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 as we enter the first weekend of lockdown 3.0.
Hopefully you'll find something to hit the spot and maybe you'll even be introduced to a future favourite.
Skyscraper: Saturday, Channel 4 @ 9pm
Will's just got a job as a safety assessor in the tallest building in the world and you wouldn't believe what's about to happen him and his family on their first night there. Dwayne Johnson is the perfect headliner for this ludicrous slice of high concept action. Lie back, crack open a beer and let the fun wash over you, oh and don't even attempt to take it seriously. Neve Campbell plays his wife Sarah and thankfully gets to do more than just wait to be rescued.
The Lives Of Others: Saturday, TG4 @ 11pm
East Berlin. 1984. The Stasi are in power and wield that power strictly. Hauptmann Weisler is spying on a rival of the state and slowly becomes intertwined with his life and that of his family. Then he slowly starts to care. This 2007 German drama is just fantastic, a deeply humane watch about a strange time in European history. The acting from Ulrich Mühe, Sebastian Koch and Martina Gedeck is second to none.
Dead Man's Shoes: Saturday, Film4 @ 11.05pm
A man returns to his hometown to get revenge on the people who tormented his brother. Yes I know it sounds cliched as hell but this is film from Shane Meadows packs a serious wallop. Imagine if Emmerdale was crossed with a slasher film and then stained with a dollop of very black humour and some horribly realistic carnage. Paddy Considine is immense in this tense, nauseating, gripping and comical (in places) film.
Bonnie And Clyde: Saturday, RTÉ One @ 11.35pm
Bonnie's a waitress who gets whisked off her feet by a criminal called Clyde. Before long their exploits have them at the attention of police everywhere. Arthur Penn's crime classic may be 51 years old this year but it still has the power to shock in places. It's a blistering watch with career defining performances from Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Watch it to see the point old Hollywood gave way to the new.
The Seventh Veil: Sunday, Talking Pictures TV @ 10pm
A woman, once famed for her piano skills has seen her life take a tragic turn and now while suffering from amnesia has began to work with a psychiatrist to figure out the puzzle that is her past. This slowburn but rather compelling slice of English film noir is a well put together mystery that benefits from a trio of powerful turns from Ann Todd, Herbert Lom and a nasty James Mason.
The Dressmaker: Sunday, Channel 4 @ 11.40pm
To finish the weekend here's a different kind of revenge thriller. The strange, upsetting, surreal, funny and one of a kind tale of a woman returning to the small Australian town that spurned her and getting her own back. Kate Winslet is superb in the title role and pulls off an Oz accent that's pretty damn believable. Judy Davis as her mam is brilliant and Liam Hemsworth and Hugo Weaving do well in support.
Flying Blind: Monday, BBC1 @ 12.10am
No one messes with Frankie. She loves her job and doesn't suffer fools gladly. Her entire outlook on life changes when she meets Khalil. They fall for each other fast but his background and her job really do not mix. An interesting and well acted drama that will remind you of the erotic thrillers of the early 90's but with more intelligence and less...well you know. Helen McCrory does mighty work as the lead role & in a way that will help you get past the sillier sides of the story.
Blue Valentine: Monday, TG4 @ 9.30pm
A non linear tale about the birth and death of a relationship. Grim and upsetting viewing sprinkled with moments of levity and performances so real that you'll be totally absorbed. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams play the couple. Gosling is solid but Williams is stunning. As with nearly everything she acts in these days she's the best thing onscreen. You just can't take your eyes off her. A highly recommended downer of a watch.
Johnny Guitar: Tuesday, TCM @ 9.05am
Vienna owns the town saloon & maintains a love/hate relationship with the ranchers and railroad workers that frequent it. One day a false accusation brings all manner of trouble to her doorstep. A unique western, one of the first headlined by a woman and one that's kind of unusual and oddly poetic while still hitting all the beats you'd expect. Joan Crawford is an amazing lead and watch out for all those craggy genre faces like Ward Bond and Royal Dano in the background.
Destry Rides Again: Tuesday, Film4 @ 14.30
The cattle town of Bottleneck is a shifty spot and big man around town, Kent, thinks he runs the show. He didn't prepare for Tom Destry though. No one ever does. This is a gloriously entertaining slice of western escapism. James Stewart, as always, does master work but Marlene Dietrich as Frenchie the singer steals the show big time. If you like Blazing Saddles her character will seem very very familiar.
A Most Violent Year: Wednesday, Sony Movies @ 12.45am
The year is 1981. The New York City murder rate is through the roof. Abel Morales is a business owner trying and failing to protect his fuel company from theft. Something has got to give. This 2014 drama is a lot more low key than it's name suggests but it's a gripping watch that wears it's 70's cinema influences on it's sleeve with pride. Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain both do stellar work here.
The Exorcist III: Wednesday, The Horror Channel @ 9pm
Washington DC is being terrorised by a series of unsolved murders that are similar to the work of a dead man. An obsessed cop is on the trail and the clues are leading him to a psychiatric hospital where a strange patient is waiting. The 2nd sequel to the 1973 classic is a messy affair but it's a genuinely scary and unsettling watch too. Plus it has THE best jump scare of all time. George C. Scott and Brad Dourif are a wicked pair of leads.
Dog Day Afternoon: Thursday, TCM @ 1.35am
On a blisteringly hot day in Brooklyn a man called Sonny holds up a bank with the intention of using the stolen money for his partner's gender re-assignment surgery. His actions turn him into a bit of a star. Sidney Lumet's 1975 drama is still a stunner, a vital watch about a post war America grasping for any bit of optimism it could get. Al Pacino is a mindblowing lead and John Cazale's turn as his robber pal Sal is brilliantly tragic.
The Two Faces Of January: Friday, Channel 4 @ 1.50am
An experienced con artist working the streets of Athens finds himself up to his neck in hot water when he encounters a glamorous American couple seeing the sights. This 60's set but modern day take on Hitchcock is a diverting and sun drenched slice of intrigue and mystery. It mightn't live up to his standards but the willing cast of Oscar Isaac, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen do good work.
Pacific Heights: Friday, The Horror Channel @ 10.55pm
A couple buy a big beautiful house in San Francisco and struggle to pay for it so take in a lodger. It's the worst mistake they will ever make. 30 years later I still twitch when I see Michael Keaton onscreen because of this. It's a nerve-wracking warning about always vetting the people you let into the places you feel the safest. Matthew Modine and Melanie Griffith do well as the home owners but this film is Keaton's by a mile.
Young Adult: Friday, BBC1 @ 11.30pm
Mavis hasn't been home in a long long time but when her life goes awry she decides to go back to where it all started to see some old acquaintances. Mavis is a bit of a melt though. A strongly acted feel bad comedy drama about life's disappointments. It won't be for everyone but if you can stick with it there's plenty to enjoy. Charlize Theron is pitch perfect as the lead and Patton Oswalt and Patrick Wilson are solid back up.
Read more at hamsandwichcinema.blogspot.com/