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21 Jan 2022

Eighteen movies to watch on TV between now and Christmas

17 films on TV this week that you need to watch

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

With just a week to go to Christmas Day, Ronan O'Meara has been scouring the TV schedules to find movies to watch over the festive season...starting tonight.

Here are a whopping 18 to choose from....

The Wolfman: Saturday, The Horror Channel @ 9pm

In the late 19th century a man returned home to the manor that bore him to investigate his brother's death at the hands of a wild animal. The title kinda gives away the jist of Joe Johnston's 2010 adaption of the famous horror story and while it may have been a box office bomb and not well received on release it is actually very enjoyable and surprisingly grisly for a Hollywood movie. Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving and Anthony Hopkins all lay on the cheese thick here.

Desperately Seeking Susan: Saturday, BBC2 @ 11.05pm

Roberta is living her worst life in New Jersey and to stave off the boredom she travels into New York to spy on a meeting between two people who's interactions she's noticed in a personal ad in the local paper. Things get.......wild. Madonna's film debut is a funny, exciting and invigorating love letter to New York City and the chemistry between her and Rosanna Arquette could power a small village.

The Color Of Money: Sunday, Talking Pictures TV @ 1.20am

Pool hustling legend Fast Eddie Felson is getting long in the tooth when he discovers a pool player named Vincent who's skill and confidence reminds him of someone he used to be a long time ago. They team up to make money. But are they too alike?  Martin Scorsese's 1986 follow up to The Hustler is a fine film, carried by a trio of pitch perfect performances from Paul Newman, Tom Cruise and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The one-take pool scene scored by a famous Warren Zevon song just rocks.

Dora And The Lost City of Gold: Sunday, Film4 @ 2.50pm

A childhood spent exploring jungles and ancient ruins comes in handy for Dora when her parents go missing while investigating Incan ruins. Now her and her friends need to take care of business. This adaption of the children's TV show is an pleasing watch for all the family, like a junior Indiana Jones but without the violence and horror. Isabela Merced is a delightful lead and Eva Longoria and Michael Peña enjoy themselves as her parents.

Panic Room: Sunday, Great! Movies @ 9pm 

A woman and her daughter find themselves trapped in their panic room during a home invasion. And what the invaders want is in the room with them. Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart are excellent in David Fincher's little cracker of a thriller. It's a simple but fiercely effective film, scary, fast moving and with a little touch of humour here and there. Forest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakam have a good time as the villains of the piece.

Inglourious Basterds: Sunday,  RTÉ 2 @ 9pm

A ragtag group of killers is put together to rip apart the nazi war machine. Tarantino's war epic is one that is bafflingly overlooked and easily his best work after Jackie Brown & Reservoir Dogs. Uproarious, satisfying, horrifying in places, hysterical in others and with an opening scene that's up there with the best ever. Brad Pitt is a decent lead but Christoph Waltz steals the entire film as a baddie you'll love to hate.

Closer: Monday, Great! Movies @ 9pm

Anna and Jane, two Americans in London. Dan and Larry, two Londoners who's lives intertwine with theirs. Secrets are kept, trust is shattered irrevocably and rotten life lessons are learned. Patrick Marber's screen adaption of his own play is a cutting, coruscating look at the horrible things people are capable of doing to each other and it is as far from the romcom's Julia Roberts is known for as is humanly possible. She does wicked work here alongside Natalie Portman, Jude Law and a vicious Clive Owen.

King Of Thieves: Monday, BBC One @ 10.35pm

In 2015 the Hatton Garden safe deposit was robbed of over 14 million pounds in cash and jewellery. The heist was carried out by six thieves with nearly 350 years of experience between them. Yes, you heard that right. An all star cast that includes Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, Charlie Cox, Michael Gambon and a very against type Jim Broadbent ensure that a story you've seen a hundred times before barrels along in a witty fashion.

Happy-Go-Lucky: Tuesday, Film4 @ 1.30am

Poppy is the happiest person you'll ever meet. She loves her job and her North London existence. She even loves the driving lessons she's getting from Scott, the angriest man in Britain. Mike Leigh's 2008 slice of life movie is a great watch, buoyed by a pair of stunning performances from two of the UK's best actors. Eddie Marsan's a frighteningly believable ball of rage and Sally Hawkin's Poppy turns a one note character into someone rather special.

Saving Mr Banks: Tuesday, BBC One @ 2.45pm

P.L. Traver's, the author of Mary Poppins, is not happy about Walt Disney wanting to adapt her book to film and Walt himself must pull out all the stops to get her to agree. "Based on fact" it's a charming and funny watch that may surprise you in places with it's twists and turns. Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks and Colin Farrell are all admirable in a film that will give you a new found appreciation of a Christmas fave.

Dating Amber: Tuesday, RTÉ 2 @ 9.35pm

Amber and Eddie are in the throes of young love. At least that's what they want their friends and family to think. Both are gay and in Ireland in 1995 a teenager being out was always going to get them grief in school. David Freyne's 2019 comedy drama is an affecting, poignant and in places side splitting story about the pain of growing up when you think you're different. Lola Petticrew, Fionn O'Shea, Barry Ward and Sharon Horgan all hit the spot.

Pete's Dragon: Wednesday, BBC One @ 3.05pm

Pete's a young boy. He has a friend called Elliot. Elliot kept Pete alive during a tough time. Elliot's a dragon but nobody will believe it. Until the day.... Robert Redford's live action remake of the 1970's cartoon is an absolute pleasure, tender, touching, upsetting and funny in equal measure. A family film that won't insult your kid's intelligence. Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley and Redford himself will make you wish flying reptiles were real.

I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle: Thursday, Talking Pictures TV @ 12.05am (midnight)

Noddy's bought himself a classic motorbike and he sets about restoring it not realising that he has purchased evil on wheels, a bike possessed by the spirit of an occultist who was murdered by a biker gang. It wants revenge and it runs on blood. Yes yes it sounds awful but it's actually an amusingly bloody and trashy slice of British hokum. Michael Elphick and Anthony Daniels star in a film that will offend some.

Mr Hobbs Takes A Vacation: Thursday, TG4 @ 10am

All he wanted was a quiet beach vacation but Roger's wife Peggy decided to invite everyone along. The fact that their holiday home is an absolute kip is another thing adding to his mounting headache. James Stewart was born to play parts like Mr Hobbs and the chemistry between him and Maureen O'Hara is just one of the many reasons to give this comedy from 1962 a go. Keep an eye out for genre stalwart John Saxon in an early role too.

Office Christmas Party: Thursday, RTÉ 2 @ 9pm

Carol and Clay are brother and sister and they work together too. She's also his boss and she's about to close his office branch. So he does the only thing he can do and  throws a massive Christmas party to impress a potential client. The most literally titled film of the decade is a solid slice of raunchy, drug fuelled madness that will make even the most miserable viewer laugh. Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon and a game Courtney B. Vance all add to the giggles.

Galaxy Quest: Christmas Eve, ITV4 @ 12.30pm (midday)

The cast of the Galaxy Quest TV show are sick to the teeth of their fans and the sci-fi conventions they have to deal with. Until they find themselves in a real life adventure caused by intergalactic confusion. One of the most underrated films of the 90's. A wonderfully written story about rabid fandom and holding on to old glory that manages to be hilarious, exciting and in places genuinely affecting. Sigourney Weaver, Tim Allen and a sublime Alan Rickman all work their magic here.

Rita, Sue And Bob Too: Christmas Eve, Talking Pictures TV @ 9.05pm

Bob cannot believe his luck. He's somehow fallen in a menage-a-trois relationship with the two young women who babysit the children he has with his wife Michelle. Imagine if Ken Loach directed a Carry on film and you'll have some idea of what to expect from a story of desperate people clinging to scraps of happiness during the Thatcher years. Siobhan Finneran, Michelle Holmes and George Costigan work well together. Heh!

Upgrade: Christmas Eve, Film4 @ 23.45

Grey's in a bad way. An accident has ruined his life and left him a quadraplegic. But some ultra modern technology is about to give him his body back. Along with a whole host of other skills too. From 2018 comes a darkly diverting and extremely violent slice of escapism that's packed with bonkers fight scenes and some rather dark themes and ideas. Logan Marshall-Green has a whale of a time in the lead role.

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

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