Films of the Week: Upriver journey into the insane world of warfare

 

Monday

Apocalypse Now

11pm ITV4

(Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) The result of an arduous three-year shoot, Francis Ford Coppola's hallucinatory Vietnam war film is an epic in every respect, save that it retains the simple plot of its source novella, Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Helicopters and Wagner; napalm and the Doors; Marlon Brando and TS Eliot: these are some of cinema's most indelible combinations of light and sound. Martin Sheen stars. *****

Saturday

Haywire

10pm Sky Movies Premiere

(Steven Soderbergh, 2011) Previously known only to fans of mixed martial arts or American Gladiators, Gina Carano became a credible action-movie star after Steven Soderbergh devised this stylish post-Bourne spy thriller to show off her talents. She plays a contract killer who has been betrayed by one of the lethally charming men in her life: Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor or Antonio Banderas. ****

Sunday

The Devil's Backbone

9.55pm BBC4

(Guillermo del Toro, 2001) Guillermo del Toro's superior gothic chiller is set in a sun-baked, loyalist-run orphanage during the Spanish Civil War, and filters the horror of conflict through the viewpoint of a puzzled and scared 10-year-old boy. It is part poetic political allegory, part sensitive coming-of-age drama and part old-fashioned ghost story. Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega and Fernando Tielve star. ****

Tuesday

The Market

1.55am BBC2

(Ben Hopkins, 2008) A neo-realist comic fable, more in keeping with the British director's documentary 37 Uses for a Dead Sheep than his oddball features Simon Magus and The Nine Lives of Thomas Katz, The Market is about the escapades of a small-time Turkish wheeler-dealer with a scheme to profit from the black market for medicines in mid-Nineties Azerbaijan. Tayanc Ayaydin and Genco Erkal star. ****

Wednesday

Silent Light

1.20am Film4

(Carlos Reygadas, 2007) Opening with a beautiful six-minute static shot of the sun rising over a north Mexico Mennonite settlement, this is an appropriately ascetic and unhurried, and yet quietly powerful depiction of the Mennonite way of life, and of a married man struggling to reconcile his religious and moral impulses with the fact that he's in love with another woman. Maria Pankratz and Cornelio Wall star. ****

Thursday

The Inbetweeners Movie

9pm Channel 4

(Ben Palmer, 2011) Following in a proud tradition of big-screen sitcom spin-offs, the boys go on a package holiday and get up to the same sort of hijinks that they would have on television, but with stronger swear words and more gross-out comedy. Luckily, their combination of neediness and idiocy is somehow endearing, and this was one of the biggest hits at the UK box office last year. ***

Friday

The Godfather: Part III

9pm More4

(Francis Ford Coppola, 1990) Just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in: 16 years after Don Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) was last seen, in that chilling final shot of The Godfather: Part II, Francis Ford Coppola provided a grandiose coda to his mafia saga. Judged on its own merits, it's an ambitious, handsome gangster movie. But it was never going to be judged that way. ***

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