Films of the week (19/05/2012): The future is bleak in Scott’s definitive cut

 

Film choice

Wednesday:

Blade Runner

7.55AM & 10.40PM Sky Movies Sci-fi/Horror

(Ridley Scott, 1982) This 2007 "Final Cut" of Ridley Scott's philosophical 1982 sci-fi noir thriller isn't substantially different from the 1992 "Director's Cut", just digitally spruced up so that it continues to look gorgeous and of the future. Harrison Ford stars as a man (and don't listen to people who'll tell you otherwise) who has grown weary of his job killing enslaved androids. Rutger Hauer, Sean Young and Daryl Hannah also star.

Saturday:

A Cock and Bull Story

12.30am BBC2

(Michael Winterbottom, 2006) Adapting Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy in the only way possible – very loosely and with plenty of irreverence – Michael Winterbottom's film is a mock behind-the-scenes documentary of his own efforts to film the unfilmable novel, with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan riffing versions of themselves, and cameos by other stars of British television comedy. Great fun.

Sunday:

Sugar

12.30am BBC2

(Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, 2008) This brilliant social-realist character study by the writer-directors of Half-Nelson looks at the temptations and challenges facing a sensitive, non-English-speaking youngster from the Dominican Republic when he arrives in Kansas in the hope of making it as a pro baseball player. It's a film with a complex, bittersweet flavour, about waking up from the American dream.

Monday:

The Conformist

12.50am Film4

(Bernardo Bertolucci 1970) Bernardo Bertolucci's epic period thriller, about fascism, morality, politics and sexual perversity, is a beautifully composed, intellectually gripping film, and a high point of his career. Jean-Louis Trintignant stars as a weak-willed aristocrat in Mussolini's Italy, persuaded to use his honeymoon in Paris as an opportunity to assassinate an exiled dissident.

Tuesday:

The Exorcist

11.05pm ITV4

(William Friedkin, 1973) A horror about the violent exorcism of Satan from the body of a young girl in Seventies Washington DC, The Exorcist reportedly made members of its initial audiences faint and, when adjusted for inflation, is still among the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time. So there's obviously something to it, even if it does now seem overwrought and to take itself too seriously.

Thursday:

Victim

11.25am More4

(Basil Dearden, 1961) At no small risk to his status as a matinee idol, Dirk Bogarde took the role of a gay barrister going after blackmailers who've threatened to expose him, and played it with such dignity that the film is credited with helping bring an end to Britain's anti-sodomy laws. It is a quaint but still richly rewarding noir thriller, as well as a historically significant one.

Friday:

Beginners

9.45pm Sky Movies Premiere

(Mike Mills, 2010) Ewan McGregor plays Oliver, an unmarried graphic artist reminiscing about his late father (Christopher Plummer) in this drama; part indie romance, part autobiographical essay on the subjects of love and death, fathers and sons, and how Oliver's generation has more freedom than his father's had to love who and how they want, and how that freedom can feel like a mixed blessing.

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