Movies on the small screen worth staying in for
JOHN GORE, founder of StokeScreen Film Club, with his insightful round-up of the best films on TV in the coming week
First of all, thank you for the feedback for my TV guide. It seems that The Sapphires went down well. I thought it would. This week I include more from free-to-air channels and stuff on catch-up sites. Animation for adults is always a subject of some controversy. The temptation is to dismiss all animation as kids’ stuff. It ain’t. Tim Burton began his directing career as an animator with a still rather wonderful short called Vincent, about a boy who wanted to be Vincent Price. His dark and gothic imaginings then led him, in 1993, to make The Nightmare Before Christmas, a musical for Hallowe’en.
Then, in 2005, he made The Corpse Bride (ITV2, 17.40, Saturday, 25 April), in which a stellar cast of Brits voice a tale of accidental marriage in Victorian times. It will work with older children but the adults will enjoy its sly wit and knowing insights much more. On the subject of animation for adults, there is currently on All 4, My Life as a Courgette (Ma Vie de Courgette) which targets a younger audience and explores difficult issues of abuse and mental health for kids. It did not find its audience in cinemas but is a really thought provoking piece of work. Catch it while you can. Later, on Saturday is another neglected nugget in the shape of Love and Mercy, (BBC2, 22.15, Saturday, 25 April) a portrait of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, (played very well by John Cusack and Paul Dano) struggling with mental health issues aided by a less than principled psychiatrist (Paul Giamatti), and reflecting on the glory days. Clearly, the vibrations were not always good. On Sunday, Sony Movies is screening Closer (Sony Movies, 21.00, Sunday, 26 April). This is a taut psychological chamber piece with Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and local-lad-made-good, Clive Owen. This was the first film to persuade me that Owen had something special as an actor, and the film can get quite uncomfortable at times. You can also see another of Owen’s quirkier roles in The Croupier (streaming on All4). God’s Own Country (23.05, Film 4, Monday, 27 April) was the British cinema sensation of 2017; Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu find love on the farm in a more remote corner of Yorkshire. A gay love story with a migrant farm worker: plenty of diversity points being scored here but it also works as a compassionate and engaging piece of storytelling. It is also worth checking out The Beautiful Thing, on All 4, which is a tale of first love in the council estates of South East London with a joyful soundtrack by the Mamas and the Papas. You will never look at peppermint foot cream in the same way again!
Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Raines are entangled in a web of love and loyalty in the Second World War in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (Talking Pictures, 19.00, Tue, 28 April). The moral debates of this film are quite challenging but it also looks beautiful. This is a fine example of how Hitchcock uses objects prominently in the frame to tell the story. To my mind it’s one of his best. Oranges and Sunshine (BBC2, 23.20, Friday, 1 May) is the first cinema feature by Jim Loach (Ken’s son) about a social worker (Emily Watson) who shines a light on the child ‘mirgration’ scheme of the 1940s-60s when children born out of wedlock were sent to live in Australia. If you missed them at StokeScreen, you might like to catch up with Locke (Film 4, 01.25, Saturday, 2 May), and Monsoon Wedding (streaming on All 4). Here's one I've been trying to hunt down to show at StokeScreen, but to no avail - The Nile Hilton Incident, (on All 4). If you like Scandi Noir, I would heartily recommend this to you. Although set in Cairo with an Egyptian cast, it is directed by a Swede and displays all the dark, labyrinthine conspiracy of the northern tales but with better weather. For those of you seeking visual inspiration, All 4 has the Andy Goldsworthy documentary, Leaning into the Wind, a study of the man and his work as an environmental artist, and if you want a little latter-day Ealing mirth, they are also running Bill Forsyth’s evergreen Local Hero.
In normal times, StokeScreen Film Club shows great movies regularly at Coventry & North Warwickshire Sports Club. Find out more at www.stokescreen.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org