Films of the week: Nostalgic nod to Spielberg takes us back to spool
Saturday 01 December 2012
1.35pm & 9pm Sky Movies Sci-Fi/horror
(JJ Abrams, 2011) Super 8 is a family-friendly monster movie that's unashamedly nostalgic for the cinema of its own producer, Steven Spielberg, and has the same irresistible mix of action and dewy-eyed sentimentality. It's about a gang of friends who, in between BMXing, building Airfix models and feeling the pangs of first love, investigate some strange goings on in their small Ohio steel town. Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning star. ****
11.45am & 8pm Sky Movies Premiere
(Steven Soderbergh, 2011) "Disaster movie" seems too small a phrase for a film in which 8 per cent of the world's population might be killed by a virus. But with its all-star cast, multiple story strands and the urgently contemporary vibe, a disaster movie is just what Contagion is. Unlike the classics of the Seventies, however, there isn't any grand-scale spectacle to enjoy – just clammily convincing detail. Kate Winslet stars. ***
The Big Picture
(Eric Lartigau, 2010) After a violent confrontation with the man whom he suspects of being his wife's lover, a Parisian lawyer (Romain Duris) abandons his life and begins again as a photographer in Montenegro. An understated but intriguing existential identity thriller, a little in the manner of The Talented Mr Ripley, this had a better title in French: L'homme qui voulait vivre sa vie. ***
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
(Mike Nichols, 1966) James Mason and Bette Davis may have been the original choices, but the casting of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor added an extra frisson to this screen version of Edward Albee's then-controversial, still compulsively revealing play about a warring couple on a New England college campus. Shot in close-up and unforgiving black-and-white by Haskell Wexler. ****
(Alma Har'el, 2011) Briefly a thriving holiday destination, Bombay Beach is now a derelict, ramshackle place – practically a ghost town – on the edge of a lake in the Californian desert. This beautifully shot hybrid documentary is at once a lament for the American dream and a weirdly moving, frequently surprising tribute to the loose community of impoverished outsiders who still call the area home. ****
(Brian De Palma, 1987) There is historical basis to it, but the script for this drama pitting incorruptible lawman Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) against Al Capone (Robert De Niro) comes from Ness's autobiography by way of David Mamet, and there was the early-Sixties television show to take account of too. The result is pure, archetypal gangster cinema; very slick and stylishly orchestrated. ****
Midnight in Paris
10am & 9.45pm Sky Movies Premiere
(Woody Allen, 2011) Owen Wilson plays a Hollywood screenwriter who slips, Purple Rose of Cairo-style, into the Twenties Paris of Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds. Being able to exude sincerity without seeming to take roles more seriously than they deserve, he is exactly the right man to star in this whimsical comic fantasy, which has become the highest-grossing of Woody Allen's career. ***
Arts & Ents blogs
Dennis Hopper's lost sixties photo album found
What are the best first lines in fiction?
EDL Girls: Don't Call Me Racist, BBC3 - TV review: EDL Angel gets into a right muddle
Russell Crowe's Noah banned in three Arab countries before worldwide premiere
Call The Midwife: Jessica Raine leaves in series three finale
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Bad cattitude: Family call police after crazed and 'hostile cat with a history of violence' attacks baby before attempting to 'flee custody'
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering 'terrifying' nest of spiders in bananas
- 3 First Kiss: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 4 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 5 Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow