A Trifecta of Sunday's Best Films on the Box
Sci-fi rules the day, so much so that, even with Spanish subtitles, the cinefile should have a gander at the Osamu Tezuka manga-inspired, anime interpretation of Fritz Laing’s Metropolis (6.30pm, ISat). As usual, the DirecTV Channel leads on live concert and music documentary, with Mariah Carey OnStage (10.30am), OneRepublic (12 midday) and what might be a band called Cage the Elephant (1pm).
Today’s number one film:
*2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick/ 1968/ UK-USA / Sci-Fi-Mystery-Adventure/ 141 mins/ Rated G) BEST FILM OF THE DAY, 11.30am Cinemax. Watch this if you liked the original 1968 Charlton Heston Planet of the Apes, Open Your Eyes (or Vanilla Sky) or any of the William Shatner Star Trek movies. A contender for Kubrick’s masterpiece and one of the strongest (partly) American movies ever made – No 22 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Best list – but it’s not a film for the 2 Fast 2 Furious crowd. Long, silent scenes where the viewer is expected to just watch and try to understand are the order of the day. 2001 also features several of the most famous scenes in the history of cinema, such as the invention of warfare by apes, the monolith and the will to live of the computer HAL. If you get it, it’s a life-changing film; if you don’t, you can always change the channel.
*Her (Spike Jonze/ 2013/ USA/ Romance-Drama-Sci-fi/126 mins/ R for language, sexual content and brief graphic nudity), 2.05pm Cinemax. Watch this if you liked Mr Nobody, Lucy or Lost in Translation. Her is not a film for everyone and, for the Trinidadian, it might well ground a treason charge, since Her is as deep and imaginative as modern Trinidad Carnival is shallow and mindless. Set in a not-too-distant future Los Angeles, Her asks important questions of self, identity and relationships to others in a story of a lonely man who falls in love with his computer operating system. (It helps that the OS speaks with Scarlett Johansson’s voice.) It won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar & Golden Globe and Joaquin Phoenix was highly deservedly nominated for Best Actor in both. The thinking person’s antidote, perhaps, to the featherbrained feather-and-beads Carnival. Or Parliament.
Guardians of the Galaxy (Jamess Gunn/ 2014/ USA/ Action-Adventure-Sci-fi-Thriller/121 mins/ PG-13 for intenses sequences
of sci-fi violence and action and for some language), 9.35am & 5.50pm MaxPrime. Watch this if you liked Marvel’s The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Ant-Man. Most comic book superhero movies are like drops of water thrown on a hot tahwah: they vanish instantly. A handful, though, deserve to be seen more than once. It is ideally a big screen experience, of course, but Guardians of the Galaxy translates to home TVs well because of its exceptional pacing which simply does not allow the viewer to drop out of the (admittedly high level required) of the suspension of disbelief. The cute moments are genuinely so and the dialogue not just actually necessary, but also actually good. Like the films to which it’s compared, it’s far better than you’d normally expect from the genre. As good as escapist cinema gets.
JUST NOSED OUT:
Mad Max II: The Road Warrior (Sci-fi-Thriller), 11.50am MaxP; **Ex Machina (Sci-fi), 4.15pm Max; Tropic Thunder (Comedy), 5.45pm FoxCom; Dear White People (Comedy), 9pm MaxU.
Action/Adventure: Iron Man, 2.05pm FoxAct
Art House/Independent: Lars & the Real Girl, 7.25am Film; **Wild, 12.30 midday F+1
Biography: *Temple Grandin, 7.35pm HBOS: Coach Carter, 4.55pm FoxFam
Children/Family: *WALL-E, 8.53am Max; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, 7.58am HBOP; Night at the Museum, 7.10pm FoxFam
Classic: **Big, 9pm FoxClas
Comedy: 21 Jump Street (Thriller), 4.52 Edge
Rom-Com: **Top Five, 9pm FoxCom
Documentary: *Last Days in Vietnam, 6pm DTV
Drama: *American Hustle, 3.46pm HBOP
Horror: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, 11.19am HBOP
Sci-Fi/Fantasy: *The Hunger Games, 2.43pm Max; Source Code, 10.58am Max
Thriller: A Most Wanted Man, 12.25 midday HBO
War: The Guns of Navarone, 8.30am FoxClas
Western: Death Rides a Horse, 3.05pm FoxClas
*Starred films have been chosen before. ** Double-starred films have been chosen in the last three months.
Scheduled Internet times often vary on the day, particularly around month-end.