The pick of the crop of movies on TV in the coming week (from 28 June) from the founder of StokeScreen Film Club.
No risk of this being a dirty dozen: its hands are washed with soap regularly, every couple of hours. It’s next to godliness, you know.
Firstly, an apology for an omission in the last edition. I completely overlooked the screening of Carol on Film 4. StokeScreen has it programmed to show on the big screen, the best way to enjoy it in all its lush 1950s couturiéed glory. But it should have been presented to you as one of the most radiant highlights of the week. I suspect it will be back on TV very shortly.
It looks like a pallid crop of films this week. Does this mean that sport has resumed? It has also alerted me to how rapidly many channels recycle their titles. God’s Own Country (C4, 23.10, Sun, 28 June) for example. Still great, but I only wrote about that last month!
There are a handful of screen classics that may have passed you by and are worth a look: Bus Stop (Sony Movies, 21.00, Sun, 28 June) boasts Marilyn Monroe in a tale of the naive cowboy and the rather more worldly saloon singer. David Lean’s Oliver Twist (Talking Pictures TV, 18.10, Sun, 28 June) is a Brit classic from 1948, which looks great and has Alec Guinness playing Fagin, so we are in safe hands.
Went the Day Well? (5Select, 12.20, Sun, 28 Jun) is a wartime curiosity of Fifth Columnists in the Home Counties thwarted by canny peasants including a gun totin’ farm gal, Thora Hird. This is surprisingly dark for a film of the time.
For me, though, classic revival of the week is more recent. Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (Talking Pictures TV, 22.00, Tue, 30 June) is one of the stage adaptations, filmed by the great Robert Altman in the 1980s after Popeye tanked at the box office (unfairly, I feel). Here, he assembles a cast of charismatic women: Cher, finding her feet on screen, Karen Black and Sandy Dennis. Lives are reassessed, skeletons uncloseted, and mysteries uncovered. If you are going to film a stage play, this is how you do it to keep it alive.
Of the more recent productions, there is an unlikely Steve McQueen double bill of 12 Years a Slave (Film4, 21.00, Mon, 29 June) and Shame (Film4, 23.40, Mon, 29 June). Oscar-winning 12 Years features Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) as the free Northerner captured and enslaved by slave traders memorably supported by Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbinder. Shame focuses on Fassbinder as the nocturnal New York sex addict. This is not comfortable viewing but it's a compelling drama conveyed with McQueen’s incomparable visual flair.
In the nether world twixt sleep and waking is a hatful of interesting things. Love is Strange (Film4, 02.10, Sun, 28 June) is a touching tale of a long time New York couple, Ben and George (John Lithgow and Alfred Molina) who finally get married, a revelation that has George fired from the boys’ school at which he teaches. It has life changing consequences. This is one of those obscure gems that are such a joy to discover.
Rather more angry is Kevin Smith’s Red State (Horror, 21.00, Mon, 29 June). Not sure what this is doing on a horror channel but it has an eerie prescience; pitting naive college kids against fundamentalist fascists in middle America. Better known for his stoner comedies, Smith vents against an unacceptable face of America that has become all too familiar in the last four years.
The other hidden gem is Scribe, La Mécanique de l’Ombre (Film4, 01.25, Mon, 29 June) in which Francois Cluzet (Intouchable) is offered a job listening in on conversations and transcribing the content, which gets increasingly political and compromising. It is very atmospheric and engrossing. You will need to stay wide awake for this.
Men and Chicken (Film4, 01.45, Tue, 30 June) is a piece of Danish eccentricity about two very different brothers finding out about their family. One of the brothers is Mads Mickelsen before Hannibal and Star Wars claimed him.
Curiosity of the week is Ricki and the Flash (Sony Movies, 17.05, Thu, 2 July), Jonathan Demme’s (Silence of the Lambs, Something Wild) melodrama of touring rock’n’roll star (Meryl Streep!) returning to her family to try to help her daughter through a breakdown. It is consummately played by La Streep but, well... odd.
A note about the future of StokeScreen which in normal times shows great movies at Coventry & North Warwickshire Sports Club, Binley Road: As lockdown lifts, we can start to consider resuming our programme. I do not anticipate anything before September, which is when the independent screens expect to begin their gradual return. We have yet to hear from CNWSC about their reopening plans. I anticipate that we shall work with a restricted capacity in cabaret format as those nice big tables will make social distancing more like sociable distancing. The management of loos and the air conditioning will, I am sure, be resolved satisfactorily. If you have other concerns, please let us know.
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