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28/07/2021

17 films on TV this week to put a bit of pep in your step

16 films on TV this week to help you ignore that darkening sky

Ronan O'Meara gives his picks of movies on TV over the next week

It's the weekend and Ronan O'Meara has been scouring the TV schedules to find movies to watch over the next seven days.

Here are 17 to choose from....enjoy!

The Driver: Saturday, Talking Pictures TV @ 21.35

The Driver is a king behind the wheel of his car making him indispensable to criminals. A detective is obsessed with catching him and turns to the underworld to set up a trap to catch him. Walter Hill's action thriller is a joy, a film that oozes style. There's not much going on under the bonnet but you'll like this film's sleek lines. It's so cool it doesn't even bother with character names. Ryan O'Neal, Isabelle Adjani and Bruce Dern all rock here.

Intolerable Cruelty: Saturday, TG4 @ 22.15

Miles is a scumbag divorce attorney who's the king of pre-nuptual agreements. Marilyn is a gold digger who likes her men rich. Their paths cross in court and they become mortal enemies. But this is a Coen Brothers film and in their world things always take a twisted turn. This comedy is quite family friendly by Coen standards but it's still entertaining as hell and George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Billy Bob Thornton and Edward Hermann all add to the fun. 

Happy Death Day: Saturday, Film4 @ 22.55

It's Tree's birthday and she's loving her college life. Until she's murdered. Then she wakes up again and has to relive her final day over and over again until she can change what's coming for her. This cross of Scream and Groundhog Day is an amusing watch. It's tame for a horror movie but there's plenty of well earned scares and a wicked sense of humour running throughout. Jessica Rothe and Ruby Modine as the leads both hit the spot.

Stardust: Sunday, ITV2 @ 18.30

In order to win the heart of the woman he loves Tristan Thorn sets off on an adventure into a magical realm to find a falling star. Pfft, easy peasy, nothing to it at all sure. Well apart from the witches and pirates after it too. Matthew Vaughn's 2007 comedy/adventure is an absolute peach and it's innate silliness is overruled by committed world building and a second to none cast that includes Charlie Cox, Robert De Niro, Michell Pfeiffer, Peter O'Toole, Claire Danes and many others.

Glassland: Monday, TG4 @ Midnight

John is a young Dublin taxi driver struggling with financial problems and a mother who is rapidly drinking herself to death. To earn money to help her he finds himself in a bad place. This 2014 film from Gerard Barrett is a tough, unsettling look at the darker sides society we never hear about. It's far from enjoyable but worth watching for some superb acting from Toni Collette, Jack Reynor and Will Poulter.

The Boxer: Monday, TG4 @ 22.35

A pugilist named Danny Flynn returns to a divided Belfast after a long time away and sets about rebuilding his life and his community. Sectarian hatred doesn't like change though. Jim Sheridan's drama is dark, grim stuff and a damning indictment of the troubles and the pointless chaos and hate caused by it all. Daniel Day Lewis as always disappears into his part and here he gets exceptional support from Emily Watson, Ken Stott and a detestable Gerard McSorley.

Reversal Of Fortune: Monday, TCM @ 23.10

Christmas has taken a nasty turn for Sunny Von Bülow after she falls into a diabetic coma after a festive party. A suspicious coma it seems and before long her husband Klaus is being accused of all manner of nastiness. But he do it? This darkly satirical look at the lifestyles of the rich and shameless is a brilliantly acted look at one of the most famous trials ever conducted. Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons both do wonderful work.

Naked: Monday, Film4 @ 23.20

Johnny's wandering the streets, accosting and ranting at anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path. He's manic, cynical, aggressive, egotistical. Will an encounter with him leave you better or worse? Mike Leigh's film might be 28 years old but it still packs the punch it had on it's controversial release in 1993. It's tough going but David Thewlis's turn in it is just magnetic. His Johnny is quite rotten but he'll really get under your skin.

Tales That Witness Madness: Tuesday, The Horror Channel @ 02.30

02.30 on a Tuesday morning. A mighty time for a portmanteau of horror. The link between four scary stories is a psychiatrist played by Donald Pleasance, who else, whose patients are all suffering from varying levels of psychosis. Could the terrors plaguing them be real? TTWM tempers it's scares with a nice subtle wit and a solid cast of seasoned actors including Kim Novak, Joan Collins and Charles Gray does worthwhile work.

Gravity: Tuesday, BBC One @ 20.35

Sandra Bullock finds herself in a rather precarious position when an accident in space leaves her all alone and she has to use all her ingenuity and technical know how to get home. The opening 10 minutes of this cosmic adventure will pin you to the wall. It is petrifying and depending on your constitution, quite nauseating too. An agreeable piece of science fiction fun and Sandra Bullock makes for a very believable lead.

The Lady From Shanghai: Wednesday, Great! Movies Classics @ 06.00

Film noir heaven from director Orson Welles. Rita Hayward is stunning as a woman using her wiles to entice a man into a scam involving her husband. A convoluted Hitchcockian tale but at the same time intensely watchable. Hayward is fantastic and the camera just loves her. Welles himself nails the male lead too. This one ends with a memorable climax that's been imitated in so many films that it will ring a bell the second you see it.

The Hate U Give: Wednesday,  Film4 @ 21.00

Starr and Khalil have been best friends forever and when a fateful encounter with cops on their way from a party changes her life forever she decides to take a stand. Against everything. The title of this film comes from a Tupac Shakur song and the film itself pulses with the raw power of his lyrics. It's a little simplistic in places but it's an important and horribly topical watch about the horrors facing black lives in white America. Amandla Stenberg is a first rate lead.

Wilde: Thursday, BBC Four @ 22.55

Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright extraordinaire is the toast of London, he's married the beautiful Constance Lloyd, life is good. Or so it seems. Until his secret life is exposed, a life that in Victorian London would ruin him. Stpehen Fry was born to play the title role of this broad, funny, sad, touching and intimate portrait of an Irish legend. Jude Law, Vanessa Regrave, Tom Wilkinson and many other famous British faces add to a fine watch.

Miss Sloane: Friday, RTÉ 2 @ 21.30

Elizabeth Sloane is a Washington DC lobbyist who's respected and feared in equal measure. While taking on the most important case of her career and she realises she's more vulnerable than she thinks. Jessica Chastain is excellent in this nuanced and dialogue driven look at the less visible side of the political world. Solid support from Alison Pill, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mark Strong rounds things off nicely.

A Simple Favour: Friday,  BBC One @ 22.35

Stephanie and Emily become friends when they meet at the school their kids go to. One day Emily goes missing and Stephanie tries to figure out what happened. This is loads of fun, a twisty, turny comedy thriller that never does exactly what you think it will & that's sprinkled with a little bit of what made Hitchcock's films so compelling. Anna Kendrick is a likable lead and Blake Lively is good value as the mystery woman.

Frozen: Friday, The Horror Channel @ 23.00

Three snowboarders wangle their way onto a ski lift in the hopes of getting a mountain run for free. It's the end of the day. The lift stops, suspending them in midair. No one knows they're there and it's getting cold. Very cold. There's not much in the way of plot here but that doesn't stop Frozen from being a genuinely effective and unsettling survival horror. Shawn Ashmore and Emma Bell are a decent pair of leads.

Shirley Valentine: Friday, RTÉ One @ 23.45

Shirley's had it up to *here* with her life. She's bored and her husband's a melt who expects her to be at his beck and call every day. When she gets a chance at a free holiday she jumps for it and in the space of a few weeks discovers a whole new side of herself. Pauline Collins is the star of this warm, humane slice of life and you'll love her and every decision she makes. Just ignore Tom Conti's Greek accent, I beg of you.

As always visit hamsandwichcinema.blogspot.com/ for more film and tv chat.

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