A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box for 19 November 2017
Today’s Number One Film:
The Omen, 8.10am, Fox Classics. Watch this if you liked The Exorcist, The Shining or Rosemary’s Baby. The less said about the plot, the more the viewer will enjoy this creepy horror using Biblical prophecies about the rise of the Anti-Christ as its base and huge atmosphere all the way to its summit. Immaculate pacing keeps the viewer on the edge throughout a series of unsettling events and memorably chilling images, with the very last frame being a contender for the best ever shot in all cinema. Horror movies rarely get better than this, particularly in the “supernatural” sub-genre. Unless you believe in Heaven and Hell and the Devil and all the other horse manure, it probably won’t change your life – but it is likely to change your opinion of horror movies and will certainly accelerate your heart rate. Directed by Richard Donner/ 1976/ UK-USA/ Horror/ 101 mins/ Rated R.
*Mad Max: Fury Road, 3.51pm HBO Plus. Watch this if you liked any of the other Mad Max, Terminator or Star Wars movies. The Mad Max film franchise may be the best of them all and is certainly the one that has improved the most. Closer to four than three decades on, the director who created the original (meaning both ‘first’ and ‘groundbreaking’) upstart action movie (and one of the great cult films of all time, anywhere) has the expertise, technology and budget to perfect his fuel-starved, post-nuclear Apocalypse other-world – and to fill it with highly memorable characters and moments. He also managed to get rid of the one thing that dragged the whole exercise down: the loutish anti-Semite, Mel Gibson. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in the lead roles replace the old bigot, allowing the greatest car movie of all time to finally fire on all cylinders. If you don’t cheer when the guitar man starts rocking out, you need to have your imagination realigned. Directed by George Miller/ 2015/ Action-Sci-fi-Thriller/ 120 mins/ Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout and for disturbing images.Made in Dagenham (Nigel Cole/ 2010/ UK/ Biography-Comedy-Drama/ 113 mins/ Rated R for language and brief sexuality), 5.10pm Friday, Cinemax. Watch this if you liked The Damned United, Charlie Wilson’s War or The King’s Speech. One of cable/DirecTV’s hidden gems, the dramatization of the true story of the 1968 strike at Ford Motors Dagenham plant in England scans like backward science fiction today: was there really a time when underpaid, exploited workers could stand up for themselves? The story of the great personal cost of the gaining of women’s rights at the plant is very well told. Add an excellent performance from Sally Hawkins in the lead and strong support from Bob Hoskins and the least appealing of all sub-genres, “edu-tainment”, which, in an ideal world, would have been put down at birth, becomes worthy of celebration.
Matchstick Men, 12.45 midday MaxPrime. Watch this if you liked Lord of War, Paper Moon or Catch Me If You Can. Despite having the wooden Nicholas Cage in the lead, Ridley Scott’s funny crime drama is a real treat. A good script, with some nice twists and more than a few laughs, is deftly handled by one of Hollyood’s best directors. Not life-changing, perhaps, but deeply satisfying, indeed even rewarding. Directed by Ridley Scott/ 2003/ USA/ Comedy-Crime-Drama-Thriller / 116 mins/ PG-13 for thematic elements, violence, some sexual content and language.
Just Nosed Out:
**The Revenant (Western), 1.35pm FoxAct; Landfill Harmonic (Documentary-Music), 8.14am HBOC; The Man Who Would Be King (Historical Drama), 1.45pm FoxClas; *Mad Max: Fury Road (Action-Sci-fi-Thriller), 3.51pm HBOP; *Doctor Strange (Action-Superhero), 3.35pm HBOC;
Action/Adventure: Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom, 11.50am FoxClas.
Animated/Family: How to Train Your Dragon, 2.50pm FoxFam.
Arthouse/Independent: The Danish Girl (Biodrama-LGBT), 2pm Max.
Biography/Documentary: American Sniper (Action-Docudrama), 2.45pm Max;
Comedy: Ted (Animated-Stoner), 5.40pm FoxCom.
Drama: You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (Woody Allen Comedy), 10.20am Max.
Foreign: Mustang (Turkish Coming of Age Drama), 9pm FoxCin; Les Intouchables (Tragicomic Biodrama), 8.06pm Edge.
Horror: Unbreakable (M Night Shyamalan), 5.31pm TCM.
Sci-fi/Fantasy: The Adjustment Bureau, 10.30am FoxMov.
Thriller: **The Illusionist (Fantasy), 8.52am Max.
Western: Rio Grande (John Wayne), 10.05am FoxClas.
*Starred films have been picked in the last year.**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.