A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box
For those who did not get in on the ground floor, AMC offers a marathon screening of The Walking Dead beginning with S01E01 @ 9am; hard to top for the zombie lovers. Like last week, crime-thriller lovers can enjoy a rare screening of A Perfect Murder, the very good Michael Douglas update of the Hitchcock classic Dial M for Murder, even if on a ‘lesser’ movie channel (6pm LMN). It’s THE-day at BC on TV, with the titles of all three picks starting with the definitive article.
Today’s Number One Film:
The Sixth Sense BEST FILM OF THE DAY, 11.58am/midday HBO Signature. Watch this if you liked The Others, The Shining or The Usual Suspects. One of the greatest endings in cinema fits one of the most original American horror films since Wes Craven’s groundbreaking A Nightmare on Elm Street. The whole thing stands up to repeated viewings but, if you’re lucky enough never to have seen it before, it is striking in its originality. A real treat but far spookier than its PG-13 rating suggests; expect very bad dreams for them if you let young ones watch it. The major criticism of M Night Shyamalan may very well be true: that every film he made since has been a step down from this, his first; but that does not take into account how very high he set his own benchmark. Directed by M Night Shyamalan/ 1999/ USA / Horror-Thriller-Mystery/ 107 mins/ PG-13 for intense thematic material and violent images.
The Big Lebowski, 9.50am Cinemax. Watch this if you liked Fargo, Being John Malkovich or Kingpin. This canter into Chandler territory is as atomospheric as Fargo, as compelling as The Man Who Wasn’t There, and funnier than most Coen Bros (even if, in the end, just not as good as Miller’s Crossing). Hugely stylish, deadpan hilarious and with every male performance a contender for best in the film, including the winner, Jeff Bridges in the title role, John Goodman’s psycho, Steve Buscemi’s idiot and what on paper was a minor role in John Turturro’s Hispanic oaf. A deep and satisfying treat for the genuine cinefile. Directed by the Coen Bros/ 1998/ USA-UK/ Film Noir-Crime- Black Comedy/ 117 mins/ R for pervasive strong language, drug content, sexuality and brief violence.
The Evil Dead, 1.24pm HBO Plus. Watch this if you liked The Cabin in the Woods, Halloween or the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Sam Raimi’s groundbreaking horror more than made up with atmosphere, intensity, macabre humor and sheer firetrucking enthusiasm for anything it might have lacked in budget. By today’s excessive standards, it’s almost tame – well, most of it: that tree scene still upsets, disgusts and distresses – but, in the early 1980s, at the height of the Mary Whitehouse-led English ‘video nasty’ scare, Evil Dead caused the censors massive problems; the original version was released uncut only in 2001! All the fuss over the violence overshadowed the simple scariness of the movie. Very many horror films copied it directly but no one, to date, has imitated it as well. A horror film that is also a film school film and the kind of masterful balance between tongue-in-cheek and pencil-in-the-leg (or chainsaw-in-the-shower) that Brian De Palma wished he could have achieved in Scarface. Directed by Sam Raimi/ 1981/ USA/ Horror/ 85 mins/ Rated NC-17 for strong substantial graphic horror violence and gore.
Just Nosed Out:
***Once Upon a Time in the West (Western), 8pm FoxClas; ***Slumdog Millionaire (Drama-Thriller), 1.30pm Prmt; **Paddington (Adventure-Animated-Family), 5.28pm HBOF; **Mad Max: Fury Road (Action-Sci-fi-Thriller), 4.52pm HBO; *The Hangover (Stoner Comedy), 5.55pm MaxP; American Gangster (Crime-Drama-Thriller), 9.45am MaxP; *500 Days of Summer (Rom-Com), 1.30pm FoxCom; *E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (Family-Sci-fi), 10am Edge; Beavis & Butthead Do America (Stoner Comedy), 10.30am Film.
Action/Adventure: Deadpool (Superhero), 1.25pm FoxCom The New World, 1.49pm HBOS.
Arthouse/Independent: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, 5.05pm Sund.
Biography/Documentary: Straight Outta Compton (Music), 2.45pm MaxP.
Comedy: Zoolander (Ben Stiller Stoner Comedy), 3.05pm FoxCom.
Family/Animated: Bridge to Terabithia (Fantasy), 1.25pm Film.
Drama: Trumbo (Bio-History), 12.45 midday Max.
Horror: *The Shallows (Action-Creature Horror), 9pm MaxP.
Sci-fi/Fantasy: *Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt I (Horror), 1.30pm HBOP.
Thriller: *Training Day (Action-Crime), 8.27am HBOS.
War: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Comedy), 11.45am FoxCom.
Western: *Pale Rider (Clint Eastwood), 1.55pm TCM.
*Starred films have been picked before. **Double-starred films have been picked in the last two months. ***Triple-starred films were picked last week.
Particularly strong Also Ran films are bolded.
Please verify times. Advance Internet scheduled times can be wrong, especially at month-end