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

Athlete To Actor

Written by Dalton Brown
Edited by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Let me start off by saying this, I’m not a fan of sports. Shocking, I know. It’s just that I could never get too excited about them, no matter how hard I tried. That’s not to say I’m completely oblivious when it comes to sports. I know of a few athletes, but the few I do know of are not because I’ve seen them play, but because I have seen them act. Pretty poorly, I might add. Whilst most athletes would probably be better off sticking to their day job, there are a select few that are actually decent actors too.

San Andreas

One actor that immediately pops into my mind – who is arguably a better actor than he was an athlete – is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. For those of you that don’t know, he was once a professional wrestler. Yeah, wrestling is a sport. Now he’s an actor. I’m pretty ambivalent when it comes to this guy, but when he’s given the right role he’s golden! For example: I thought his character in the movie ‘Doom’ was awful, while his character in the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise is actually quite enjoyable. Last year, Johnson starred in the surprisingly entertaining disaster movie ‘San Andreas’, and with plenty of projects coming up, including work on a ‘Baywatch’ reboot, The Rock is cooking up quite the acting career these days. 

Following in Dwayne Johnson’s footsteps is former wrestler Dave Bautista. After playing the role of Drax the Destroyer in the hugely popular ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, Bautista nabbed a role in the latest Bond movie, ‘Spectre’, as brutish henchman Mr. Hinx. Whilst this was a role with very little dialogue, the big guy did what he does best; look tough and smash shit up. We look forward to seeing Bautista stepping in front of the cameras again for the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ sequel in 2017, and hopefully plenty more projects in the future.

Drax the Destroyer

Arnold Schwarzenegger is another athlete turned movie star. He was once a professional bodybuilder, before he turned into a Terminator. Recently, the Austrian muscle man has joined the ‘Expendables’ franchise. He’s also been in some pretty shoddy productions like ‘Escape Plan’ and ‘Sabotage’. Although he’s been in a lot of movies, he is – and probably always will be – most famous for the ‘Terminator’ franchise. My point being, he’s sort of a one-hit wonder. He was in one great movie, ‘Terminator’, and then it just sort of stumbled downhill from there. Even the latest sequel in that franchise, ‘Terminator Genisys’, was damn awful. 

Then there’s Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players to ever grace the court, who decided to play himself in a movie called ‘Space Jam’. Luckily for Jordan, he had the likes of Bugs Bunny and Bill Murray to save his ass, as his acting skills are far from world class. Michael Jordan then, is a perfect example of what not to be; a man who managed to roll his Hollywood debut and farewell into one film, thanks to cheesy, uncomfortable acting. The latest basketball king however, LeBron James, has recently found success in front of the camera in last year’s comedy hit ‘Trainwreck’. The Amy Schumer production gave LeBron the chance to allow his theatrical side to flourish, and boy did he deliver, surprising us all with his comedic talents.

TRAINWRECK

We are seeing more and more athletes taking on these cameo roles, mainly in comedies where they play themselves. Last summer, Ronda Rousey popped up in the ‘Entourage’ movie, and to be honest she was terrible. But at the time, she was one of the biggest sports stars in the world so we forgave her. Hell, the world even let her dream of playing Captain Marvel. That is, until she got her head kicked in by Holly Holm and now we don’t really trust her to be a superhero. Maybe Holly could suit up and save the world instead?

In conclusion, there are plenty of athletes who have tried acting, but only a handful have managed to reinvent themselves successfully. Dwayne Johnson has cemented himself as one of Hollywood’s top action heroes at present, and he certainly earns enough money to suggest he’s doing a good job. Everybody loves Schwarzenegger too, despite the long line of shit movies he’s performed in on the back of the success of ‘The Terminator’ in 1984 (yes it’s been that long since he actually did anything credible). More often than not, this transition from athlete to actor is probably going to be an epic fail, but we hope they keep trying. Team talk time for all you sports stars with dreams of the red carpet: just be yourself and don’t be afraid to fail, you will get that knockout eventually. Or that three-pointer. Or whatever sports metaphor is appropriate here.

Can you think of a sports star who would make a great actor? Or maybe one who wouldn’t be so great, but who would be fun to watch trying? Let us know!