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The cream of this crop

Published: 
Sunday, July 14, 2013
The Adventures of Tintin brings The Secret of the Unicorn to the big screen.

School is out and so, it seems, is the movie choice. With Movie City programming newly difficult to access online (a situation BC on TV hopes to remedy this week), also-rans today are limited to the dependable Harry Potter franchise (…and the Chamber of Secrets, 10.10 am HBOF), a decent Disney animated family flick, (The Incredibles,10.15 am MaxW) and a couple of well-preserved, newly-designated-classic flicks, one police (Beverly Hills Cop, 1 pm TCM) and one vampire (The Lost Boys, 10 pm TCM). The week offers last week’s best film (*The Artist, 5 pm Tuesday Max) and a gritty, depressing drama that might have got the best film nod this week, had it not been picked recently (*21 Grams, 5.45 pm Wednesday MaxW).

 

 

Today’s best film: The Adventures of Tintin (Steven Spielberg/ 2011/ USA-New Zealand/ Action-Animated-Thriller/ 107 mins/ PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking), 7 pm today and again Tuesday 9 pm and Thursday 5.15 pm HBOF. Watch this if you liked Raiders of the Lost Ark, Hugo or Toy Story. For anyone who’s read the source comics, the movie brings The Secret of the Unicorn to big screen life in a way that will not disappoint—apart from the odd “enhancement.” For those completely ignorant of the French Herge’s young English reporter-adventurer, the special effects and the action will thrill. The animation, though different, is as pleasing and as distinctive as the book art. If it’s not quite as captivating as Hugo, it almost matches Raiders for thrills.

 

 

Rest of the week: Hombre (Martin Ritt/ 1967/ USA/ Drama-Western-Thriller/ 111 mins/ Unrated, probably PG), 4.35 pm Tuesday Turner Classic Movies BEST FILM OF THE WEEK. Watch this if you liked Cool Hand Luke, The Wild Bunch or 3.10 to Yuma. A great, offbeat Western includes a contender for Paul Newman’s best role as the white man raised by Apaches who chooses to live and die on his own terms. Based on an Elmore Leonard novel, the story itself is top notch and the performances are even better. The direction is as close to flawless as it gets. They really don’t make ‘em like this any more. The Fast & Furious XLIII crowd should be aware there are no car crashes but anyone who enjoyed O-level English should love it.

 

 

Von Ryan’s Express (Mark Robson/ 1965/ USA/ Adventure-War/ 117 mins/ PG), 6 pm Friday Turner Classic Movies. Watch this if you liked The Dirty Dozen, The Eagle Has Landed or The Great Escape. This Frank Sinatra POW escape flick begins in Bridge Over the River Kwai mode but soon accelerates into all-out The Great Escape adventure territory as the entire population of a WWII Italian war prisoner camp escapes, stealing German uniforms and a whole train on the way. Splashes of humour lighten tension-filled scenes and even Sinatra is good. Far grittier than any La-La Land, pre-Watts riots Hollywood movie could reasonably be expected to be, particularly in the last frames.

 

 

Best of the rest: Mon: Breaking and Entering, 10 pm MaxW; Tues: Batman, 4 pm HBO; Wed: *Horrible Bosses, 6.125 pm HBOC; Thurs: Alice in Wonderland, 9 pm HBOC;  Fri: Out of Africa, 8 pm TCM; Sat: Major Dundee, 5.30 pm TCM. *Starred films have been chosen in the last three months. Scheduled Internet times often vary on the day, particularly around month-end. 

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