Movie Guru Ronan O'Meara gives his picks of the week
Ronan O'Meara has been scouring the TV schedules (free-to-air channels only) to find films to watch over the next week – here are 16 to choose from.
Hopefully you'll find something to hit the spot and maybe you'll even be introduced to a future favourite.
Lucy - Saturday, E4 @ 9pm
While muling a mysterious drug shipment inside her stomach, a woman undergoes a drastic transformation when it leaks. Luc Besson directs Scarlet Johansson in this bonkers film that has a final 10 minutes which has to be seen to be believed. You'll either love it or hate it but you definitely haven't seen anything like it before. Johansson is solid as Lucy and Morgan Freeman & Min-Sik Choi are always a pleasure.
Essential Killing - Saturday, TG4 @ 11.20pm
Mohammed is on the run. He's a member of the Taliban who's been captured in Afghanistan and the yanks are transferring him to an eastern european blacksite for interrogation and fearing for his life he's gotten away. An unusual one, looking at a conflict from a point of view rarely seen and focusing on a character who'd be a faceless goon in a US production. Vincent Gallo does good work as the lead of a mature, gritty film.
Ginger & Rosa - Sunday, BBC2 @ 12.45am
London. The early 60's. Society is in upheaval and the spectre of the Cuba Missile Crisis is looming large. The two teenage girls of the title are loving life, living in each other's pockets. Until one day.... A complex, thoughtful coming of age drama from director Sally Potter that deviates from the usual teen dramas. Pristine work from Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Alice Englert and Alessandro Nivola.
Odette - Sunday, BBC2 @ 11.30am
The true story of Odette Sansom, one of the unsung heroes of World War 2. A French woman and mother who joined the SOE and learned spycraft and espionage before falling foul of the nazi war machine. A gripping and tension packed watch about a side of history rarely mentioned & led by an excellent Anna Neagle as Odette. Reliable old British faces such as Peter Ustinov and Trevor Howard are great back up.
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty - Sunday, Film4 @ 4.40pm
A chronic day dreamer trying to save his job finds himself on an adventure that tops anything even his wildest imagination could come up with. A delightful bit of family viewing, perfect for a sunday evening. Highly amusing, imaginative, exhilarating, lovely looking and ably led by Ben Stiller who for once is surprisingly likable. Nice support too from the always welcome Kristen Wiig and Kathryn Hahn.
A Matter of Life & Death - Monday, BBC2 @ 2.30pm
A WW2 fighter pilot jumps to his death from a burning plane but due to an administrative error in Heaven he gets a chance to argue for his life. This is, simply put, a outstanding film. Yeah, it sounds silly but in the hands of Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger it becomes a genuinely affecting piece of work. It's wondrous stuff, packed with imagination and superb acting from David Niven and Kim Hunter amongst others.
Jallikattu - Monday, Film4 @ 11.35pm
A butcher in a small Indian village finds himself in a lot of bother when a buffalo due for slaughter rears up and escapes during a ceremony. It causes chaos that soon spreads through the populace. A powerful, almost primal tale about the machinations existing beneath the surface of smalltown life. Dark, exciting, visceral and very unique. Chemban Vinod Jose & Santhy Balachandran both do mighty work.
The Life & Death Of Colonel Blimp - Tuesday, BBC2 @ 2.30pm
Clive Candy has had hell of a life and we get to bear witness to how it all plays out from the Boer War to WW2 and meet all the people who shaped him along the way. This Powell and Pressburger film from 1943 is masterful and more than transcends it's original purpose as wartime propaganda. A warm, witty, upsetting and layered story powered by impressive turns from Roger Livesey & Deborah Kerr times three. Yup (x) 3.
A Fistful Of Dynamite - Tuesday, ITV4 @ 11.45pm
During the revolution of 1910 an IRA member is recruited by a Mexican bandito to rob a bank but he has other ideas. Rod Steiger and James Coburn are loads of fun in this at times hilarious and gorgeous looking western from the master, Sergio Leone. It's quite different to his more well known films but its still really worth a go. A couple of scenes from this were filmed in Toner's on Baggot Street in Dublin. See if you spot them.
In The Heart Of The Sea - Tuesday, RTE2 @ 9.30pm
In 1820 a whaling ship was attacked and destroyed by the animal it was hunting. The story inspired Moby Dick but that famous tale was only half of what happened. This was a fine film but christ it's tough going. The gory details and harsh existences of the times are never soft pedaled but some first class turns from a cast that includes Brendan Gleeson, Chris Hemsworth and Cillian Murphy will keep you going.
Bridge Of Spies - Wednesday, More4 @ 9pm
Cold war intrigue abounds in this gripping drama from Steven Spielberg. An American lawyer hired to deal with a Russian spy finds himself sucked into a negotiation involving a downed U.S. pilot in a Berlin divided in two. Initially slow moving and confusing, but when it settles it turns into both a very entertaining movie and a decent history lesson. Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance and Amy Ryan are all on fantastic form.
Jihad Jane - Wednesday, RTÉ1 @ 9.35pm
Colleen LaRose and Jamie Paulin Ramirez were two American women who became involved with radical Islamic terrorists in the early part of this decade. The media demonised them but there was a lot more to their story than what we heard. A compelling documentary that humanises it's subjects while looking at the issues that attract lonely individuals to this way of life. Plus there's an Irish link to the story that proves fact is often stranger than fiction.
The Sessions - Thursday, C4 @ 2.50am
A man trapped in an iron lung feels he is missing out on living to his fullest so hires a therapist to help him out with one of life's most important rites of passage. Brave performances from Helen Hunt & John Hawkes fuel an affecting story. This is about a side of life with disability that most of us never have to think about. It's a frank film that's both uplifting and upsetting and you'll be glad you watched it.
Paradox - Thursday, Film4 @ 11.30pm
Pattaya in Thailand is a dark and sleazy place as Hong Kong cop Lee Chung Chi finds out when his teenage daughter is kidnapped while on holiday. So he does what all good fathers would do. A dark and violent thriller that will not be for everyone but it's worth sticking with for some blisteringly well choreographed fight scenes. Think Film Noir crossed with South East Asian cinema and you're there. Louis Koo is a solid lead.
The Mechanic - Friday, Syfy @ 9pm
Arthur's deadly at his job. Literally. When he's hired to do something he does it right. He's an assassin and people pick him because they know he's reliable. But his latest job is a complex one. Jason Statham's remake of the Charles Bronson thriller is a satisfying watch, muscular, bruising, brutal in places, exciting in others. The Stath does his usual thing but Ben Foster and Donald Sutherland add a touch of class to proceedings.
Zodiac - Friday, BBC1 @ 10.45pm
Someone is killing people in the bay area around San Francisco and three men become obsessed with finding out who. An obsession that became all consuming and unending. Forget Fight Club, this is David Fincher's masterpiece. A meticulously put together film full of darkness that still manages to find time for some much needed humour. Robert Downey Jr, Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo put in career best turns here.
Read more at hamsandwichcinema.blogspot.com/