Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

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jlnight
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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#901 Post by jlnight » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:21 am

Get Out (followed by Fences), Sat 19th Oct, Channel 4. Also on 4Seven during the week.

Next of Kin (1942), Mon 21st Oct, Talking Pictures.

The True Glory, Wed 23rd Oct, Talking Pictures.
The Age of Shadows, Wed 23rd Oct, BBC4.

Memories of Lindsay Anderson, Sat 26th Oct, Talking Pictures.

Torture Garden, Sun 27th Oct, Horror.
The Spy Gone North, Sun 27th Oct, BBC4.

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colinr0380
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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#902 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:14 am

Yes it is a really good week next week. As jlnight says Channel 4 is showing Get Out at 9 p.m. and Fences at 11.05 p.m. on Saturday 19th. I guess there is some connection between them?

Channel 4 is also showing Kenyan lesbian drama (though apparently it cannot be explicitly portrayed as a romance as homosexuality is banned in Kenya) Rafiki at 12.15 a.m. in the early hours of Monday 21st.

Yet another Liam Neeson paranoia thriller, The Commuter, is on Channel 5 at 9 p.m. on Sunday 20th

Film4 have a good showing too with Night Comes On (noted in that trailer that this is the "female revenge thriller that we need right now", which comment contrasts quite starkly with all of the hullaballoo over Joker) on Monday 21st at 11.25 p.m., and Jamaican documentary Black Mother at 12.45 a.m. in the early hours of Wednesday 23rd (and Jamaican-British film Babymother is getting an extremely rare repeat at 1.10 a.m. the next evening to presumably tie in with it. I think this might even be the first time it has been shown on UK television since its premiere on Channel 4 back in 1999!)

But really it has to be BBC4's week again with lots of interesting stuff: The PM, The Playboy and the Wolf of Wall Street, about "the world's biggest ever white-collar crime" that led back to the Malaysian government is at 9 p.m. on Monday 21st. And at 10 p.m on Thursday 24th is On The President's Orders, about the fight against drug dealing in the Philippines that led to the seeming state sanctioned murder of over 3000 'identified' drug dealers.

But most exciting of the entire week is what has been noted by jlnight: BBC4 are doing a mini-season of programmes on Korea with Korea: The Never Ending War (narrated by John Cho) at 9 p.m. on Wednesday 23rd immediately followed by the premiere of Kim Jee-woon's 2016 film The Age of Shadows at 10.30 p.m. And on their Friday night music strand at 9.30 p.m. the channel is also showing K-Pop Idols: Inside The Hit Factory, which has unfortunately coincided with the news today of the latest singer who took their life from the pressures of that lifestyle.

Oh, and Alan Clarke's 1985 Irish Troubles drama Contact (with Sean Chapman a couple of years before he played Uncle Frank in Hellraiser!) is getting an extremely rare showing at 10 p.m. on Tuesday 22nd. It is almost as if it has been unearthed to coincide with some sort of real world event that might be relevant to Ireland!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jlnight
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:49 am

Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#903 Post by jlnight » Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:49 am

For Sama, Sat 26th Oct, Channel 4. Also on late Tue 29th Oct, 4Seven. Or...
Westwood: Punk - Icon - Activist, Sat 26th Oct, BBC2.

Mother!, Mon 28th Oct, Film4.

King Kong (1933), Thu 31st Oct, BBC2.
Horrors of the Black Museum (followed by a repeat of Legend of the Witches), Thu 31st Oct, Talking Pictures. Also late Sun 3rd Nov.

The 'Burbs, Sat 2nd Nov, Horror.
Brawl in Cell Block 99, Sat 2nd Nov, Film4. (followed by A Young Man with High Potential).


Good spot on Alan Clarke's Contact!

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colinr0380
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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#904 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:21 pm

It is an excellent week next week. King Kong is the first time the film has been shown on the main television channels since 2013. It is also (sadly for silent films) by far the oldest film that has been screened on UK television so far this year. There are a couple from '36 and '38 and then about a dozen showings of 1939 films (though one is Gone With The Wind and I think that at least four must be The Wizard of Oz!), but any showings of a film older than 1940 has been rare this year.

mother! is kicking off Film4's Halloween horror season at 10.45 p.m. on Monday 28th, in a double bill with The VVitch. The other new films showing in the week are: The Midnight Man at 11.10 p.m. on Wednesday 30th and Mandy Moore gets chummy with sharks in 47 Metres Down at 9 p.m. on Thursday 31st. But *alert, alert* bizarrely hidden away under an extremely innocuous sounding title of "February" at 12.15 a.m. in the early hours of Wednesday 29th is Canadian cult classic and domino, Dark Imbecile and Therewillbeblu's approved film The Blackcoat's Daughter, which has to be in contention for film of the week! Here's the forum thread on it.

So that's already fantastic but in the 'world cinema' sphere there is a lot of interest too. Andrey Zvyaginstev's Leviathan is getting a repeat on BBC2 at 12.10 a.m. on Saturday 26th and running across the clocks going back to GMT, so in the listings it will only run for an hour, even if it feels like two! As jlnight says, the documentary For Sama is showing on Channel 4 at 9 p.m. on Saturday 26th. But I am most excited by BBC4 showing another South Korean film at 10 p.m. on Sunday 27th: The Spy Gone North. That does not seem to have had a disc release in the UK yet, though it has a 12 BBFC rating and seems to be available for streaming on Amazon. BBC4 also has French-Canadian documentary Inside Lehman Brothers at 10 p.m. on Monday 28th. Here's a radio interview in French with the director

And to cap it off Channel 4 are starting up another Indian film season with Trapped at 1.50 a.m. in the early hours of Tuesday 29th (the plot summary on imdb is amusing: "a man struggles to survive after he unintentionally locks himself up in a high rise devoid of food, water and electricity"!) and Veere di Wedding ("Friend's Wedding") at 1.55 a.m. in the early hours of Friday 1st November.

jlnight
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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#905 Post by jlnight » Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:44 am

Election, Sat 2nd Nov, BBC2.

Silence (Scorsese), Sun 3rd Nov, BBC2.

Dr Strangelove - or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Tue 5th Nov, BBC4.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Thu 7th Nov, Film4.

Caravaggio, Fri 8th Nov, London Live.


The LWT series Catweazle starts on Sat 2nd Nov (and Sun 3rd Nov) on Talking Pictures and continues the following weekend.

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colinr0380
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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#906 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:42 am

Yes it is not a bad week next week. The premiere of Scorsese's Silence on BBC2 at 10.30 p.m. on Sunday 3rd is pretty obviously the biggest film of the week, and has been interestingly scheduled by the BBC to coincide with the week that Giri/Haji shows what seems to be the main flashback to the events that the brother character played by Yosuke Kubozuka features in. (Kubozuka has a big role in Silence as the continually sinning and then confessing Kichijiro)

Dr Strangelove is the centrepiece of BBC4's short "A Very British Apocalypse" season which includes the documentary A British Guide To The End of the World at 9 pm. on Monday 4th and Rich Hall's Red Menace just before Dr Strangelove at 9 p.m. on Tuesday 5th. And Mark Cousins' Atomic: Living In Dread and Promise is repeated at 11.30 p.m. on Thursday 7th. But BBC4 are also showing a repeat of Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures at 10 p.m. on Sunday 3rd (so clashing with Silence!).

BBC2 are showing Mira Nair's Disney-produced Ugandan chess prodigy film Queen of Katwe at 3.30 p.m. on Saturday 2nd.

Film4's Halloween season continues. After Brawl In Cell Block 99 as noted by jlnight showing at 10.45 p.m. on Saturday 2nd is A Young Man With High Potential at 1.25 a.m. (which in its trailer hits all of the 'lonely weirdo' tickboxes a bit too readily. Glasses? A bit plump? Sitting in front of a bank of computer screens, maybe even *shudder* playing video games? Yearning worryingly after unattainable women? A psychiatrist who may or may not turn out to just exist in his head? *yawn*). #horror is showing at 2 a.m. in the early hours of Monday 4th (If you die on social media, you die in real life! I wonder if the obvious Enter The Void-influenced credits in that trailer appear in the film itself? An interesting cast though including Chloe Sevigny, who is presumably there because this is the first film directed by Tara Subkoff who is better known as an actress and had a flurry of roles in the late 90s, including appearing in The Last Days of Disco)

The Indian film season on Channel 4 continues with Nachom-ia Kumpasar, aka Let's Dance To The Rhythm, (all about Goan Jazz clubs of the 1960s apparently!) at 1.50 a.m. in the early hours of Wednesday 6th, and Manmarziyaan at 1.55 a.m. in the early hours of Friday 8th (I think they ruin the outcome of all the love triangle fussing and feuding with that post-trailer credits gag though, so be warned!)

Repeats wise not to much of note, though Film4 are repeating Ivan's Childhood at 1.50 a.m. in the early hours of Friday 8th.

The new adaptation of His Dark Materials is starting on BBC1 at 8 p.m. on Sunday 3rd and will be running up until Christmas. The screenwriter of this, Jack Thorne, was interviewed on Front Row recently and it was mentioned that he not only adapted this but that The Accident series currently airing on Channel 4, The Aeronauts, and adapted that post-Harry Potter book for the stage. All of which seem a bit middle of the road and not too exciting but he is certainly prolific and in demand by television, stage and screen simultaneously at the moment, it seems!

(According to Points of View replying to a correspondent disgruntled that the series has not been broadcast in the UK as yet, the BBC adaptation of The War of the Worlds is coming at some point in the next month. Though I would not be surprised if they save it until Christmas now. Plus there is apparently a new version of Dracula cropping up at some so far unidentified point in time, but they have definitely missed the Halloween season for showing that one!)

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colinr0380
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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#907 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:20 am

This was a weird couple of days of watching films on Film4. Instead of diving straight into the 'good' films that have been shown over Halloween (mother!, The Blackcoat's Daughter, and such) for some reason the only films that I managed to sit down with were the ones that felt rather half-baked, almost as if they had an intriguing premise, and maybe a big name actor or cameo, but still came out feeling unfulfilling for all that. Like half a film almost, which ended up feeling much more frustrating than a film just being bad per se! It started promisingly and then ended with perhaps the worst film I have seen of the decade so far! You are welcome to witness the descent into, well, not madness but perhaps bored sighing below.

The Shallows
Jaws but with a boring person. Open Water but with a boring person. It is not entirely Blake Lively's fault, as she's doing what she can with the whisper thin material of being trapped on a rock with only a fellow injured seagull for company (I think the filmmakers were trying to do some kind of Life of Pi thing in having a burgeoning animal-human relationship in a confined space surrounded by water?), but this is one of those horror premises that are strangely relaxing, because I pretty much know that I'm never going to be in these peculiarly specific circumstances of surfing (poorly) on a secluded beach in Mexico in only my bikini without noticing a giant dead whale decomposing just metres offshore that is attracting a giant shark to feed on it and everything around it.

For someone the film sets up as being really good at a certain physical skill (and we'll get into this more with Vince Vaughn's character in Brawl in Cell Block 99), both the actress and director seem to be entirely unaware of how to actually surf! Or to convey a certain level of amateur but skilled quality that a little sister could look up to admiringly at least! Instead its all paddling and straddling, ominously trailing hands and feet in the water and alternating between admiring the scenery and looking meditatively off into the distance whilst mulling on a family tragedy that has caused this lady to drop out of medical school and run away to this secluded spot. Of course her impromptu lifesaving first aid knowledge on that rock after being badly bitten on the thigh by the shark will prove that the doctoring skills were important and worth doing, and that really all the shark wants (like daddy) is for her to go back to school and get her degree and stop flailing around pretending to be a cool surf dude-ette!

So she finds the dead whale, gets mauled by the shark, and manages to swim from whale carcass to nearby small rock formation where she stitches herself up, and starts bonding Androcles and the Lion-style with a seagull that has apparently also been bitten glancingly by the shark and has a dislocated wing. We see the couple warily circling each other for their own piece of the rock they are trapped on. I was hoping the seagull thing would go somewhere more than it does as whilst our main character softens up a little and 'learns to open her heart to others' again by re-setting the seagull's broken wing, and as the rock gets submerged in high tide floating the seagull off on a broken piece of surfboard in the vague direction of the shore I was always nervous ambivalent about her motivations for bonding and even in the scene of the bird being floated away, that comes straight after she says to herself that "I need a distraction", so I was assuming that she was using the bird as bait!

But the distraction turns out to be the helmet with built in webcam of one of the two fellow surfer dudes who turn up after she has spent a cold and exposed night on the rock, and who immediately get eaten by the shark, with that one single piece of head gear conveniently resurfacing nearby, just close enough for a manufacturedly tense scene of having to time the shark's circling pattern and swim across to a tiny outcropping of the rock and then excruciatingly reach out to try and finger-tip finagle the helmet into her hands (which takes three times the length of time of just splashing straight in the water and quickly jumping out again). Maybe it was just the helmet resurfacing and drifting by just at that perfectly designed distance for a 'safe action scene' that pushed me over the edge (at the very least I could have given it a pass if the head of the surfer was still inside it and our main character had to contend with the severed head too! And that severed head would have provided the perfect bait distraction to throw out later on too! But its just the neatly empty helmet floating there), but I think this clarified what I was finding most annoying about the film throughout. Which was that whilst the film is at pains to try and make everything seem as grueling as possible for the main character, and creates a situation of there being no real way of escaping through ingenuity alone, there are always deus ex machina situations that conveniently arise to push the plot on. Without them this would just be a story of someone dying through exposure on a rock, but with them it rather undermines the sense that the film is wanting us to celebrate the pluck and never-give-up can-do attitude of the main character when really all the stuff that actually saves her life has been placed there by the filmmakers to serve their purposes! Whether it is jellyfish, a floating helmet, or a young boy who just so happens to see and understand the gravity of the situation more than a drunken adult can!*

In fact there are so many deus ex machina moments that a few of them are allowed to fizzle out, such as when she gets to the metal buoy and manages to get her hands on a flare gun whose ammunition she immediately drops in the water and therefore cannot signal a giant tanker ship on the horizon that arguably would not have seen a flare anyway. Arguably it does allow for her to shoot the last flare into the shark, but that just seems to annoy it more than anything, as it did me as a viewer because it is done in such a bland manner when it perhaps should be the first big "now the tables have turned and I'm on the attack" moment. But it rather brushes past that opportunity for some actual action drama, and perhaps worse raises sense of the classic image of Roy Scheider levelling his aim at the end of Jaws, only to do little with it.

I did quite like the big confrontation at the end where the main character has irritated the shark so much that it even frustratedly starts eating through the metal buoy just to get at her, turning the wreckage of the small tower interestingly for a moment into a kind of makeshift shark cage as it all gets dragged under the water line by the tantruming shark. Even if that moment is immediately ruined by the main character swimming out of it and just hiding behind another piece of wreckage instead! And then the final dealing with the shark of waiting for it to snap the guide wires holding the buoy in place, thereby pulling our swimmer down to the ocean floor at high speed, the shark swimming full pelt behind her, until she lets go and swims to one side just in time for the shark to impale itself on the metal wreckage sticking up from the ocean bed is a fine action climax in the moment to deal with a seemingly insurmountable threat, but is such a weirdly specific act on our main character's part to have a sense of knowing that it could possibly be the case that pieces of metal would be sticking up out of the sea bed at such an angle to neatly impale the creature, that it feels both impossible to predict and utterly ridiculous in retrospect.

*And my goodness, that scene with the drunken guy on the beach in the early morning of the first day is by far the worst scene in the film, serves no purpose except for an extra kill scene, and worse undermines everything else that comes after. So we are to assume that both the two surfers who get on the beach and immediately into the water just afterwards, not to mention the young boy at the end who manages to stumble upon the much smaller piece of flotsam of the washed up helmet on the shore by total chance (and only realises the significance of it when he replays our character's stoic situation relating turned to mawkishly tear-jerking goodbye message to her family) all completely miss that a few feet down the beach is a body neatly severed in two leaking blood everywhere? That more than anything suggests to me that this scene was added at a later point to 'bump up' the gore and action to the film, without a sense of how it would impact on believability from that point on. It just seems there to make pat (vaguely racist because our lead character has looked rather worriedly, then relievedly, at the two surfer guys walking past her pile of stuff and driving off earlier in the film, as if concerned that they would be the ones to steal her stuff whilst she was out for a last surf) points about drunken Mexican locals stealing stuff from naive tourist's belongings left on the beach whilst they are out in the sea, and then being so drunk and stupid that rather than quitting whilst ahead he decides to walk into the sea to steal her surfboard as well, taking him into the clutches of our shark serial killer!

So its dumb whilst trying to be inspirational (shallow by name, shallow by nature I suppose), gets a tiny bit exciting in that final action setpiece (but go for Deep Blue Sea instead for true ridiculously dumb fun!) and has one bizarre scene that does not fit with the rest of the action. But at least the seagull survives to high five the heroine at the end!

___
The Midnight Man
Now this one is also dumb with another hugely contrived premise that I can relax that I will never get close to ever being in myself, but at least feels as if it is reveling in how dumb and absurd it is! Its basically a horror version of Jumanji, except replacing the Robin Williams equivalent type of character who has been playing the game for decades with an invective spewing grandma who is in league with the demon and actively rooting against the other players!

A pre-credits sequence (the best scene of the film) shows a bunch of children coming to the end of their game and thinking they can defeat 'the Midnight Man' by drawing a circle around themselves with salt and waiting him out until 3.33 a.m. However he cheats like crazy and everyone but one girl ends up dead, as she watches her brother leave the snowbound house (breaking the rule of the game) and then get bloodily but quite fetchingly squished everywhere across the pristine white snow covered lawn!

She inexplicably seems to have survived this (presumably she has been in the demon's clutches all this time and kept alive so that she could feed new players to the game) and had somehow in the decades following gone on to have a daughter and granddaughter, whilst still living in the same 'old money' mansion. The daughter committed suicide in mysterious circumstances and it is just granny and teen daughter left. Unfortunately on putting dotty old grandma to bed and inviting a boyfriend over for the evening they discover the game in the attic and on a whim(!) decide to add their names to the Midnight Man's list, which involves a hilariously ridiculously convoluted set of hoops to jump through from pricking your finger with blood and signing a document that is then taped to the door of the house, to knocking on the door twenty two times whilst midnight is being struck (no more, no less!), to leaving then immediately coming back into the house again. That apparently ties the soul of the person to an easily snuffable out candle that they are holding and triggers this figure to start stalking you throughout your house until 3.33 a.m., and you have to keep moving from room to room because he will immediately find you if you stay in one spot. So it is lucky that they had a ginormous mansion to 'play' in, I suppose!

This gets into the central absurdity of the film. Not just the way that the invocation ritual is hilariously detailed (stand on one leg and hop five times whilst reciting the pledge of allegiance backwards and sticking your finger up your nose and rotating counterclockwise, but only between the hours of 1.28 a.m. and 1.43 a.m. on the second Thursday of the month!) as compared to just opening a puzzle box or saying someone's name in a mirror five times (where the relatable simplicity of that kind of action is part of its power), but also the way that there is no actual point to playing the game!! Like Jumanji its just a couple of bored kids deciding to add their names to a watchlist for some reason (1. Get stalked by a killer; 2. .........? ; 3. Profit?) and then have something that attacks you in an amusingly personalised gift kind of way based on each person's specific worst fear that they have also helpfully written down for him (this has to be the laziest monster I have ever seen, as it lets the victims do all of the admin work for it rather than any psychological probing on its own part!)

The one thing really missing here is the sassy black friend to meta-comment that "Yo, these white people be crazy!" at one point. Though we do get another friend brought into the situation after the first couple have met the Midnight Man and have been 'fear tested' the first time in order to listen to their story of the night so far with incredulous amusement at the knots her friends are tying themselves into with all these arcane rules and regulations. Yet instead of being sensible and staying as a neutral observer to the game (she even says something to the effect of "you people need me to keep all the rules straight for you"), and hearing that the monster is a real and present threat she (stupidly, stupidly!) decides for some reason to go through the convoluted process of putting her name on the list too. So that she can join in, I suppose? Though really its only because, like The Shallows above, the film needs an additional character to act as the expendable victim before we get to the actual important characters being threatened. Which makes our main couple seem incredibly callous, for all that they have just been through, for letting her add her name to the list (So callous in fact that this was the point where I went from thinking they were dumb but generally hoping they survived, to actively rooting for their demise!)

This was really the make and break point of the film for me. With its weird set up and characters acting outside of their best interests for no gain whatsoever (not even the arguably illusory promise of extreme BDSM pleasure as in the Hellraiser series!) it was never going to be a particularly 'good' film in any situation but had the film stayed in that register of just fighting the demon off with one character being killed off to helpfully illustrate the demon's power it would have been poor to actively bad. But (and this is why for all its faults this is the best film I saw out of the four I am going to discuss) the film seems to know its own absurdity and plays into it in fun ways.

I had been hoping that the new girl would have stayed out of the game and maybe directed the action from the sidelines as a way of enforcing the rules, especially when we know that the Midnight Man cheats to get his own way, and was kind of annoyed that she stupidly did not do this. The film then immediately gets the new girl in a contrived situation of being left alone in a gardening sunroom whilst the others go off to 'get more candles' after hers is snuffed out by standing under a leaky pipe (which had been nicely set up to have me nervous about that leak a couple of minutes before it actually leaked on the candle, which made that otherwise rather talky scene much more tense in a nice way, wondering when that would get paid off), and so we know that she is going to be in a face-off with the monster. Yet straight after this the film does what I hoped it would have with that character by instead swerving to bring Robert Englund's character back after his brief cameo scene early in the film in order to provide more of the backstory and seem as if he is going to act as the neutral observer instead! The film even has the novel twist that the Robert Englund character was a kid who had been in the house at the time that the other kids had been playing their deadly game in that pre-credits sequence, but he had not been allowed to play by the girl because he was 'too young'. So we get a scene from the past of him hiding from the Midnight Man, who easily finds him but then lets him live because he was not playing!

This stuff is all intercut with that third wheel expendable teen character pluckily trying to fight off the Midnight Man (including him trying to erase the circle of salt by directing flowing liquids at it, though water in this case rather than the spreading pool of blood from their friend as in the pre-credits sequence! Though it neatly reiterates that manoeuvre for the next generation of characters, suggesting that he has a couple of tried and tested techniques in his playbook!). And then she eventually faces her worst fear in a rather funny scene of the Midnight Man turning into a giant talking bunny! Because this character as a child cut the throat of her pet bunny and has been plagued by guilt for it ever since. Which I guess makes it less upsetting for us to see her die by being forced into cutting her own throat in emulation of her worst fear?

Those two scenes made the film for me really, because it kind of turns into a small moral tale that acknowledges that the people who play the game really 'deserve to die' in some senses for being so stupid as to have signed up for it in the first place! The Robert Englund character has been hovering around the girl ever since, knowing that this girl who survived has been either possessed or at least in thrall to the Midnight Man ever since, and that she has been drawing people in to feed to it, including her own daughter making her hang herself in front of our main character as the past trauma flashback that she was had been trying to figure out the meaning of since she was a girl. Which leads to a great stand off scene in the attic between granddaughter and grandma (after she gets to enthusiastically bludgeon Robert Englund's character to death on behalf of the Midnight Man, because he might not be able to do it to a non-player because of the rules that constrain him, but she sure can!), and luckily grandma is put out of everyone's misery with a caregiving bullet!

So everything is fine after that. The remaining two characters of boyfriend and girlfriend retreat to their circle of salt whilst the bodies of all the bad guys are dragged off into the closeted shadows by the Midnight Man. They wait it out until 3.33 a.m. and then the horror is over...
SpoilerShow
...but of course in the wonderful final twist the Midnight Man has just cheated again and put all the clocks forward by an hour whilst the teens were waiting him out, so he gets to surprisingly gorily punch straight through the boy's face and then drag the heroine off to wherever he came from!
So its dumb, but in a good way this time. Its not a classic, and the main teen characters are bland to the max, but it ended much more strongly than it began. The Robert Englund scenes were fun, where he is commendably taking this all deadly seriously. But really this is Lin Shaye's film all the way. She's really becoming a horror MVP actor recently with her roles in the Insidious and Ouija series, and she goes all out here as the foul mouthed abusive granny (which is starting to become another trope in current horror in itself with things like The Visit and Krampus: elderly relatives irreperably damaging their grandkids, whilst the middle generation look on ineffectually!), especially when she goes from passivity to sudden screaming when the game is first opened! Or screaming in ecstasy about her teen daughter being bathed in blood, like someone worryingly over enthusiastic about their kid's first menstrual cycle!

___
Brawl in Cell Block 99
So from annoying female characters, we move to annoying male ones. I had heard good things about this film featuring a 'heavy hitting' performance by Vince Vaughn, but was left seriously underwhelmed by this. Everything felt 'half way there', in that the action felt limp and unimpactful until (almost) the very end.

I really did not like the way the film approached its main character either, in a way that almost idolised him. He's laid off from his mechanic job in the first scene (so 'The Man' has beaten him down) and comes home early to find his wife about to leave to cheat on him. He naturally responds by ordering her to give him her phone and get out of the car and back in the house whilst he proceeds to work off some anger by methodically dismantling her car on the front lawn (I guess he knows how because they have established that he is a mechanic now?). This is in no way portrayed as coercive or intimidating but the natural response of a powerful man to having been cuckolded. Luckily his wife apologises profusely for having cheated on him, and that she was only doing it because he was so distant after she had a miscarriage and she thought that he was having an affair himself (so really it was implied to have been all her fault? I guess?)

Anyway it all ends happily with her calling off the affair and reaffirming her love for him, whilst he insists that she get pregnant as soon as possible so they have something in their lives to keep together for, I guess. We jump 'eighteen months later' and our 'hero' is working as a drugs courier, graciously declining prostitutes offering freebies for some of the drugs (but its really because Vince Vaughn is apparently so sexily irresistible? Even the prison guards in the first minimum security prison are turned on by how 'big' he is when he has to strip for them and are taking guesses at how tall this Adonis of a man is at one point when he sullenly clumps past them after receiving some bad news from a prison visitor), but unfortunately he gets involved in a drug deal gone south (and acts like a petulant child anyway, given he forces one of his companions to give up his gun and throws it away, then tries to throw the drug money they have just scuba dived for back into the lake, which is far overstepping his bounds!), even shooting one of his own side in the standoff with the cops, which quite frankly left me siding with the ostensible bad guys that he was right to have to have to pay for his bad behaviour!

(Also that confrontation between cops and criminals scene has to have the limpest version of someone throwing a grenade underneath a policecar and it going off with a small puff of smoke that I have ever seen! The hilarity of how unimpressive it is only underlined even more by the character cockily saying just before throwing the grenade to "get ready for another 9/11!". Oof, how edgy and dangerous!)

So post-shootout, our main character and his bizarre moral code results in him accepting to go to prison for four to five years for his part in the shootout (whilst his now adoring wife says that she will always be there for him and when he says he doesn't want either her or his child visiting so they do not have memories of him in prison, she looks at him with undisguised awe and wonder at just how amazing a man he actually is, and obviously how lucky she was to have seen that before it was too late!), but unfortunately things do not end there as he gets a visit from one of the associates of the bad guy he wronged (in a wonderfully menacing cameo by Udo Kier, which immediately makes the film more interesting than it has any right to be), to tell him that they have kidnapped his wife and will get a practiced abortionist in to do horrible mutilations to their unborn child in utero if he does not put himself in a maximum security prison and kill someone on their behalf.

Much of the rest of the film is the main good ol' boy character getting involved in weirdly limp and poorly choreographed fights that he intentionally loses (because he's such a man that if he intended to win the fight then dagnabbit he would have done so!), going from a minimum security prison to a maximum security one, to an extra naughty boy cell block 99 that is where the guards can torture the most degenerate prisoners with impunity, all whilst playing weird sub-dom games with Don Johnson's sadistic warden and various guards (this is something that, if the film had a bit more nerve, could really have pushed into eye-popping areas. But like everything else its done in the most limp and half-hearted manner possible. We see torture chairs and implements neatly laid out, but only get an electric shock belt and Vaughn doubling over each time someone presses a button as the main torture effect.

Eventually the tables get turned and our lead gets to dole out some vengeance Tarantino-style, and the violence goes from less than impressive to suddenly featuring heads getting burst open and eyes being gouged out with bare hands. One extreme to the other really, but even this brief amount of gore is too little too late. Though that sudden turn into prosthetic gore effects really made me think that this is a film that thinks it is trying to be Riki-Oh (NSFW), but it pulls its punches far too much to be anywhere near the same league.

That was in no way helped by Vaughn's performance which goes beyond stoic gruffness but with a sense of humanity buried deep within into just seeming one note monotonous. There is a fine line I suppose, but for me this went from 'underplayed' to 'not played at all'! Maybe I have just been spoiled by spending six months watching the Fist of the North Star series which actually has a stoic, almost blank, main character but with occasional flashes of actual humanity deep beneath the surface to really be impressed by a character to whom every single situation is just met with no response at all! Its like the actor and the film know that stoicism is cool and manly, but don't know how to pull that minimalist response of a character off with charisma too.

So maybe watch the film for Udo Kier's scenes (in a few short appearances he manages to put across a sense of menace and threat of obscene horror that makes every other character seem childishly posturing over how 'badass' they are! He also gets a fun death scene, where he is kind of cruelly betrayed by the heroine for having actually having had the nerve to have held up his side of the bargain in the hostage swap!). Don Johnson is nearly there in the menacing stakes too (but really is doing a reprise of his Django Unchained part in many ways). But really nothing in this film can in any way compare to Riki-Oh, or even Stuart Gordon's Fortress (which similarly does maximum security sub-dom gore-fest antics in ultraviolent form, along with having a similar subplot about the pregnant heroine being menaced which actually treats her as a character in her own right), which are far better and not as frustratingly half-hearted about their content.
___
A Young Man With High Potential
It might seem that I hated Brawl In Cell Block 99 above, but it was more indifference by the end. I'm reserving my outright disgust for this film. Oh God, this hideous film. When people complain about Joker, or Human Centipede II, or Straw Dogs, I think I am going to point towards this film as more insidiously nasty in tone and message than all of them put together, with so many implied suggestions that feel contrived and just icky that I felt dirty and complicit just having watched it. I'd rather wrestle with the ironic-horrific, flippant twist ending of Strip Nude For Your Killer than this ostensibly more 'moral', but far more blundering film.

Here we have a young man with all the flashing symbols of 'lonely weirdo' around him. Overweight. Wears glasses. Works as a computer coder in front of a bank of three monitors (not just one or two, but three of them! One of them occasionally has *shudder* videogames playing on it). Orders things only online because he doesn't want to leave his room. Petulantly gets in argument with the delivery guy over not bringing his daily sushi order, despite being told he will get refunded. Is shown in the corridor of his educational institution pressed into a corner sweating nervously whilst huge lunch crowds of students walk the halls, before it empties out and he is able to get the sushi he was so rudely denied by the delivery man. Is revealed to be scared of women and a virgin in a chat with a colleague encouraging him to get out and communicate more (which awkwardly involves him trying to compliment a cafeteria lady on her clothing, despite it being a uniform. Which she seemingly gets quite excited by!). Even worse he frequents online sex cam-chat sites and masturbates to them in the bathtub. What an absolute monster!

He is content in his quiet life, being complemented by professors about his computer coding brilliance via Skype calls until of course a beautiful girl not only comes up to him in the restaurant but actually to his door wanting to be his work partner and refuses to take no for an answer (this is basically the same premise as that Big Bang Theory episode). They get on well (he gets a couch courier delivered especially for her to sit on!) but then after some cajoling from his colleague he decides to take it further and is rebuffed. Not just rebuffed but the girl of course had to just have been using her feminine wiles on him in order to get access to his work, and has a scene when she comes back to his apartment to apologise but say that she was never interested in him in that way. But of course in the interim (and after grumpily abusing the online sex cam lady in his frustration) he has ordered a Rohypnol-style drug via the internet (the horrible, horrible internet!) and used it on her, so that she falls asleep on that very same couch he bought just for her.

Now comes the icky part. The part that makes the double rape in Straw Dogs seem uncontroversial because it was focused so much on the woman and her reactions in that situation. Here the woman is completely unconscious throughout, as the main character takes her over to his computer desk that he has removed the three screens from (symbolism!) and proceeds to undress her in excruciating detail. But of course being a nerdy virgin with women issues he cannot actually violate this unconscious woman...until he calls up the online sex cam lady and gets her advice on what to do about a 'quiet girl' (with her unfortunately saying to press on because she might like him to be forward) and having her 'work him up' over the internet (that horrible, horrible internet!) to actually commit the rape. Even more unfortunately for everyone involved the girl wakes up during it and he forces more of the drug on her, which kills her outright.

Now comes the next icky part. We get an hour or so long and detailed scene of someone who has just had the most horrific, flaccid and unfulfilling to all parties to the extreme first sexual experience then having to do the worst possible clean up afterwards. We get to see the detailed preparations and eventual actions of him looking up on the internet (that horrible, horrible internet!) directions to the local dead body dumping spots and apparently PDFs and guides of how to properly dismember a human corpse (really?) and then the unfortunate gruesome act in quite a bit of detail. Most of the initial cuts into the body, the removal of organs into a bucket by the bathtub, the organs being blended up in a paste to flush down the toilet, the head being cut off with various knives until an electric carving knife does the trick. Its all there and none of it feels particularly justified in being dwelt on in such detail (I mean at the very least in that Flowers of Flesh and Blood Guinea Pig film the dismemberment was being done for somebody's pleasure! If not particularly the audience's). It is just busy work mostly, briefly stopped when his drunk friend comes by, but the friend does not really see that he is covered in blood and gore.

Now comes the weirdest scene. He has got all the body parts wrapped up in brown paper packages all tied up with string and is taking them out to a local drop off centre, but runs into that cafeteria lady from earlier. This is in the early hours of the morning, in the middle of the night. She helps him with his packages for a suspiciously long time, helping him take them to a rented car then asking him for a lift herself. Then driving them when it turns out that he does not have a driver's licence (because of course he does not, because the antisocial computer nerd virgin turned rapist turned dismemberer thing was not enough of a black mark against the character), until they reach a check point and she panics and reveals that she does not have proper Visa to be in the country and so they dump the car and go their separate ways, but not before a fond goodbye.

I guess there is some sort of sociocultural point being made there? Of people living underground existences having to look out for each other, or something? I'm frankly at a loss.

So he gets back to his apartment and while the body is discovered he is vouched for by both the friend and the cafeteria lady, and even the delivery guy who wrongly tried to deliver sushi to him again at one point in the body cutting up process (symbolism!), so he gets away with it scot free it seems. Although this whole story is told in bookending flashback as a curious policelady (played bizarrely by Amanda Plummer. Though it was nice to see her in a film for the first time in a while), lightly questions him about his relationship with the deceased, including whether they had had sex (which he horribly responds to with a 'yes' as if what he did actually counted as such), and rather than this seeming particularly tense at all it seems as if the only point of this character is to let our main character reminisce about that horrible experience he (and only he) went through in a self-pitying manner.

What a hideous film! I have seen films with more graphic gore, which portray rape and sexual assault in a more detailed way, and which supposedly glorify 'incel male privilege' more, yet this was the thing that hit all those marks in the most awful manner possible. This has no interest in exploring its subject with nuance or depth, more blunderingly heavy handed set ups which play out exactly as they were always going to. No amoral, distanced (if arguably tasteless) ironic nuance of Strip Nude For Your Killer here. No questions about how someone deals with being the object of a sexual assault and the aftermath from it as in Straw Dogs. No critique of how someone gets their destiny taken out of their hands by never being properly allowed to have a role in the world as in Joker. Just a nerd who found out that sex was a lot more hassle than he expected for not much reward.

Oh, and whilst I remember, why exactly were strangely specific names from the 1984 Ghostbusters film used for the Amanda Plummer character ("Stantz" as in Dan Aykroyd's "Raymond Stantz") and for the main character's online sex cam chat name ("Spengler" as in Harold Ramis's "Egon Spengler"). One might have just been a bizarre coincidence but two uses was weirdly too specific to have been unintentional, it feels. Is it meant to suggest that the Amanda Plummer character is just inside our main character's head, as a kind of alternate personality similar to how he can pretend to be someone else through his internet (that horrible, horrible internet!) pseudonym? And that he was just sitting in his office chair looking at the empty couch and reciting his story all along?

Or is it meant to be a dig at the 'nerdy male' response to the all female Ghostbusters reboot, because of course this monster would probably be one of those people! Could it be both? But then that's a symptom of every aspect of this entire film: if there was a 'wider point' that the film was trying to come to I could not shake the feeling that it was a deeply distasteful one that I was not sure that I would want to fully understand!

On that note, the film ends with a proud "Made in the EU" title, that almost makes me wish for Brexit!

I try and find something of worth in any film but this one really tested me and it was difficult to find anything good to say about it. I guess it was nice to see Amanda Plummer again (apparently she was in this director's previous film, Dr Ketel along with Lou Castel. It looks as if she might even be in the same kind of role too), and good to know that she is still doing well. But it was worrying to think that seeing her made me wish I was watching Ken Park instead, for a less upsetting experience! And if there is one thing this group of films taught me it was that it is nice to have cameos here and there, and they can often be the most interesting part of a film, but simple actor recognition still doesn't prevent a film without any ideas from being good just because someone you may have heard of is in it.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:33 am, edited 8 times in total.

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swo17
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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#908 Post by swo17 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:52 am

To think that some of us not based in the UK will assume there's nothing of substance being posted in this thread!

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#909 Post by TMDaines » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:25 am

Are you even allowed in this thread? Brexit meant British TV threads for British people.

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#910 Post by swo17 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:29 am

Oh crumpets, I knew I shouldn't have come in here

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#911 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:26 pm

In a nice surprise Steve Coogan did a short introduction to last night's screening of Dr Strangelove!

It is not quite as packed next week but still very interesting. The big premiere of the week is the drama God's Own Country on Film4 at 11.10 p.m. on Monday 11th. BBC4 is showing Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes at 9.30 p.m. on Friday 15th.

Repeat-wise, Film4 are showing Tarkovsky's Mirror at 1.35 a.m. in the early hours of Monday 11th, and BBC2 as showing Look Back In Anger at 12.15 a.m. on Saturday 16th.

Channel 4's Indian film season is continuing with the premiere of Nude at 1.50 a.m. on Friday 15th, but most excitingly a rare repeat of 1969 ensemble drama Satyakam, starring regular Satyajit Ray actress Sharmila Tagore, showing at 1.55 a.m. on Wednesday 13th.

(I also noted that the end credits of the new BBC/HBO adaptation of His Dark Materials still has to credit New Line Cinema, probably because they still have some control over the rights even 12 years on from The Golden Compass?)

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#912 Post by jlnight » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:58 am

All At Sea (1969), starts Sat 9th Nov, London Live.

Anoop and the Elephant, Sun 10th Nov, London Live.
Creatures The World Forgot, Sun 10th Nov, Horror.

Words For Battle (short), Mon 11th Nov, Talking Pictures.

The Battle of Billy's Pond, Sat 16th Nov, London Live.
Village of the Damned (Carpenter), Sat 16th Nov, Horror.

The Boy Who Turned Yellow, Sun 17th Nov, London Live.
Oh... Rosalinda!!, Sun 17th Nov, Talking Pictures. Also Wed 20th Nov.

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#913 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:16 am

To temper some of the negativity I expressed about the films above, I should say that I quite enjoyed some other films shown on television recently. 47 Metres Down was pretty good, though to say why necessitates spoilers for the big twist:
SpoilerShow
which is that the entire second half of the film, from the point at which Mandy Moore is left alone by her sister in the shark cage with her leg trapped and just managing to grab the replacement Oxygen tanks thrown down to them as hers is about to run dry, is a hallucination brought about by Nitrogen narcosis in her haste to be able to breathe again (though the filmmakers missed a trick there in not calling their film "Raptures of the Deep"!). So instead of her sister magically reappearing after having been thought eaten by sharks to help her untrap herself from the cage and then ascending with her (including a five minute break halfway up to depressurise enough to continue, all whilst fighting off sharks in the open with only a dwindling supply of flares), she has instead spent the second half of the film staring at the bleeding cut on her hand and laughing happily.

This twist gets rather too foreshadowed, and its really just your standard "It was all just a dream" idea just with an underwater slant to it, but it still felt a bit better than The Shallows. It even somewhat mitigates the ramping up of the action in the final section to ever higher heights and much more personalised seeming shark attacks (with Mandy Moore getting grabbed and badly injured by the shark herself just as she is trying to get onto the boat, and clawing the shark's eye out before it lets her go and she is hauled onboard to symmetrically lie opposite her similarly injured sister, their cries of pain mingling together almost as if she is 'appropriating' her sister's injuries, and now sharing her experience but in your triumphant action heroine way), as well as adding an extra tragic element to the final shot of her laughing insanely as she is rescued and is being raised, sister-less, to the surface.
And Matthew Modine is in there as the ship's (pretty ineffectual!) captain!
___
And I was surprised by how much I enjoyed that Liam Neeson thriller, The Commuter. Its not amazing but quite enjoyable and it felt as if it worked less as yet another one of the run of Neeson-led paranoia thrillers (though it fits in with that trend), but more as a more down to earth twist on Source Code! Maybe that is just because Vera Farmiga seems to be reprising her role as someone on the other end of the telephone alternately cajoling and bullying the main character into carrying out tasks on her behalf, along with the general commuter train setting for the action, but it made for a neat contrast!

This film actually makes a commuter train look as packed and dirty as they actually are, full of people who don't particularly want to be there, as compared to the rather pristine, double-levelled train of Source Code. Though believability went out of the window for me in the film as soon as Neeson's character was able to greet multiple fellow passengers by name and have them say things like "see you on the return journey" back to him, as that is something that has never really happened to me in over twenty years of commuting! But I suppose you need that sense of familiarity to be able to do all of the paranoia shenanigans of the film to come later on I guess ("Is that fellow who I casually chat to for a minute or two every day actually going to call the police for me if I ask him?", and so on), as questions of who to trust come to the fore!

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#914 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:26 pm

I have just realised that I forgot to mention that BBC4 is showing lady sailing documentary Maiden tonight at 9 p.m.

Also BBC2 is showing repeats of a lot of those Talking Pictures programmes that collect BBC chat-show appearances by big stars from their archives. They are showing double bills of the half hour programme at 1 p.m. every weekday. Today's was Omar Sharif and Jane Fonda. Tomorrow it is Bette Davis/Joan Crawford and Paul Newman; Wednesday is Debbie Reynolds and interviews surrounding On The Waterfront; Thursday is Sophia Loren and John Hurt; and Friday is Laurence Olivier and Alan Rickman.

The BBC have also trailed that they are starting the new, seemingly gender swapped mini-series of The War of the Worlds next Sunday at 9 p.m., immediately following on from His Dark Materials for two hours of high fantasy every Sunday evening! That has interested me in BBC1's output for the first time in years!

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#915 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:39 pm

There is a really strange and bizarre spread of films next week but a few standout items of interest:

Film4 is showing American Fable on Saturday 16th at 11.35 p.m., Sicilian Ghost Story at 1.30 a.m. in the early hours of Tuesday 19th, and Jessica Chastain film Miss Sloane at 9 p.m. on Thursday 21st.

I mentioned above that The War of the Worlds (a three part series) is starting up on Sunday 17th on BBC1 at 9 p.m. straight after His Dark Materials, but BBC4 is also getting in on the fantasy action straight afterwards at 10 p.m. with documentary The Worlds of Ursula K Le Guin. This all clashes against Channel 5 forlornly premiering the 2016 Ben-Hur remake at 8 p.m. (the Radio Times helpfully says that the grandson of John Huston, Jack Huston, is in the main role!). Directed by the guy who made Russian vampire films Night Watch/Day Watch, and the Wanted film! I'm afraid that at the moment I only think about that Red Letter Media video joking about its enormous box office failure at the moment, so I think I will give it a miss as it is sure to be repeated multiple times...or at least next Easter!

BBC4 is showing documentary One Child Nation at 9 p.m. on Monday 18th. And on Tuesday 19th at 9 p.m. they have Greg Davies: Looking For Kes (revisiting locations from the film), followed by filmed stage adaptation Kes: Reimagined at 10 p.m.

Channel 4's Indian film season continues with India meeting China in Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi at 1.50 a.m. on Wednesday 20th. But probably the film of the week is the premiere of Satyajit Ray's 1965 film Kapurush (The Coward) at 2.50 a.m. on Friday 22nd.

Then BBC4 caps off the week with the first two episodes of Country Music by Ken Burns at 9.30 p.m. on Friday 22nd (which clashes with Ben-Hur getting repeated , so I'll miss it all over again!)

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#916 Post by GaryC » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:19 am

colinr0380 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:39 pm
Then BBC4 caps off the week with the first two episodes of Country Music by Ken Burns at 9.30 p.m. on Friday 22nd
It looks like BBC 4 is showing a cut-down version of this series - according to IMDB etc the episodes are around an hour and fifty minutes each (with one of them two and a quarter) but the BBC's so far are fifty minutes each.

The same was the case with Burns and Lynn Novick's Vietnam War series - episodes cut down to an hour each on the BBC. The full versions are currently available on Netflix in the UK.

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#917 Post by jlnight » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:04 am

The Mummy's Shroud, Fri 22nd Nov, Talking Pictures. Also Wed 27th Nov. Or...
Deep End (1970), starts Fri 22nd Nov, London Live. (Previously on Film4.)

Black Island (1979), Sat 23rd Nov, London Live.
Catch Us If You Can, Sat 23rd Nov, Talking Pictures. Also Sat 7th Dec.
The Frighteners, Sat 23rd Nov, Horror.

Cup Fever (1965), Sun 24th Nov, London Live.
Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, all on Sun 24th Nov, Horror. (Repeated during week.)
Goldstone (previously on BBC4), Sun 24th Nov, BBC2. Followed by Paths of Glory.

Cold Case Hammarskjold, Mon 25th Nov, BBC4. (Shown in Storyville strand, recently at LFF 2019.)

The Thames series Hazell started last Friday on Talking Pictures. Co-created by Gordon Williams (the novel version of Straw Dogs) and Terry Venables (Spurs, QPR, England at Euro 96).

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#918 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:38 pm

This has not appeared in the Radio Times for next week, so it is probably a very late decision, but E4 is trailing "brand new" episodes of Rick & Morty from 10 p.m. on Wednesday 20th. Which hopefully can only mean the fourth season episodes less than a week behind the US airings, as they have shown everything else.

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#919 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:13 pm

Not a film per se but another thing that has surprisingly popped up in the schedules without much prior notice: airing right now on BBC2 is a one hour interview with Prince Andrew about the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. Just think that in the 1990s it was a candid chat between Martin Bashir and Princess Di, and now its Emily Maitlis and Prince Andrew that looks likely to define the Royals in media interview terms in the 2010s.

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#920 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:16 pm

The big film next week is I Am Not A Witch on Film4 at 11.15 p.m. on Thursday 28th. Film4 are also premiering Mickey Rourke and Emma Roberts romantic crime comedy (!?!) Ashby at 11.25 p.m. on Tuesday 26th (directed and written by Tony McNamara, who went on to co-write The Favourite!)

Channel 5 is continuing with the strange trend of seemingly hiding a premiere of a poorly received blockbuster by clashing it in the schedules against BBC1's His Dark Materials and War of the Worlds: this week instead of the 2016 Ben-Hur they are showing the Tom Cruise Mummy film, apparently edited for content. That is on at 8 p.m. on Sunday 24th. I have been rather wary of seeing The Mummy since (as with Ben-Hur) seeing the Red Letter Media video of it, though the comment that it takes its cues from American Werewolf in London and LifeForce does intrigue me! In a serendipitious move also on Sunday the Horror Channel are showing all of the classic Universal monster films: Dracula, Frankenstein (which are now the oldest films shown on UK television this year), The Mummy, The Wolf Man and Creature From The Black Lagoon.

Also TV series-wise, BBC4 is showing Series 2 of The Sinner from 9 p.m. on Saturday 23rd. And the documentary in the Storyville slot at 9 p.m. on Monday 25th is Murder in the Bush: Cold Case Hammarskjöld

Repeat-wise, Tarkovsky's Nostalghia is on Film4 at 1.25 a.m. in the early hours of Monday 25th. BBC2 has a few classic musical films on weekday afternoons: Half a Sixpence on Monday; Carmen Jones on Tuesday; Daddy Long Legs on Wednesday; Call Me Madam on Thursday; and Top Hat on Friday.

And there is only one film in Channel 4's Indian film season next week: the premiere of 2011 film Tanu Weds Manu at 2 a.m. on Thursday 28th. Which is bizarre because the 2015 sequel Tanu Weds Manu Returns was shown on Channel 4 two years ago! So we somehow got the sequel (in which the marriage in the first film falls apart) screened on television before the original film!

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#921 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:36 am

I also caught One Child Nation on Monday evening. This was an astonishing film, very important for its attempt to capture the feeling of living through the 35 year period of China's One Child policy between 1979 and 2015 which appears to be in the process of an attempt to sweep it away as being purely a good and necessary thing now, with the propaganda changing (in the wake of an aging, lonely population) to promoting two children instead. But the implications of the film end up going far beyond just China itself.

I loved the way that this film was structured. It is mostly a documentary told by director Nanfu Wang about her experience as a child under the policy, and it shows her going back to China (she moved to the US five years before) and interviewing her parents, aunts and uncles and village leaders about their experiences. This provides the visceral, emotional, first person reactions and recollections that many documentaries rely on (the description by not one but two aunts and uncles of separately abandoning children to die is very upsetting), but the great quality of this film is that it manages to root the director's personal and familial experience in an ever widening context and encompasses the individual villages having to impose these national edicts on their populations (including taking women for forcible sterilisation and even demolishing the houses of people who had more than one child as a punishment) along with the work of midwives and nurses going around villages and performing often forcible sterilisations as well as almost full term abortions and killing foetuses.

This is perhaps the most upsetting part of the whole film, as we get an interview with one nurse who admits to having killed "tens of thousands" of induced babies over her career, and who bluntly states (contrasting against the village elder, among many others, stating that "it was just policy and I was just doing my job, even though I did not like it") that while she is going to be punished in the afterlife for what she has done (blackly comically I think she was even shown to have received a "Labour award" for her diligence at one point!) she has now dedicated herself to helping infertile couples to have children (with entire rooms dedicated to thank you banners from couples with pictures of their baby attached) and that she had heard that apparently one baby born this way might 'make up' for 100 or 1,000 aborted and murdered babies. I am not entirely sure that the maths works out on that, but whatever helps one sleep at night I suppose.

The idea of women actually being hogtied and dragged to the clinics for forcible abortions and sterilisations to be performed was incredibly upsetting as well, and this is when the film dips back into the personal again for emphasis as we get the recollections of Nanfu's mother as sterilisation was apparently suggested for her after her first child, and endorsed by her own mother, until her father argued against it. There is some fascinating ambivalence to the policy going on in the older generations, as Nanfu's mother defends it as 'policy' and to save the country from falling into famine. That is an understandable point (and we get an interview with the Nanfu's grandfather to emphasise the hardships of that time), but to achieve the aim of population reduction in such a brutal manner felt as if it was one extreme to the other. One that tore communities and families apart, as families had to help each other to abandon unwanted babies, or force parents to give up their children, or otherwise punish those who broke the edicts.

The interview with the photographer is probably the most harrowing section of the film, as his initial interest in taking photographs of abandoned areas strewn with rubbish led to him stumbling across more and more induced and killed babies lying in medical waste bags in trash heaps. That led to an obsession with the subject and we see his artfully composed photographs and his paintings of foetuses, as a way of keeping the legacy of all of these babies denied life in the most brutal of ways still known. He even keeps one dead foetus pickled in a jar and talks of the way that he was so moved when he saw that it was still smiling "almost as if it knew it was not going to have to live in China".

After those horrible revelations the film changes tack a little and moves into the section of babies who actually lived and then were abandoned, often dying through neglect. Then it segues into the 'matchmakers', aka baby traffickers who would pay to take a child away 'somewhere'. Then we get the story of an apparently notorious trafficking family who all went to prison for decades and end up feeling some sympathy for them (or at least I did) in the way that they started off just picking up abandoned babies from the city and taking them to orphanages that would pay them for the 'delivery'. It really feels like they were providing a kind of conveyancing service for babies that would otherwise would (and were) left to die, but as middlemen in this situation were quickly thrown to the wolves for their actions when the orphanages (profiting both ways, because they could then sell the babies on through international adoption schemes) got away without censure.

That then moves into the issues of international adoption with American parents being 'duped' into adopting 'orphans', when their parents had always been alive. And the children themselves finding it almost impossible to discover who their actual parents were because of the mysterious circumstances in which they were found or transferred into the orphanage. We get some footage of a couple in this situation who have been admirably trying to piece together family lines through the fragments of information there are available, down to trying to track down people who found a baby (though even there it becomes murky, as apparently on one visit a person they spoke to was just somebody drafted in and given a story to provide to the American guy, which only came out when his Chinese wife re-found her and interviewed her again!)

Then we get to those final scenes getting into the propaganda around the One Child Policy and how it gets internalised, and yet just as quickly now is being abandoned by the state as it promotes its Two Child Policy instead, in a real 1984-esque move of rewriting history. We get perhaps the most devastating shot of the film of Nanfu's grandfather sitting there watching this - not so much for his personal reaction but for the way he could be standing in for many of the previous generations who gave up children (or forced others to give up. Or killed extras to keep families to one child. All those who were at the coal face of the edict) staring open mouthed at this turnabout that had caused so much unspeakable horror. One of the reasons Nanfu states for making this film is to at least have something that cataologues this era (and all the babies that were brutally killed) that is in the process of being consciously forgotten, both by those that want to enforce a new policy (because now there are too few people of working age to provide for the elderly) and by those for whom the past is too painful to want to remember. Nanfu herself talks about having completely bought into all of the propaganda about the One Child Policy being for the best whilst growing up, without fully realising the consequences or hardships that would bring.

The film gets into a few other areas, particularly the one about gender and boys being prized over girls (because of course girls 'go to join other families and lose their family name' as one elderly man bluntly puts it) and Nanfu's own experience of that with her younger brother, born five years later after rules were slightly relaxed to allow for another child after that period of time. Nanfu had always felt 'embarrassed' of having a younger brother when the subject came up in school, whilst for his part the younger brother feels guilt for Nanfu being forced to give up education for him, because of course the boy is the one who needed to be prioritised to get the education (and also there is the section of Nanfu saying that there are no photographs of her with her grandfather, because it is always the male children instead).

And then there is that amazing comment that Nanfu makes at the end that she has left one country which forced women to have abortions only to now be living in the US which has states that prevent women from having abortions, equating both extreme situations together as removing the rights that women should have over their own bodies, to make their own choices and not have it imposed on them. That is a fearless comment in the way that is moves past just arguably 'safely' criticising China from a distance and into issues of bodily autonomy that are still to be fought for in her newly adopted country as well. As well as countering a possible notion that a viewer could be left with that this film is just simply against abortion in any form: it feels that circumstances surrounding application and intent should always be taken into consideration in judging individual cases of abortion rather than pure 'good versus bad' notions applied in the blanket manner to this topic, as with many others.

(I would perhaps go a bit further and say that the rights of a child to be 'wanted' and 'cared for' should be taken into consideration as well, whether that means allowing a woman to have a child or allow her to not keep the child if she feels she cannot provide for it, is important as well. There is no point to be forced to have a child if you are just going to neglect and abuse it. Or conversely you should not be forced to give a child up just because society tells you that you are an unfit parent from an outside perspective: if you can provide love, security and devotion to a entirely new person that you have brought into the world that qualifies one as a parent more than any notions of duty, I feel.

One subject that never gets broached in the film is perhaps the most telling absence of all. It does not seem that promotion of birth control in less brutal manners was ever suggested. I know that there is a fear that condom use (or God forbid, the pill) might promote loose morals, sex for pleasure rather than procreation and promiscuity, but there comes a point where that concern should be overwhelmed by unwanted babies being abandoned or killed en masse! Maybe the One Child Policy might have been a bit less brutal if less money was spent on propaganda operas and signage promoting it and more on providing prophylactics)

This is an absolutely astonishingly powerful film because it keeps drifting from the impersonal take on how the country reacts to and puts into place the policy to the personal one that uses personal comments from the director and family interviews in the most perfect, sparing and not too solipsistic a manner (it is always the danger with 'personal journey' documentaries that it can narrow the discourse down to being entirely one person's story with little application to the wider world). It provides an open ear to the idea of it being a necessary policy, but still nonetheless contrasts that necessity of some future famine due to overpopulation to the human cost here and now (literal, monetarily, and in the toll it takes on the soul). And most impressively I really like the way that the film pushes such horror at the viewer to seemingly let them share the ambivalence in later scenes as they weigh up certain situations as being the lesser of two evils. It is a film which makes illicit child traffickers making scratch from passing along babies seem far more caring than state sanctioned midwives just carrying out their orders.

A lot of the horror of the film is frontloaded, with the second half about trying to reconnect adopted children with their birth parents to let them have a sense of where they came from still being emotionally impactful, but not quite as upsetting as all of the pictures of dead babies lying in dumps or by the side of a river hanging halfway out of medical waste bags from the first half. At least these children are still alive and have some future ahead of them, even if they have had their past identities stripped away, which at least (though it is a very small comfort) is better than the alternate fate they were spared from.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Nov 28, 2019 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jlnight
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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#922 Post by jlnight » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:10 am

Elenya, starts Fri 29th Nov, London Live.

The Cat Gang (1959), Sat 30th Nov, London Live.
Fatal Attraction, Sat 30th Nov, Channel 5.
Guru in Seven, Sat 30th Nov, Talking Pictures. Also late Tue 10th Dec.

Eagle Rock (1964), Sun 1st Dec, London Live.
The Program, Sun 1st Dec, BBC2.

Break-In (short), Mon 2nd Dec, Talking Pictures. Also Thu 5th Dec.
Cosh Boy, late Mon 2nd Dec, Talking Pictures. Also late Sun 8th Dec.

Searching for Ingmar Bergman (Margarethe von Trotta), late Thu 5th Dec, Film4.

Bronco Bullfrog, starts Fri 6th Dec, London Live.

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#923 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:50 pm

Very quiet next week, probably due to it being the run up to Christmas. jlnight has noted the Stephen Frears film about Lance Armstrong, The Program, on BBC2 at 11 p.m. on Sunday 1st (which seems a bit over egged in how absolutely shocking the doping scandal is built up to be. I mean Jan Ullrich had his quite obvious highs and lows in the late 90s that went pointedly unremarked upon at the time, and Marco Pantani was really the point where I became disillusioned with the sport. Armstrong just turbo charged the whole issue). and Searching For Ingmar Bergman on Film4 at 1.35 a.m. (!) on Friday 6th December

The other big film of the week is American Sniper-meets-Hacksaw Ridge-meets the backstory for many male protagonists of a Lifetime Christmas movie film, the unweildy titled Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk directed by Ang Lee on Film4 at 11 p.m. on Tuesday 3rd.

BBC4 is showing The Silence of Others: Facing Franco's Crimes at 10 p.m. on Monday 2nd

And while Rick and Morty Series 4 is continuing on E4 on Wednesday nights, Mr Pickles spin-off Momma Named Me Sheriff is on the usual Adult Swim block on Friday 6th at Midnight.

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#924 Post by jlnight » Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:44 am

The Flood (1963), Sat 7th Dec, London Live.
The Land That Time Forgot, Sat 7th Dec, Talking Pictures. Also Wed 11th Dec.

Friend or Foe (1982), Sun 8th Dec, London Live. (previously on Talking Pictures)

The Return of Swamp Thing, Mon 9th Dec, Horror.
American Honey, Mon 9th Dec, Film4.

Night of the Eagle, Fri 13th Dec, Talking Pictures. Also Mon 16th Dec.
3 Steps to Heaven, Fri 13th Dec, London Live.

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Re: Upcoming Movies on TV (UK)

#925 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:02 pm

It is a bit of a shame that Fatal Attraction, both on recent screenings on Film4 and the one this weekend on Channel 5, has gone back to just showing the standard ending. It might just have been the way I was introduced to the film in a mid-Summer 1995 ITV screening which followed the 'action' ending with the 'suicide and Michael Douglas going to jail' one, but I had been under the impression that this was the only way to truly appreciate Fatal Attraction, by the film splitting off into two parallel universe endings at the climax! I think that mid 90s television screening may even have been my introduction to the whole concept of 'alternative endings', years before DVDs!

Not bad next week. jlnight has noted the biggest film (in sheer running time too!) of the week in Andrea Arnold's American Honey, on Film4 at 10.50 p.m. on Monday 9th. Channel 4 is showing American Assassin at 11.15 p.m. on Saturday 7th.

BBC2 is repeating quite a few films over the weekdays: Maps To The Stars on Monday 9th, François Ozon's Ruth Rendell adaptation The New Girlfriend on Tuesday, I Give It A Year on Thursday (the only non-election material showing on any of the four main channels that evening!) and Marguerite on Friday evening (will the BBC2 announcer manage the feat of not talking all over the final moments of the film, as the BBC4 announcer did when the premiered it a few months back?). All of those repeats are anchored by the premiere of The Edge of Seventeen at 11.15 p.m. on Wednesday 11th.

Channel 5's Christmas themed TV movie barrage is getting all weird. Not just the dog themed double bill of A Christmas Tail and 12 Pups of Christmas on Thursday 12th. But also the tortuously punning Mingle All The Way on Sunday afternoon (starring Lindsay Wagner from Death Stranding!), which in its description about being about the creation of a Christmas themed dating app is worrying me that Christian Mingle: The Movie (aka Christmas Mingle) has spawned a franchise! The bigger fear I have though is that if focused on in detail all of these Christmas TV movies sort of blur into one big mush of keywords. Throw the words "Christmas", "Village", "Merry", "Wish", "Dream", "Enchanted", "Miracle", "Spirit" into a mixer and you'll pretty much create a new title. But it does cause some confusion when wondering if "A Joyous Christmas" is the same title as "Christmas Joy". And Sunday afternoon's premiere of "A Christmas Movie Christmas" is just coming across as over wordy gibberish to my over-Christmased eyes!

Anyway, aside from American Honey, probably the most interesting film of the week is Channel 4's latest entry in its Indian subcontinent film season with Rahm at 2.40 a.m. on Thursday 12th, which is apparently a Pakistan set version of Measure For Measure!

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