Saturday 13th, ITV2, 12.10pm
I expect most people have seen Babe and it is here more as a chance for me to talk about it rather than an insistence that you watch it. The fact is though that Babe has a real charm and innocence that is rare in contemporary family films. The gags and visuals might be a little obvious but they are done with such humour it is a very hard heart that is not won over.
The film is also an allegory for itself, no one expected the film to do so well commercially in the same way that no one would expect a piglet to be able to round up sheep at dog trials.
The similarly themed talking animals movie Charlotte’s Web is airing on Sunday 14th, Film4 at 2.50pm and is also recommended.
Two great films to watch with the children.
Saturday 13th, 5*, 3.15pm
The Matthew McCarthy classic from 1987. I loved this film at the time but it is very much of that time. It’s probably one to watch for nostalgic reasons only.
Starship sing on the soundtrack: “if the world runs out of lovers, we’ll still have each other.” and ive never really understood what that means. Does it mean that our love is so strong that it will survive the cataclysmic event that wiped out all of the worlds other lovers, or does it mean that all the lovers have gone but clearly you’re still around so I guess I’m stuck with you instead?
Saturday 13th, Film4, 4.50pm
Now this is an absolute classic. Released in 1972 and subsequently influential on lots of other sci-fi films like Star Wars, Star Trek and more recently Moon. It is slow and atmospheric but not as much so as 2001. I can’t guarantee other people will like it but you can make that decision for yourself.
Saturday 13th, ITV2, 6pm
There are a lot of eighties classics on this week. It is as though the schedulers want us to know there was more to the decade than Margaret Thatcher and nothing will bring back romanticised visions of that time more than ET.
Planet of the Apes
Saturday 13th, Film4, 6.40pm
The original Planet of the Apes is one of those films that you admire and revere if you know it but you write it off as old cheese if you don’t. It had all those sequels so it can’t be that good can it? Then there is the mediocre Tim Burton movie and now there is another remake which was good so I don’t need to go back to the original do I? Well frankly, yes you do because Planet of the Apes is an intelligent, imaginative, moving and well performed piece of science fiction.
The Black Dahlia
Sunday 14th, Channel 4, 00.40am
This is the one I am really pushing, it is my big recommendation for films on TV this week. Set the machine as it is on in the middle of the night (I guess they really don’t expect any one to actually watch TV when it is broadcast anymore).
The Black Dahlia is the adaptation of James Ellroy’s book on the real 1947 Black Dahlia murder case. It works very well as a companion piece to the film of Ellroy’s LA Confidential although it is a little more serious in its tone. Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett make a good pairing as the cop partners, the latter putting to rest memories of his involvement in Pearl Harbour. In the book Hartnett’s character is called ‘Bucky’ because of his oversized teeth but clearly they have dropped this physical feature with the pretty boy casting, despite keeping the name. Scarlett Johansson is also there as a great the femme fatale.
The Black Dahlia is a compelling, sometimes gruesome but very stylish crime drama with atmosphere to spare.
Three Men and a Baby
Sunday 14th, Film4, 4.40pm
Another film I enjoyed in 1987 but I have no idea if it will hold up now. I’m going to give it a go and see. It stars Ted Danson, Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg, the Matthew Perry, Bradley Cooper and Owen Wilson of their day.
The Shawshank Redemption
Sunday 14th, ITV2, 9pm
Where do I start with The Shawshank Redemption? It is simply one of the finest films ever made despite making very little money at the cinema on initial release. It has a uncompromised, unrushed narrative, up lifting and heart breaking by turns. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman have both never been better and it has one of the greatest endings ever put on celluloid.
Sunday 14th, Channel 4, 10pm
Juno is driven by character more than story. Ellen Page’s slang talking, precociously wise teenager, Micheal Cera’s dweeby charming nerd, Allison Janney and J.K Simmons enlightened, loyal parents, Jennifer Garner’s neurotic with an open heart and Jason Bateman’s frustrated man-child all brought together in a funny and moving tale of teenage pregnancy.
Tuesday 16th, Film4, 11.20pm
Blue Valentine is like two films cut together, one telling the cute story of a couple getting together and the other showing the same pair at a quite different point in their relationship. The performances are honest and the scenarios realistic and Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling are both totally brilliant. This comes just behind The Black Dahlia for film of the week but don’t watch it if you are in a shaky relationship.
Bend It Like Beckham
Wednesday 17th, BBC1, 11.05pm
Ceira Knightly is skeletal, boyish and a little wooden in this movie but it is an interesting stepping stone on her way to becoming one of the most beguiling and talented actresses to come out of the UK in recent years. I know that isn’t an opinion shared by everyone but it is one I would happily debate.
Bend It Like Beckham is a great slice of proper British Cinema charmingly showing us a vision of life in a multicultural, sometimes still chauvinistic and football obsessed nation. The film is a 12 and I am intending to sit down and watch it with my 11 year old daughter, especially as she is on the girl’s football team at school.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Friday 19th, ITV2, 11.50pm
You have to watch this one, it is just great fun. Robert Downey Jnr gives the best fourth wall breaking performance since Ferris Bueller and when I heard he had been cast in Iron Man I knew he would be great based on this movie. I also know that Iron Man 3 will be good because it is reuniting him with the director of this film; Shane Black.
Shane Black was the writer of buddy film classics such as Leathal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight and he brings that same expertise to the pairing of Downey Jnr’s petty crook and Val Kilmer’s private detective. The chemistry is great and the film is a little known gem.