history. ‘Gladiator’ did what it set out to do; redefine the historical epic, shine a light on a forgotten and fascinating culture and showcase top acting and crew talent for a thrilling, rousing and dramatic story of a Roman general who became a slave, who became a gladiator who then defied an Empire. It is quality film-making and it’s all presented in such a bombastic way that it hasn’t been bettered since and given us more swords and sandal epics than we deserve. Be entertained on Film4 at 9pm

Blades of Glory (2007): In 2007, Will Ferrell tried his hand at figure skating. If that sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is. What it also is, though, is a frequently funny romp that gives us some hilarious set-pieces, a brilliantly silly chase scene, and some surprisingly well thought out skating routines. Keep and eye out for the scene-stealing Will Arnett and Amy Poehler as the Van Waldenberg siblings, but the real stars are Will Ferrell (as funny as he’s ever been) and Jon Heder (the straight man to Ferrell’s joker who still has a fair few great lines of his own) as the two polar opposites are forced to work together. Witness the hilarity on Comedy Central at 9pm

Wednesday

Godzilla (1998): Roland Emmerich unleashes the Japanese created sumo-lizard in New York City, carrying the tag line “Size Does Matter” in perfect 90’s fashion. Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno give chase to the monster along with a group of baffled scientists and military personnel with plenty of comic relief. Buildings will shake if you forget the fish at 9pm on Sony Channel.

V for Vendetta (2005):  The year is 2028. The United Kingdom is a fascist police state, with political opponents, Jews, Muslims, atheists, immigrants, homosexuals and other “undesirables” executed. Hugo Weaving is the mysterious V, an anarchist and freedom fighter, wearing the infamous Guy Fawkes mask. Natalie Portman is Evey, a young woman who is recruited into V’s revolution. ‘V for Vendetta’ is THE dystopian political thriller to watch. And has never felt more ‘on the nose’ than in our current political climate. Be sure to join the revolution on SyFy at 9pm

Thursday

Kick-Ass 2 (2013): The follow up to the excellent ‘Kick-Ass’, about a young man called Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who puts on a mask to become Kick-Ass, an adequate crime-fighter. Chloe Grace Moretz reprises her role as the fowl-mouthed ultra-violent Hit Girl, with added Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes. Throw in a new villain in Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and a supporting cast of loveable misfits, and Kick-Ass 2 is a fun grounded comic book movie that subverts expectations. Film4 at 11:25pm is the place to be. 

Friday

Resident Evil (2002): Up for a solid horror movie on a Friday night? Then look no further than Paul W.S. Anderson’s ‘Resident Evil’, the adaptation to the terrifying video-game series that scared millions. Whilst critics mostly panned the movie for its video-game aesthetic, it’s by far the best entry to the 7-film franchise. Catch Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez in the film that kick started the franchise at 10pm on 5*

Trainspotting (1995): Danny Boyle’s magnus opus ‘Trainspotting’, a masterclass of filmmaking that’ll have you immersed for its entirety. Follow Renton and his gang into the Edinburgh drug scene and all the grotesque imagery that comes with it, and with terrific performances from an incredible ensemble cast, this is a must see. You can catch this cult classic on Film4 at 1am.

This is England (2006): One of the best British films of the 21st century, This is England introduced the world to some exemplary world-class actors; Vicky McClure, Joe Gilgun and Stephen Graham among them. It is a hard-hitting and a difficult watch at times, but Midlands-based writer/director Shane Meadows always undercuts the drama with humour as well. This film tracks the ‘rise’ of a gang of skinheads in the 1980s, covering the music and fashion, as well as the much darker neo-Nazi side. Of course, this subject is unfortunately relevant today. If you do tune in to watch this film for the first time, I also highly recommend the TV series that followed. The acting is astonishing and heart-breaking. Catch the film on Film4 at 9pm

Hiding Online / In Our Collection

The Expendables 3 (2014): This is a fair entry into the series, but nowhere near as enjoyable as the second, and a very mediocre offering saved by seeing so many familiar faces clearly having a blast on screen. Ignore the youngsters if you can and just wait for the pay-off. With a cast including the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Terry Crewes and more, you know the bang for your buck you’re gonna get! But it’s a little more…family friendly this time, which is a shame.  If you enjoy this, I urge you to revisit the second film from 2012 which, to me, is the stand-out of this current trilogy.

Men in Black (1997): Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones star as the relentless duo assigned to “Protect Earth from the Scum of the Universe.” Slick and comical with timeless entertainment and notorious Sci-Fi creatures, director Barry Sonnenfeld delivers an instant classic with charming wit and suave action built around a plethora of cool-as-they-get gadgets. Head over to Netflix and keep a hold of your memories.

 

A huge thank you to contributors this week: Chris Gelderd, Jo Craig, Corey Hughes, Sarah Buddery, Sasha Hornby, Fiona Underhill, and Rhys Bowen Jones
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Why We Need Star Trek In A Star Wars World

Written by Gillian Finklea

Going to see the latest installment in the ‘Star Trek’ series has become a weird ritual for me, that I look forward to more with each passing movie. It’s a fictional universe I have no deep relationship with, having never watched the many television versions or any of the movies made before J.J. Abrams rekindled the franchise. Truth be told, my favorite ‘Star Trek’ movie is probably ‘Galaxy Quest’. And yet, I am actually giddy each time a new movie comes out, because this new ‘Star Trek’ series is wonderful and is only getting better. It is a compelling and fun exploration of what our relationship to space could be in the future, along with excellent characters and exciting action set-pieces. However, my happiness is dashed when I realise that very few will ever experience ‘Star Trek’ in this sense — because of a little juggernaut called ‘Star Wars’.

Continue reading

Star Trek 4 May See A Familiar Face Return

At the start of ‘Star Trek’ (2009), George Kirk bravely sacrificed himself to save the lives of his crew, his wife and his newborn son, thus writing himself into Starfleet – and Trekkie – history. Most of us quite logically assumed that would be the one and only time we’d ever see George Kirk in this series – his work was done and Chris Hemsworth, the actor who brought George to life, has gone on to become a huge star. But this is ‘Star Trek’, so perhaps we should have known better.

Whilst out promoting the latest film in the franchise, ‘Star Trek Beyond’, J.J. Abrams let slip that plans are afoot for ‘Star Trek 4’ (or 14 if you prefer), as well as hinting that Chris Hemsworth would be returning. Just in case any of us thought he was simply messing with us, Paramount Pictures quickly backed him up with an official confirmation: Yes, there will be another film in the Kelvin timeline, and yes, Chris Hemsworth will indeed reprise his role as George Kirk.

While this is good news for fans of George Kirk and/or Chris Hemsworth, it does really beg the question of how? There are actually a number of ways this can work that could be plucked from Trek lore, but the most likely candidate is probably time travel. It’s a plot device that has been used successfully before in both the TV shows and the films, and it would be a nice subtle nod to the fourth film in the Prime timeline. Are you happy with the direction the franchise may be heading? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Emma Ditchburn

Watch This Space: September 28 – October 4

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

This week’s sees the release of TWO of our most anticipated films of the year. First up, if you’re a Sci-Fi fan, the annual, mandatory, lost in space film lands on Wednesday. Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ has an out of this world cast (get it), including Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Get our verdict here.

And then, on Friday, swap futuristic spaceships for swords and Shakespeare with ‘Macbeth’. The idea of this one has really grown on us lately, and after watching the epic trailer, we are confident this will be a bloody, enthralling retelling of this classic tale. We could well see some Oscar nominations for this film too, if Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard pull out the performances we know they’re capable of. Get our verdict here.

ON THE TV

Monday 21:00 GMT: ITV2 are showing one of the all time greats on Monday night. We may have recommended you watch it before, but ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ is certainly worthy of our persistent attempts to push you in its direction.

Thursday 22:15 GMT: The Rugby World Cup is in full swing, and although South Africa may have suffered the ignominy of losing to Japan in what people are saying is the biggest upset of all time, the country has an important history associated with the competition. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon star in ‘Invictus’ on ITV4, the biographical drama about Nelson Mandela’s ambition to use the tournament to bring a divided nation together.

Friday 21:00 GMT: The first instalment of the recent reboot of the ‘Star Trek’ franchise is on E4 on Friday night. A star-studded cast under the direction of JJ Abrams in a sci-movie, sound familiar? Why not get a feel for Abrams style when it comes to all things intergalactic, and get excited for his Star Wars offering coming later this year.

Saturday 14:45 GMT: A children’s animated film that you might not have seen is ‘The Iron Giant’, showing on Film4. Filled with political allegory and social commentary for the adults to enjoy, and stunning visuals and excitement aplenty for the children, it’s the perfect way to spend your Saturday afternoon.

Sunday 21:00  GMT: The honour of being this week’s Sunday night recommendation is bestowed upon war classic ‘Apocalypse Now’. With a brilliant cast featuring Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford and Martin Sheen, this wonderful achievement in cinema wowed critics and fans alike at the time of its release in 1979, and still continues to do so now. Don’t miss this on ITV4.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Memento: With the likes of ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy, ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Inception’ already to his name, it would appear that Christopher Nolan can do no wrong. One of his earliest films in the directing chair was the mind-bending ‘Memento’, starring Guy Pearce as Leonard, who is trying to solve the murder of his wife, but is hindered by short-term memory loss. He therefore has to come up with an ingenious method to retain the knowledge he gains in order to track down the killer. This is a thriller by definition, without the explosions. It’s more subtle and clever and will have you guessing and thinking all the way through, and for days afterwards as well.

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas: Confession time – I haven’t actually seen this one myself yet. But before you rise in protest, I’m advocating this film because I too will be digging it out this week and I want you all to join me so we can have a discussion about it. See, that’s nice, right? After Benicio del Toro’s gripping performance in ‘Sicario’, I have to see more of his work, and ‘Fear And Loathing’ seems like a good place to start. Generally adored by film fans, and lamented by critics, which side will you fall on?

Due Date: One of my favourite comedy actors, Zach Galifianakis, celebrates his birthday this Thursday. Since his big break in ‘The Hangover’, this portly, bearded guy has taken over the world and is arguably the funniest man around. My favourite film of his is ‘Due Date’, where Zach and Robert Downey Jr endure a road trip like no other. Not everyone is a fan of this film, but I literally laugh every minute and love the chemistry between the lead roles. If you enjoy a spot of silly humour, raise your popcorn on Thursday and say happy birthday Zach, thanks for the laughs.

Rain Man: Tom Cruise is not an actor that I like, at all. However, he is one of the stars of the show in Rain Man. Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman play the estranged Babbitt brothers, the latter of whom has severe autism. Hoffman’s performance is one of the best I have ever seen and his portrayal of Raymond is enough to make grown men cry. You have been warned.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Nick Deal and Jakob Lewis Barnes.

Watch This Space: August 24 – 30

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

With high ratings across the board (8.4 on IMDb, 89% on Rotten Tomatoes), ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is already proving to be an even bigger success than we anticipated. Fans of N.W.A and those simply intrigued by their story will love this musical biopic.

Conversely, ‘Hitman: Agent 47’ is really struggling over in the USA (29 on Metascore and a lowly 7% on Rotten Tomatoes). It’s no real surprise that another video game adaptation has crashed and burned, but before you chuck this on the scrap heap, have a read of our review.

ON TELEVISION

Monday 18:50 GMT: We know how hard Mondays can be, and we don’t want to add more pain to your day, but if you feel strong enough, we highly recommend ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ on Film4. This heartbreaking story of the love between two sisters will almost definitely have you in tears. We apologise in advance.

Tuesday 16:40 GMT: The kids go back to school next week, so give them one last treat; get together and watch ‘Coraline’ on Film4. A beautifully made and very entertaining family film, but one which has a dark side too, nightmares could ensue for adults and children alike.

Thursday 19:00 GMT: Great actors and one of the best soundtracks EVER make ‘500 Days Of Summer’ a must see on Film4, whether this be your maiden viewing, or your 500th. A story about love, not to be confused with a love story, you’ll see just how important this distinction is.

Saturday 16:05 GMT: The weekend is here! Go on a delightful adventure with ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’ on ITV. This 70s classic will thrill the whole family with its timeless tongue-in-cheek humour and fantastical story.

Sunday 17:30 GMT: Another 70s classic, albeit of a very different nature. See the Man of Steel’s big screen debut with ‘Superman’ on Channel 5. Henry Cavill will have to pull something pretty special out of the bag to top this next year.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

The Departed: We think that with just over a month until the release of ‘The Martian’, now is a good time to get excited for the latest offering from Matt Damon. Our favourite Damon project to date? Martin Scorsese’s twisted crime-thriller ‘The Departed’ of course. Hailed by many as one of the greats of modern cinema, we are inclined to agree. This film, which also stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson, will enthral and shock you right to the very last scene. They don’t come much more “must-see” than this.

Filth: With the release of the first ‘Victor Frankenstein’ trailer last week, it would be easy choice to plump for a ‘Harry Potter’ marathon. Instead, challenge yourself with the gritty, in your face, Brit-flick ‘Filth’. From the team behind the classic ‘Trainspotting’, see James McAvoy play the bad cop-really bad cop role in this utterly mad production.

Star Trek: Chris Pine celebrates his birthday on Wednesday, turning 34. Nothing on his CV gleams as brightly as the successful reboot of the ‘Star Trek’ franchise – soon to become a trilogy – of which the first installment is a fantastic example of sci-fi film making. Pine leads a cast which includes Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg and Zoe Saldana, into the final frontier for an epic battle which will live long in the memory, and may even prosper!

Boyz N The Hood: As mentioned before, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is the headline act at the box-office right now. In that vein, we politely push you in the direction of this 90s cult classic. With similar themes of tough neighbourhoods and even tougher social oppression, ‘Boyz N The Hood’ is a gripping and action-packed film, addressing issues which, sadly, are just as poignant more than two decades on.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes 

Chris Pine Lands Wonder Woman Role

Hollywood heartthrob Chris Pine has landed himself a role in the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie set for release in 2017. Whilst he may not be my type, Pine’s guy-candy reputation has come good again as he is set to play Steve Trevor, love interest to the titular heroine.

It has been a long-running rumour that Pine would be picked for the role, but it was today confirmed that he will partner Gal Gadot in her solo movie. This will be the first female led superhero movie from DC since the infamous ‘Catwoman’ of 2004. We expect much better from this offering, and the inclusion of the ‘Star Trek’ actor can only be a good thing.

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Watch This Space: June 1 – June 7

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

This week sees the release of ‘Insidious 3’. The franchise has been received with somewhat muted applause from critics and the films have become incredibly popular with audiences. An early June release does not seem a traditional date for a horror film, where Halloween would seem more appropriate, but we have no doubt screens will be sold out everywhere for this latest instalment.

On the other end of the spectrum we have a new Melissa McCarthy film in ‘Spy’. Whether you’re a fan of her work or not, there is enough star power here to make the film worth a watch. Early reviews are good, and with actors such as Jude Law, Jason Statham and even Miranda Hart popping up this promises to add some humour to the spy genre.

ON TELEVISION

Tuesday 23:05 GMT: Is Daniel Craig the best Bond ever? Evidence for that argument doesn’t come much stronger than his performance in ‘Skyfall’. Catch 007’s last outing, just in time for the release of ‘Spectre’, on ITV2.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: Another rom-com? Or worse, a chick-flick? Absolutely not! Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy (there she is again) star in the side-splittingly hilarious Bridesmaids’ on Film4. Comedy at it’s best!

Saturday 15:05 GMT: This one comes as a strongly endorsed recommendation from my 5 year old daughter; weird and wonderful animated fun with ‘A Monster In Paris’ on Film4. The harshest little critic I know ranks this one very highly.

Saturday 18:30 GMT: From stylish monsters to something a little more realistic; fighting aliens in space! Catch the first of the latest ‘Star Trek’ franchise, again on trusty old Film4.

Sunday 21:00 GMT: I remember watching this back when it came out. A fantastic film and a great book too, Billy Elliot’ is a proper Northern drama set against the backrdrop of Thatcher’s Britain. A must-see on BBC4.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

The Damned United: With the news of FIFA officials being indicted on corruption charges, the game of football has never been brought into disrepute in such a way. Now might be a good time to watch a movie which reminds you of what the beautiful game is really about. Featuring a blistering and committed performance from Michael Sheen, this is a fine feature debut for director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables).

The Class Of ’92: Another film that reminds us just how beautiful the beautiful game really is, ‘The Class of ’92’ chronicles the success of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and the rest of Manchester United’s modern heroes. The documentary is both moving and revealing, with plenty of honest interviews. Any football fan will relish reliving those spectacular closing moments of the 1999 Champions League Final.

Rush: The big news out of Disney this week was not particularly positive. Not least for Olivia Wilde, who is out of a job after the studio scrapped plans for a sequel in the ‘Tron’ series. However, what a good excuse to dig out this fascinating biopic, documenting the rivalry of F1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, in which Wilde plays Chris Hemsworth’s love interest.

Bigfoot And The Hendersons: A film I absolutely loved as a child, and one which I myself will be digging out this week to relive some of the finest work of Rick Baker. The Oscar-winning make-up artist retired from film this week and nothing shows off his work better than the 8ft tall sasquatch. This is a fantastically odd family film littered with old school humour.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Chris Winterbottom

Idris Elba To Play Star Trek Villain

At the end of last week, the Trekkie rumour mill went into overdrive as word spread that Idris Elba was being lined up to play the villain in next year’s third instalment of the Star Trek franchise. As fans got excited by this news, the guessing game began as to just which bad guy Elba might portray. Naturally, the possibility of a Klingon appearance had tongues wagging, but now co-writer for the latest film Simon Pegg has quashed these rumours.

Pegg claimed that whilst the Klingons may finally take centre stage, Idris Elba would not be taking on such a role. This is the same Simon Pegg who said that Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan would not be a villain in the previous film, so forgive us for not abandoning all hope just yet. Star Trek 3 is set for release early July 2016.

 
Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes

 

Simon Pegg To Join Writing Team For Star Trek 3

Star Trek actor Simon Pegg has taken up the position of co-writer for the third instalment of the series, it was revealed early this morning. Pegg will work alongside fellow writer Doug Jung for the upcoming sequel as well as reprising his role as Scotty. Read more here.