Music doc gets close and personal to tragic Amy
JOHN GORE, founder of StokeScreen Film Club, with his unmissable pick of the movies on TV in the week ahead.
Is it safe to come out yet? Can we have fun while keeping a safe distance from one another? a) Yes, but only in the open air; b) With certain politicians, there is no safe distance; c) You should wear a mask or other protection at all times. Meanwhile, here is a selection of things to explore in the comfort and privacy of your own home. There are a couple of good music docs this week which are worth watching or rewatching. Amy (C4, 22.00, Sat, 6 June) is Asif Kapadia’s heartbreaking portrait of Amy Winehouse. It gets up very close and very personal to an immense talent with self-destructive addictions and a poisonous parent whom Kapadia gives enough rope to hang himself. This is one of the great British docs of the century. Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars (BBC2, 21.15, Sat, 6 June) is also a portrait of an enormous talent with tragic flaws. This is a sympathetic portrayal of someone who has gone through drugs and alcohol hell and personal loss. It also addresses the infamous racist outburst in the 70s and allows EC to make some public amends. Whether or not you can forgive him that lapse will probably colour how you respond to the film. I think it is worth giving it a go. Later in the week, Almost Famous (Sony Movie Classics, 21.00, Fri, 12 June) is a beguiling tale of an aspiring music journalist travelling with fictional rock band Stillwater. Based on the experiences of writer/director Cameron Crowe, it is a moment in time viewed through fashionably rose tinted glasses. If you can remember that phase of music, clearly, you were not travelling on their tour bus. This is a film that would make its way on to a shortlist of things I would like to show at StokeScreen. The cavalcade of musicals on BBC 2 continues with Carousel (BBC2, 15.20, Sat, 6 June) and Guys and Dolls (BBC2, 15.50, Sun, 7 June). Classic of the week is John Huston’s The African Queen (Sony Movie Classics, 21.00, Sun, 7 June), a First World War adventure in which an alcoholic ship’s captain and a missionary (Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn – you can decide which is which) sacrifice the boat of the title to attack a German naval warship. Broad and brassy and shamefully funny Bridesmaids (ITV2, 21.00, Fri, 12 June) is a duel for popularity in the wedding party. Paul Feig’s most successful film transcended the mainstream market for which it was designed, partly due to some surprising performances from a very talented cast. On the subject of which, one of Jack Nicholson’s career defining performances can be seen in A Few Good Men (5Star, 21.00, Sun, 7 June) where he faces off against Tom Cruise in a military courtroom duel. I have never seen this but feel I should, especially as it is directed by Rob Reiner (when Harry Met Sally, This is Spinal Tap) and written by Aaron Sorkin in his pre-West Wing days.
There is a further interesting performance by Richard Gere in Sommersby (5 Select, 21.00, Sun, 7 June), a reworking of the Gérard Depardieu feature, Le Retour de Martin Guerre. The soldier returning from the war is of uncertain identity to his family and village but they accept him as he seems so much nicer than he was before he went away! Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning direction, The Hurt Locker (BBC1, 23.00, Sat, 6 June) is a tense account of a bomb disposal unit in the first Iraq War which pitches the viewer uncomfortably close to the action throughout. In the spirit of saving the best till last, The Square (Film4, 21.00, Wed, 10 June) is a satire on the modern art market by Ruben Ostlund, maker of Force Majeur, who does a clinical job of stripping relationships and contradictory attitudes down to the bone. Claes Bang (Mark Gatiss’ Dracula) engages with Elizabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Dominic West (The Wire, Pride) in contemporary Stockholm. Not always comfortable viewing but thought-provoking and amusing stuff. In normal times, StokeScreen Film Club shows great movies at the Coventry & North Warwickshire Sports Club, Binley Road, Coventry. Email Stokescreenfilmclub@aol.com, find them on Facebook: StokeScreen at CNWSC, or log on to www.StokeScreen.uk