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A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box for Sunday 25 March 2018

On a big Sunday for the big screen, BC on TV sends you to MovieTowne and the Digicel Gemstone.

Today’s Number One Film:

Black Panther, almost hourly, 2- & 3-D versions, check MovieTowne website. Watch this if you liked Skyfall, Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Doctor Strange. Many very intelligent people dismiss comic book and/or superhero movies out of hand and it’s difficult to persuade them they’re wrong; Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther may be the strongest argument so far made to convince them. You would expect great things of the young director whose first feature film was the gut-wrenching realist Fruitvale Station, particularly when he followed it up by making the best – and only genuinely good – Rocky movie in Creed; but, even with those first two geometrically progressing leaps, no one could have predicted he would have sprang forward so far on the last leg of his triple jump that he’d be out of the sandbox entirely when he landed, on his feet, running. A near perfectly made film – so far as purists allow that “superhero” films can be perfectly made -does everything an action film ought and many things the best art films fail to. Two-and-a-half hours flash by and you leave the cinema pumping your fist and proud to be human. A real treat for the whole family, despite the PG-13 rating – and a film good enough for you to go and see first and take your (older) kids to the second time. The cinematography, by Rachel Morrison, is outstanding. The soundtrack, with original songs from Kendrik Lamar, is also smoking. The only real mistake you could make is to watch it at home. If ever there were a big screen movie, this is it. Directed by Ryan Coogler/ 2018/ USA / Action-Drama-Superhero-Thriller/ 150 mins/ Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action violence and a brief rude gesture.

Also watch:

Red Sparrow, 3.45 & 9.15pm Gemstone VIP Cinema One Wooodbrook Place. Watch this if you liked Bridge of Spies, Eastern Promises or Zero Dark Thirty. Red Sparrow received mixed reviews from critics for good reasons: an intelligent spy thriller, it nevertheless opts to present itself as being set in Russia by having its cast of entirely English-speaking actors fake “Russian” accents. The disturbing violence, which, from the first spark, on the ballet stage, is done unflinchingly well, starts out as not being at all gratuitous – but then goes on for long enough to ground the criticism that they start to stray in that direction. Nor is any Russian likely to be thrilled by the film’s view of their country. The script, too, may take one too many a turn, resulting, ultimately, in a kind of Syriana – “Uh?” – rather than a Usual Suspects’ “Wow!” That all being said, there is still far too much that is very, very good in Red Sparrow to drag the whole thing down and it remains a film – like all of the best ones – that demands to be seen on a big screen. Jennifer Lawrence is amazingly good – despite the accent – and her nude scenes are so very well done that the viewer sees, and stays on, riveted, her face. The performances are uniformly strong, even if Jeremy Irons fares better than Charlotte Rampling, who deserved a little more in her role than the director elicited. A very rewarding film, overall, if you can get past the accents. Directed by Francis Lawrence/ 2018/ USA / Drama-Mystery-Thriller/ 140 mins/ Rated R for strong, bloody violence, torture, sexual content and some graphic nudity.

*Hell or High Water, 9.25am HBO Caribbean & 3.41pm HBO2 BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked No Country for Old Men, Sicario or the German crime thriller The Silence. The Scottish director of Starred Up’s Western crime drama was nominated for Best Screenplay Oscar, BAFTA & Golden Globe and Best Picture and Actor Oscar & Golden Globe – and the only wonder is why BAFTA limited it so severely. Jeff Bridges in the lead may never have had – or played – a better part. The story is perhaps not the most original but its near-perfect screenplay, Mackenzie’s superb direction, the immaculate pacing and cinematography that makes a lead character of Texas itself transform what might have been a straightforward story into a masterful film. Reminiscent of, but very different from, No Country for Old Men, this is a film – and a director – in a class of its own. Unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended. Directed by David Mackenzie (2016/ USA/ Western-Crime-Drama-Thriller/ 102 mins/ Rated R for some strong violence, language throughout and brief sexuality.

Just Nosed Out:

***Get Out, 7.10pm HBOC; **Pleasantville (indy fantasy drama), 1.50pm MaxU; *The Breakfast Club (cult young adult), 7.20pm MaxU; *Final Destination 2 (horror), 1.25pm HBOP; Killshot (crime drama), 5.50pm Prmt; The Girl on the Train (thriller), 8pm Max.

Also Ran:

Action/Adventure: Snatch (Guy Ritchie crime thriller), 4.50pm TCM.

Animated/Family: Shrek Forever After, 2.20pm FoxFam.

Arthouse/Independent/Cult: The Squid & the Whale, 12.55 midday ISat.

Classic: *The Truman Show (drama), 1.50pm MaxU.

Comedy: *Keanu (action), 6.30pm Max.

Documentary: Loving (docudrama), 5.55pm Max.

Drama: *Manchester by the Sea, 10.33am HBOS.

Horror: Insidious, 9.55am HBOP.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: Forrest Gump, 10.15am CnCl.

Thriller: The Shallows (creature horror), 2.35pm HBO.

War: Kelly’s Heroes, 10.22am TCM.

Western: Big Jake (John Wayne), 9pm 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.