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A Trifecta of Today’s Best Films on the Box

If English subtitles are available, the heartbreakingly slow and beautiful The Dream of Lu (2.30pm FoxCin) BEST FILM OF THE DAY moves to the top of the list, ahead of even the outstanding Winter Sleep.

Today’s number one film:

*Winter Sleep (aka Kis Uykusu) (Nuri Bilge Ceylan/ 2014/ Drama/ Turkey/ 196 mins/ PG-13 for some language and zombie violence), 10.45am Cinemax. Watch this if you liked Timbuktu, Room or Two Days, One Night. The Turkish name, Kis Uykusu, translates as “hibernation” but neither that nor the English title convey the claustrophobic tension of the interior scenes in this excellent film, named by BC on TV as the second most outstanding DVD release of 2015. That inside tension reflects the inner tension of each character, and the tension between the three main ones; and genuinely breathtaking exterior shots make the interior scenes that much more foreboding. A minimalist plot still makes for unexpected twists that add to the real meat of the film: strong human beings revealing their own weaknesses as time passes and the odds against them mount. Not an edge-of-the-seat film at all but one that will have you pondering its meaning, and your own, for a long time. Even though English subtitles may not be available, the film is beautiful enough to simply watch. A real masterpiece but not for the Vin Diesel Fan Club; particularly at three hours-plus.


Also watch:

Dead Poets Society (Peter Weir/ 1989/ USA/ Drama/ 128 mins/ PG), 8.30am Cinemax. Watch this if you liked Dangerous Minds, School Ties or Field of Dreams. Robin Williams earned an Oscar nomination for what was his best role after The Fisher King (though it came two years before). His magnificently understated portrayal of the unorthodox boarding schoolteacher who infuses his students with the true spirit of learning – only to find some lessons are damned hard – is impossible to fault. Director Weir also extracts excellent supporting performances from a green cast. A gem, if a little sad, and made even more so after Williams’ own death, and how it came about. The film itself took the Best Original Screenplay. Very, very good, regardless of your own political view of private schools. Heartily recommended, if with a slightly heavy heart.

* The End of the Tour (James Ponsoldt/ 2015/ USA/ Biography-Drama/ 106 mins/ Rated R for language, including some sexual references), 9.10pm HBO Signature. Watch this if you liked Enough Said, The Social Network or Almost Famous. James Ponsoldt’s excellent film about the five-day interview by Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky of David Foster Wallace, author of one of the most famous literary works of the modern age (even though you’ve probably never heard of it) deserved far more notice than it got. Indeed, it won or was nominated for a couple of Most Overlooked Film awards. Although you may never read either book on which the film is founded (Wallace’s Infinite Jest or Lipsky’s Altough Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself), you should make time for two of the finest pieces of dramatic acting you are likely to see in your lifetime; and all the moreso because they have been so undeservedly overlooked; and even all the moreso because one of them comes from Jason “How I Met Your Mother” Segel – although, to be fair, he has turned in at least one powerful dramatic performance before (Jeff, Who Lives at Home).

JUST NOSED OUT:

Spotlight (Docudrama) 1.45pm HBOC; Chappie (Sci-fi-Thriller), 2.02pm HBO; Tsotsi (Crime-Drama-Thriller), 4.15pm FoxCin; Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark (Action-Adventure-Family-Thriller), 7.05pm FoxFam; Abre los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) (Spanish fantasy thriller), 7.40am FoxCin.

ALSO RAN:

Action/Adventure: *Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, 6.50pm FoxAct

Art House/Independent: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, 5.10pm ISat

Biography: My Week with Marilyn, 7.30pm ISat

Children/Family: Monster House (Animated), 7.45am HBOC

Classic: The Karate Kid (Ralph Macchio), 1.16pm Edge

Comedy: Tropic Thunder (Black Comedy-Thriller-War), 10.50am FoxMov

Drama: Philadelphia, 12.25 midday FoxClas and again 2.20pm Prmt; The Shawshank Redemption, 10.25am ISat

Foreign: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Chinese fantasy kung fu), 1.05pm ISat; Marshland (Spanish crime thriller), 7.15pm FoxCin; The Secret in Their Eyes (Spanish mystery), 9pm FoxCin

Horror: The Conjuring, 4.10pm HBOP

Sci-fi-Fantasy: Interstellar, 3.05pm Max; Edge of Tomorrow, 11.40am MaxP

Thriller: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince (Fantasy-Horror), 9.37am HBOF

Western: *Django Unchained, 7.52pm Edge

*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.