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Big-time hustle

Sunday, February 9, 2014

An abundance of Sunday choice includes five former picks in the Also-Rans today (Looper, 2.45 pm HBO, *Grosse Pointe Blank, 8 am HBOC, Lord of the Rings 2: The Two Towers, 3.30 pm HBOF, *Smashed, 2.10 pm Max, *Das Boot, 2.50 pm TCM) and a Sean Penn/Michael J Fox vehicle that almost got picked (Casualties of War, 8.45 pm MaxW). The week offers a superabundance of Also-Rans, including a great conversation-only art film (Before Sunset, 5.30 pm MaxW), QT at, or at least near, his best (*Django Unchained, 3.10 pm HBO), a strong antiwar Vietnam film (Coming Home, 10.05 pm Wednesday and again at 3 pm Thursday TCM) a Jude Law/Julia Roberts vehicle strong enough for Natalie Portman to carry Clive Owen in the back seat (Closer, 4 pm and again at 9 pm Monday HBO), an excellent Western (Once Upon a Time in the West, 5 pm Friday TCM) an excellent alternative Western (*Brokeback Mountain, 8.30 pm Friday MaxW) and a pretty steamy historically accurate period piece (The Other Boleyn Girl, 4pm Friday MaxW).


Today’s best film: American Hustle (David O Russell/2013/USA/ Crime-Drama/138 mins/Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence) BEST FILM OF THE WEEK 8 pm today and the rest of the week, late shows 11 pm Friday and Saturday, MovieTowne, Invaders Bay. Watch this if you liked The Sting, The Counsellor or The Bank Job. The director of Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter turns his hand to the caper flick and turns in a seamless, fast-paced film crammed with excellent performances and with the hottest rock ‘n’ roll/ R&B soundtrack since The Departed, to boot. Jennifer Lawrence won the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe as Christian Bale’s wife, but it is Bale himself, as the small time conman looking to go big, and Amy Adams as his co-conspirator, who really shine—even though Bradley Cooper, Lawrence’s co-lead in Silver Linings, is also magnificent in a strong supporting role. Add a script that keeps you guessing but doesn’t fudge the resolutions in the least and you have a great experience. This may be your last chance to see it on the big screen, too.



Today and rest of the week: Good Day for a Hanging (Nathan Juran/1959/USA/Western/85 mins/G), 9.50 am and 7.30 pm today Enc3. Watch this if you liked High Noon, 3.10 to Yuma or The Ox-Bow Incident. Fred MacMurray is probably best remembered for his role of the long-suffering father in early black-and-white TV’s My Three Sons but he made a couple of excellent films, including a contender for Best Film Noir Ever (Double Indemnity) and this top-notch film that touches the second and third most enduring themes of the Western: what is justice, really, and who is the outlaw, really. As the sheriff doing his best to ensure a suspected criminal is not lynched, MacMurray is excellent in the most enduring Western theme of them all: the individual standing alone for what is right. Excellent.


Marley (Kevin Macdonald/2012/UK/Documentary-Biography-Music/144 mins/Rated PG-13 for drug content, thematic elements and some violent images) 10 pm Tuesday and again at 6.20 pm Thursday Max. Watch this if you liked Hear My Train A’ Coming, The Upsetter: The Life and Times of Lee Scratch Perry or This Is It. Once you get past the non-issue that a Jamaican or at least a West Indian should have made the definitive biography of the English-speaking Caribbean’s most famous son, the film that opened the 2012 T&T Film Festival is as close to perfect as documentary films get. The use of the music ranges from poignant through dramatic to electrifying and the filmmaker allows the story to be told without intruding at all. Excellent. Best of the rest: Mon: Prince of Tides, 5.25 pm TCM; Tues: Breakfast at Tiffanys, 3 pm TCM; Wed: Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, 9 pm HBOC; Thurs: Alice in Wonderland, 8 pm HBOF; Fri: Wild Bill, 9 pm Enc3; Sat: Range Beyond the Blue, 7 am Enc3.


*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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