Tag Archives: Face/Off

Best films on TV: 13 – 19 May

sunshineThe best film on free-to-air television every day this week, as chosen by genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, podcaster (only one of those is true) Owen Hughes
Monday 13th May – The Outlaw Josey Wales (Channel 5, 11pm)
Not at all like the spaghetti westerns that made Clint so famous, The Outlaw Josey Wales is more of a subtle study of one man as he goes through the grieving process. But don’t worry! There’s still guns, cowboys, Indians and wise-cracks. Eastwood is as cool as ever, if playing a deeper, more human/less cartoonish character than The Man With No Name.
Tuesday 14th May – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Film4, 6.40pm)
Without doubt, the weirdest Star Trek film I’ve seen to date. Directed by Leonard Nimoy (Spok) in true hippy fashion, the crew of the USS Enterprise have to travel back in time to 1980’s Earth to find some humpback whales. A species which have been hunted to extinction in the future. They need the whales to talk to a giant inanimate carbon rod flying through space that is trying to communicate with them, but in doing so is inadvertently destroying planet Earth. Yep. That is the plot. It’s weird, all right. I’m basically only recommending it because of how weird it is. And it’s very weird. Weird.
Wednesday 15th May – Face/Off (BBC3, 10pm)
Often described as John Woo’s last great film, starring Nic Cage as a criminal and John Travolta as a cop until they switch faces, it’s probably not my personal favourite Woo film (Hard Target or Hard Boiled? Not sure which) but is still better than pretty much ever other film on TV on Wednesday. Full of Woo’s ridiculous over-the-top trademarks, complete with doves, slow-mo action scenes and firing two pistols at the same time, it’s a truly great action movie.
Thursday 16th May – The Fighter (Film4, 9pm)
Not one I’ve had the pleasure of watching myself just yet, but I know it’s a podcast favourite so would be hounded out of the team if I didn’t mention it. The Fighter, featuring Oscar winning performances from Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, as well as what I’m led to believe is one of Mark Wahlberg’s finest performances to date, tells the true story of struggling boxer Micky Ward. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly looking forward to it.
Friday 17th May – Beyond Re-Animator (horror channel, 9pm)
Ah, as if I could go a whole week without recommending a horror film. What better than this classic cult b-movie horror? Jeffrey Combs is once again tampering with sciences he shouldn’t in this 3rd installment of the Re-Animator franchise. This time he’s behind bars, and injecting his bright green serum into the cold corpses of inmates using his dubious science. It may not be as good as the original Re-Animator film, but the sheer over-the-top special effects and plot make it worth a watch.
Saturday 18th May – Sunshine (More4, 9pm)
Uh oh, it’s that time of year again. The Eurovision Song Contest. It’s on all night on BBC1. Unfortunately, this means there’ll be nothing good on any other channel as nobody tries to compete for ratings. Fortunately, they decide to show Van Damme films under the illusion they won’t win ratings (Cyborg, Sky1; Derailed, SyFy etc) the fools! However, it also means other films get some air time elsewhere and with plenty to choose from on Saturday, my pick is Danny Boyle’s science fiction belter that is Sunshine, featuring James’ good mate, his old buddy old pal, Benedict Wong.
Sunday 19th May – Shinjuku Incident (Film4, 10.55pm)
Bountiful choice again for what films to watch on Sunday, but my pick is Jackie Chan’s first attempt at playing a more serious and dramatic character back in 2009, after he’d decided he wanted to be an acTOR rather than the comedic kung-fu star he was known as. As an illegal Chinese immigrant in Japan looking for his lost girlfriend, he ends up getting more and more involved in underworld crime. It’s debatable whether you think he manages to pull off this transition from goof-to-great, but at the heart of the film is still an interesting story held together with a well written and developed central character.

On Netflix, indecision, and about five minutes of Face/Off.

You know when you have severely limited time for sitting on your arse watching tv, to the point where you actually kind of forget how to do it? And then when you’re suddenly faced with a free evening on your own, with full access to the remote control, you just panic?

I hate Netflix. I mean, I love it. It’s an incredible achievement. Tell 12 year old me, with her cherished collection of taped off the tv double bills (Dirty Dancing & Uncle Buck, anyone?) that one day she’d be able to watch films on demand. WITHOUT ADVERTS! She’d promptly give up school and commit to an education via the Police Academy franchise.

But it’s hard work, all those films. It’s not like flicking around the tv channels of an evening and landing on ITV2 showing Mission: Impossible III again, and you might as well leave it on as it’s the blowing up the Lamborghini scene soon. This is a billion different films all vying for your attention and you have to pick one. And then watch it without all the while thinking ‘oh, I wish I’d scrolled a little further & found something better.’

The arbitrary categories don’t help. Sports Movies, for example, aren’t guaranteed to all be as heart wrenching as Jerry Maguire. Annoyingly, some of them will just be about sport. I don’t want to be pigeon holed into watching a Romantic Movie (a section which may just as well be renamed ‘J-Lo filmography’) and I can’t watch a Foreign Movie because it’s Friday night and my attention span is small, and how am I supposed to tweet and read subtitles? Also: is the entire Netflix catalogue on these scrolling categories? Or are there extra secret films for people who know what they want to watch, and remember the names of stuff?

I default to Action & Adventure Movies because, well, Die Hard. And I remember Face/Off being good, John Woo and all that. However my thought process throughout goes something like ‘there’s Joan Allen – she was in Pleasantville – with Jeff Daniels – King of Newsroom – I wish there were new Newsroom episodes to watch immediately!’ And then someone on twitter tells me I’d really like teen drama Gilmore Girls, so I have to pause the film and see if it’s on Netflix (it’s not, for shame!) and then I get an email about a hen do I’ve been invited to, which contains a 13 part questionnaire, so then there’s that to deride on all available social networks. And so it goes, to the point where, an hour in, all I’ve really got is Nic Cage’s hilariously manic laughter and a vaguely recurring theme of peaches.

Two hours later I’ve made weekend shopping plans with my mum, had an in depth discussion about nursery rhymes on twitter, and smirked at Nic Cage’s naked arse. There are two fundamental flaws to this movie, one being that they left Sean Archer’s removed face just flopped out on the side, instead of putting it under police protection or at least locking it in a fridge somewhere. The other is that Sean and his wife didn’t have some secret code word for just these situations. Adopting a code phrase to be used in the event of duress is the second rule of marriage, for crying out loud! The first is preparing a Zombie Apocalypse contingency, and the third is not arguing about the washing up.

I could have watched seven episodes of Parks & Recreation in that time. I could’ve made my own personal best of Jim & Pam tribute. I could’ve learnt Latin via the last episode of season two of West Wing. Besides which, as if that distraught family (not a patch on the Bauer clan, by the way) would just adopt Castor Troy’s kid as a replacement for their own dead son. C’mon! Film is slowly losing me to tv, one Over The Rainbow montage at a time.

Suggestions for you to watch now…Braveheart. Oh do fuck off, Netflix.