TV Films

By Philip Matthews In Uncategorized

Print Share
25th March, 2006 Leave a Comment


Murder by Numbers, TV2, 8.30pm. “By numbers”? They just make a critic’s job too easy. With Michael Pitt (Last Days) and Ryan Gosling as soulless killers and Sandra Bullock as a soulless cop. (2002) 4

My Best Friend’s Wedding, TV3, 8.30pm. A lesser film with Julia Roberts and a wedding – less Pretty Woman than Runaway Bride, in other words. Here, Roberts is a resolute spanner in the relationship of Cameron Diaz and Dermot Mulroney, while Rupert Everett skulks away with what’s left of the film. (1997) 4

Saving Private Ryan, Sky Movies 1, 8.30pm. War sure is hell. A valentine to the generation of sacrifice, and set within an unfortunate and unnecessary return-to-the-killing-fields-50-years-on frame, Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan is justifiably famous for its gut-wrenching opening in which the storming of Normandy is graphically re–created and all notions of the romance of war fly out the window. For a little while, anyway – before long, it settles into something more traditional and sincere as Tom Hanks leads a crew of men in search of the Private Ryan of the title. (1998) 8

Boiler Room, TV2, 11.00pm. The young masters of the universe in Boiler Room unwind by watching Wall Street, which they treat as a kind of founding document. Of course, they love Michael Douglas’s ruthless capitalist monster Gordon Gekko, not Charlie Sheen’s morally confused corporate foot-soldier. This movie’s Gekko is Ben Affleck, who puts his air of inpenetrable smugness and sense of entitlement to use. In the lead is the talented Giovanni Ribisi, whose character moves from running an illegal casino to working in a stock brokerage – although, of course, the difference is negligible. Like Wall Street, this was the product of an age in which a boom was so pronounced that all involved felt invincible – run it as a triple bill with that vicious satire of the Wall Street-era, American Psycho, and the compelling boom-and-bust doco (2000) 6

SUNDAY March 26

My Big Fat Greek Wedding, TV2, 8.30pm. Never ones to miss a trick, Hollywood power couple Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson produced this movie, expanded from the one-woman show of Greek-American actress Nia Vardalos, and, in a parallel with the Cinderella story it tells, made it into a megahit. Like a Greek Bridget Jones, Vardalos’s Toula is lousy with the single life, while the background is her particular ethnic experience – she works in a restaurant called Dancing Zorbas; everyone is forever eating baklava – but played tepid and sitcom-conventional. Veteran TV sitcom director Joel Zwick is at the helm, but the secret weapon is probably John Corbett as the unlikely Wasp love interest. (2002) 4

The Rage: Carrie 2, TV2, 10.25pm. Somewhere between a sequel and a remake, this Carrie has Emily Bergl as Rachel – no, that wouldn’t have been a very scary title for a horror movie – the sister of Sissy Spacek’s character. You remember: the sister that wasn’t depicted or even referred to in the original film. Apart from that, it’s join the dots until all heck breaks loose at the school prom. Again. You’d think those kids would have learnt by now. (1999) 2

Felicia’s Journey, TV3, 10.55pm. Atom Egoyan (Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter) adapts William Trevor’s story of an Irish girl lost in England and preyed upon by a too-nice-seeming bachelor and makes it both typically complex – Egoyan loves multiple time-frames and crossing to video footage – and hauntingly sad. The sadness is due mostly to the memorable performance of Elaine Cassidy as the dazed and confused Felicia and the fussy, creepy details of Bob Hoskins’s work as Hilditch the bachelor. (1999) 8

MONDAY March 27

Hannibal, TV3, 8.30pm. In Ridley Scott’s vacuous and grotesque Silence of the Lambs sequel, Jodie Foster is replaced by Julianne Moore. Hannibal Lecter runs free in Florence, curating a Renaissance library, hissing threats into phones, dining on brains … the usual. Anthony Hopkins’s Lecter is as hammily monstrous as ever, but the film’s moral scheme is entirely out of whack as Scott concentrates almost exclusively on the film’s aesthetic scheme: the set design, the gothic ambience. It’s a film in which honking pigs dine on the decadent food of the super-rich – and somewhere in that image is a metaphor for the movie as a whole. (2001) 5

Monster, Sky Movies 2, 8.30pm. Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992), the first of two Nick Broomfield documentaries about Wuornos, adroitly summarised the media feeding frenzy around America’s first female serial killer. Twelve years later, that frenzy reached an improbable climax when South African model-turned-actress Charlize Theron won an Oscar for her devoted portrayal of Wuornos in Monster. In Monster, Wuornos is partially vindicated as the victim of lifelong abuse – sexual, emotional – who passed that abuse on. Broomfield’s other doco, The Life and Death of a Serial Killer, is more detailed about this background, as Monster is limited by its focus as a tragic love story between Wuornos and Selby (Christina Ricci), a love story tender enough to make this hellish dirge the romance of the year: Selby nags and Wuornos provides. By killing. (2003) 8

25th March, 2006 Leave a Comment

More by Philip Matthews

Post a Comment

You must be to post a comment.

Switch to mobile version