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TV to watch by tree light
Another good Sunday for cable/DirecTV choice features BC on TV’s all-time favourite horror (*The Shining, 10.05 pm TCM BEST FILM OF THE WEEK), its near-favourite accidental comedy (Glitter, 3 pm HBOF), a great sci-fi action flick (*Looper, 9 pm Max), the Aids drama that won Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey) and Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto) Oscars, and a film that surely will be picked in the future (Dallas Buyers Club, 1.20 pm, 4.20 pm Fox1) and a former Best Picture Oscar-winner (The Hurt Locker, 1.30 pm Fox Action). The week offers a flawed but still intriguing crime twister (A Simple Plan, 5.25 pm tomorrow, Sundance) and a great American Independent (Gimme the Loot, 9 pm Tuesday Sundance). Regretfully, BC on TV is still unable to source advance cable/DirecTV scheduling past Wednesday, leaving Christmas a big guess, apart from the near cert of at least one network airing James Stewart’s wonderful life.
Today’s best film:
Shrek (Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jenson/ 2001/ USA/ Animation-Adventure-Comedy-Fantasy/ 90 mins/ PG for some crude humour and mild language), 1.05 pm today Fox Family. Watch this if you liked Toy Story, Shark Tale or Finding Nemo. The sequels have maintained the very high standard of the original but the first is always most memorable. With a better script than most modern films, crackling performances from Mike Myers imitating Billy Connolly and Eddie Murphy as the wise-ass ass—his best role since Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop—and the rest make this an exceptional film. Hard to top Dreamworks’ own tag line: the prince isn’t charming, the princess isn’t sleeping, the sidekick isn’t helping, the ogre is the hero: fairy tales will never be the same again.
Rest of the week:
Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tim Burton/ 2007/ UK-USA/ Horror-Musical-Thriller-Fantasy/ 116 mins/ R for graphic bloody violence), 8 pm Tuesday DirecTV Channel. Watch this if you liked Pan’s Labyrinth, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride or Kill Bill Vol I. The kind of musical you’d expect Tim Burton to make: one filled with buckets of gore, sliced throats set to music and a stunning songbook, as clever as it is macabre. Almost by lagniappe, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman are amazing in the lead roles—but the violence is extreme, superbly done and deeply disturbing; assume nightmares as the price of viewing.
The Polar Express (Robert Zemeckis/ 2004/ Animation-Adventure-Christmas-Family/ 100 mins/ G), 8.15 pm Christmas Eve HBO Family. Watch this if you liked Hugo, The Nightmare Before Christmas or The Grinch. The first all-digital film to earn almost mandatory Christmastime scheduling, Robert “Back to the Future” Zemeckis teams up again with Tom “Forrest Gump” Hanks to make a film that both captures the spirit of Christmas and maximises modern technology to build atmosphere, most notably excitement (particularly in the exterior train sequences). Despite the very strong visuals, only a few of its awards or nominations were for animation; still, it captures the Christmas feel remarkably. One for the family to watch by the lights of the tree.
Also look out for:
Mon: *Warm Bodies, 7.20pm Fx1; Tues: Mad Max II: The Road Warrior, 3.50pm Max; Wed: M.A.S.H., 9pm FxCl.
*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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