Films of the week: Film4's screening of Withnail & I is a fitting tribute to man who gave full Monty

 

Friday

Withnail & I

12.20am Film4

(Bruce Robinson, 1987) The late Richard Griffiths will be most fondly remembered by many fans for playing the deliciously fruity Uncle Monty in Bruce Robinson's semi-autobiographical film about a pair of out-of-work actors (Richard E Grant and Paul McGann) at the tail end of the Sixties. Consistently brilliant; hilarious and at the same time terribly sad; foul-mouthed, and yet enormously literate. *****

Saturday

Young Frankenstein

12.25am Film4

(Mel Brooks, 1974) It's pronounced "Fronkensteen", insists the US-born grandson of the more famous Dr Frankenstein, in an effort to distance himself from his ancestor's crime against nature. Then he inherits the old castle and history repeats itself as riotous farce, stuffed with silly gags and wordplay. Mel Brooks gets the look of the old Thirties Universal horrors he's spoofing exactly right. Gene Wilder and Teri Garr star. ****

Sunday

Toy Story

12.10pm ITV2

(John Lasseter, 1995) The first fully computer-animated feature film set an exceptionally high standard that the genre has only occasionally matched since. The animators' plasticky, hyperrealist style found perfect expression in a story about the secret lives of a child's toys; and the writers crafted a story full of heart, wit and adventure, about friendship and self-discovery. Featuring the voice of Tom Hanks. *****

Monday

Five Easy Pieces

12.05pm & 8pm Sky Movies Select

(Bob Rafelson, 1970) This free-wheeling character study is of its time, in ways good and bad. It was one of the key films of the "New Hollywood" of the 1970s, and turned Jack Nicholson from a counterculture icon into a movie star. He plays a once-promising concert pianist who has dropped out of his upper-class life in order to work the oil rigs of southern California, drink, and argue with his waitress girlfriend (Karen Black). ****

Tuesday

LA Confidential

10pm ITV4

(Curtis Hanson, 1997) A stylish and poised adaptation of one of James Ellroy's crime novels, this stars Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey and Guy Pearce as three policemen with very different modus operandi, all working the same murder case while dealing with corruption amid the LAPD of the Fifties. Rarely have the city's glamour and seedy side been examined so thoroughly in the same film. ****

Wednesday

Munich

11.05pm BBC1

(Steven Spielberg, 2005) Steven Spielberg's fictionalised reconstruction of "Operation Wrath of God", the Israeli government's unofficial response to the 1972 killing of the country's Olympic athletics team by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, is a very powerful, surprisingly gritty examination of the depressingly cyclical exchange between terrorism and retaliatory state violence. Eric Bana and Geoffrey Rush star. ****

Thursday

Away We Go

12.30am Film4

(Sam Mendes, 2009) A looser, lighter film than the dramas for which Sam Mendes is better known, this indie-sensibility road movie follows a happy, and pregnant couple while they visit various old friends. The script, by the hip husband-and-wife writers Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida is drenched in irony, but still has a touching faith in the power of love. John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph and Maggie Gyllenhaal star. ****

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