A Trifecta of Today’s Best Films on the Box
Today’s number one film:
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese/ 1976/ USA / Drama-Thriller/ 113 mins/ Rated R), 4.10pm Fox Classics. Watch this if you liked The French Connection, Dog Day Afternoon or No Country for Old Men. Martin Scorsese’s magnum opus and one of the greatest New York movies ever made stars Robert De Niro in his greatest performance as Travis Bickle, the titular taxi driver who descends into the city’s madness. “You talking to me?” Violent, gritty, quoted by everyone from David Letterman to the Clash (on their Combat Rock album) and heartbreakingly real, the film is also an astonishing technical masterpiece with every scene beautifully shot and the climactic multiple murder establishing the benchmark for film editing. Jodie Foster’s stunning debut as the teen prostitute is surpassed only by Harvey Keitel’s magnificently understated pimp. One of the great American films (even if the AFI, somehow, rank it at only 47). Put the children up for adoption if you have to, just don’t miss a moment of this.
The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum/ 2014/ UK-USA/ Biography-Drama-Thriller-War/ 114 mins/ PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking) 12.20 midday Cinemax. Watch this if you liked The Theory of Everything, The King’s Speech or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. A front-running contender for the Best Screenplay Ever Written – it deservedly won the 2015 Oscar – this masterful biography of Alan Turing, the man who in World War II invented the computers we all rely on today, runs backwards and forwards in time to explain, not just the sheer firetrucking size of his achievement in breaking the German code that effectively ended WWII, but the huge personal cost to the man himself – and it does all this while remaining a true thriller. A fine film requiring and rewarding careful watching; anyone texting during its runtime should be taken outside and shot.
Moon (Duncan Jones/ 2009/ UK/ Sci-Fi-Drama/ 97 mins/ R for language), 7.25pm ISat. Watch this if you liked 12 Monkeys, Children of Men or 2001: A Space Odyssey. There’s hardly any action at all, with everything taking place on the moon, and lots of long, silent shots, so it’s not for the impatient, but Moon makes up for its slow pacing with the sheer power of the idea behind the screenplay. Kind of a Blade Runner for the chess-playing crowd, it’s definitely not for people who need an explosion or execution every five minutes to keep them watching; but, for the thoughtful, very rewarding.
JUST NOSED OUT:
**28 Days Later (Action-Horror), 5.35pm FoxAct; **We’re the Millers (Comedy), 12.30 midday HBOP; **Scarface (Crime-Drama), 6.05pm FoxClas; Gone Baby Gone (Crime-Drama-Thriller), 11am Prmt; Gravity (Adventure-Drama-Sci-fi-Thriller), 7.10pm Max; *Forrest Gump (Drama), 6.35pm FoxMov; About Last Night (Comedy), 10.49am HBOP; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Comedy), 7.15am FoxCom & 11.10am FoxMov; Tropic Thunder: Director’s Cut, 9am FoxCom; A Late Quartet (Indy drama), 7.35am FoxMov; Grease (Musical), 9.20am FoxMov & 2.20pm FoxFam;
Action/Adventure: Leon: The Professional, 9pm Stun; Ant-Man (Superhero), 10.20am HBOP
Art House/Independent: Osama Tezuka’s Metropolis (Japanese animated homage), 9.50am ISat; Lars & the Real girl, 5.25pm ISat
Biography: Invictus (Sports), 8.40am HBOS
Children/Family: Monsters, Inc, 9.05am & 7.23pm HBOF
Classic: A Passage to India, 8.50am FoxClas; Superman, 8am MaxP
Comedy: Meet the Fockers, 9pm FoxFam
Drama: The Paperboy (Crime-Drama-Thriller), 11pm ISat; The Last King of Scotland, 8.30pm Prmt
Foreign: Life Is Beautiful (Italian Holocaust drama), 7am Prmt
Horror: Orphan, 4.45pm MaxP
Sci-fi-Fantasy: Lucy, 8.30pm HBOP; Pacific Rim, 5.38pm HBO
Thriller: Stretch (Crime), 12.30 midday HBOP
War: Tora! Tora! Tora!, 1.45pm FoxClas;
Western: 3.10 to Yuma, 8.55pm MaxP
*Starred films have been chosen in the last year. ** Double-starred films have been chosen in the last two months. Particularly strong Also Ran choices are bolded.
Scheduled Internet times often vary on the day, particularly around month-end.