Tag Archives: The Searchers

Best Films on TV: Christmas to New Year 2015

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Every 23rd December, for the past three years, we have released our pick of the films being shown on freeview TV over the Christmas schedule. Last year’s choices were made by Paul Field, but returning to this Failed Critics Christmas tradition is site editor Owen Hughes. It practically guarantees less Carry On movies and probably more big budget blockbusters…

A couple of years ago, we were regularly posting lists of films that we would recommend for the week ahead. Oh, how times have changed. It seems these days that with the rise of Netflix and other streaming services, we’re less bothered about waiting for films to be shown on TV and instead watching whatever we want, whenever we want. Which is great! Except that it’s reduced these articles to annual posts.

Nevertheless, I’ve had a look through the TV schedule to see what tat is being pushed on us this year and tried to sift out some of the dross (although Steve will be pleased to know that The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is being shown on Christmas day at 11am) and chosen five decent-to-good movies each day in the run up to 2016.

Christmas Eve –

Finishing work early tomorrow? Want something to just stick on when you walk through the door to get you in a Christmassy mood? Well, stick Channel 4 on at 2.15pm and get straight into the classic It’s A Wonderful Life. Alternatively, if you’re sick of that bloody film already, try out the Robert Zemeckis animated A Christmas Carol over on BBC One at 2.20pm (it’s the version that I talked about on our Winterval Podcast this week). If you prefer your Scrooge’s to be real rather than cartoony, then stay up wrapping last minute presents until half past midnight for the 1951 version on Channel 5 starring Alastair Sim as the miserly grump. For those of us who relate a bit too much to Ebenezer, and can’t be arsed with this Christmas nonsense – bah humbug – then watch Karl Urban as the Mega-City One Judge, jury and executioner in Dredd on Film4 at 11.25pm or switch over to BBC Two five minutes later for one of Hitchcock’s best with Dial M For Murder.

Christmas Day –

We’ve had two of the most well known adaptations of Dickens’ novel, so why not start the afternoon with Channel 4 and give the other two a watch on Christmas day itself? Starting at 1.45pm with The Muppet Christmas Carol, they swiftly follow it up at 3.45pm with Bill Murray doing his thing in Scrooged. Later that evening, BBC Three have a double bill of animated movies that are safe to watch with granny, the kids, your other half or on your todd with Toy Story at 7.30pm and How To Train Your Dragon straight after it at 8.45pm. For something not at all schmalzy, sentimental or saccharine, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until much, much later in the evening as the Coen Brothers change the mood entirely at 00.05am on ITV4 with the hilarious 90’s comedy The Big Lebowski. Or, like, that’s just my opinion that it’s hilarious, man…

JURASSIC PARK, 1993. ©Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

Boxing Day –

It may be somewhat twee, and I’m aware Wes Anderson isn’t for everyone, but if there’s a better film on TV for you to crawl out of your hangover with after getting up extremely late than Fantastic Mr Fox on Channel 4 at 11.25am, then I couldn’t find it. You can time it right to fit in a quick turkey sarnie and a fresh cuppa between it finishing and Jurassic Park starting over on ITV at 1.20pm, reminding you just how good the original was after Jurassic World swept the box office clean earlier this year. Really though, you should be watching the football. I believe that’s what Boxing Day was invented for. Once Final Score has finished, switch over to the horror channel at 6.40pm for the intense Spielberg thriller, Duel. Film4 can round off a very late evening with two modern British classics in crime thriller Sexy Beast (11.25pm) and Scottish sci-fi – and one of our favourite movies of 2014 – Under The Skin (1.10am).

Sunday 27th –

That’s the Christmas movies well and truly out of the way now and it’s Studio Ghibli to the rescue as we kick off the day with one of their most celebrated works, the charming My Neighbour Totoro. Flick over to Channel 5 at 2.25pm to see one of the greatest movies ever made, John Ford’s most revered western, The Searchers, starring the Duke himself, John Wayne. Starting at 4.05pm on BBC One is a fantasy movie returning to where it all began with Oz: The Great and the Powerful, which is actually quite a nice, funny little family movie. You can choose how you’d like to round off the day with one of the following two. Personally, I’d go for one of my favourite discoveries of the year, Cronenberg’s body-horror Videodrome (the horror channel, 10.50pm) over Channel 4’s showing of The Inbetweeners 2 at 11.10pm, that both Steve and Callum tore to pieces.

Monday 28th –

You maniacs! You haven’t yet set your reminder! Ah, damn you! Goddamn you all to Hell! Well, at least until Monday morning at 10.15am when you switch on More4 and watch the original Planet of the Apes – AND THEN later that day you’ll be fully prepared for Film4’s 6.55pm screening of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. At 8.30pm on BBC Three is Kung Fu Panda 2 (read why that’s a good thing in Callum’s brilliant piece from his DreamWorks retrospective). For something a little more… grown up… Steven Soderbergh’s movie Behind The Candelabra (BBC Two, 9pm) features one of Michael Douglas’s best ever performances. Finally, if the forgettable Terminator Genisys hasn’t already disappeared entirely from your memory, then James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day will wipe the last remnants from your mind on Film4 at 1.15am.

Tuesday 29th –

Channel 4, 2.30pm, Coraline. Film4, 6.10pm, Master & Commander. ITV2, 9pm, The Shawshank Redemption. ITV, 10.25pm, American Pie. My pick of the lot: Channel 5, 10.45pm, Erin Brockovich. That’s your lot. We’re running out of quality films on TV as the year comes to a close and I’m running out of patience trying to make these films sound interesting. However, if you think Tuesday’s films read a lot like a list of movies you’re glad that you’ve seen once but probably have no intention of ever watching again, just wait until you see what’s lined up for Wednesday…

Wednesday 30th –hobbit

We’ve got a run that starts with ITV2 at 5.45pm and Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth (that I actually thought was quite enjoyable) with The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyFilm4 will help change the tone to something surprisingly fun with Denzel and Wahlberg teaming up for crime-comedy Two Guns at 9pm. Tune into the horror channel at 10.45pm for some Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse horror at Planet Terror. Furious 7 may have already been voted for in quite a number of people’s submissions to the Failed Critics Awards, but Channel 4 go back a couple of sequels to Fast Five at 11.05pm. Afterwards, prepare for Joy with Film4’s showing of The Fighter at 1.10am.

Thursday 31st –

And here we are! New Year’s Eve and what better way to see off 2015 than with, er, well, The Adventures of TinTin on BBC One at 10.55am. (That was a rhetorical question. Don’t answer that.) More adventures are afoot with a rare screening of The Rocketeer on Channel 4 at 1.10pm and – a Pixar film guaranteed to make you cry – Up, over on BBC One at 2.50pm. I will be at a New Years party by this time (oooh get me) but if you fancy a night in watching movies to bring in 2016, then BBC4 honour Bob Hoskins, who sadly passed away this year, with Made In Dagenham at 10.55pm. Film4 are going slightly more modern and again doing the whole David O. Russell / Jennifer Lawrence / Bradley Cooper / Robert De Niro thing and are showing Silver Linings Playbook at 11.10pm.

The Week in Film – 5 October 2014: I Am Legend, Pilgrim

Plenty of news has happened in the past week. Today’s article is brought to you by the words ‘franchise’ and ‘retrofit’.

by Steve Norman (@StevePN86)

I Am, Wait for It, Legend

the searchersWe often speak of reboots in this column but this week we are talking about a retrofit.

After deciding that there is no real sensible way to do a prequel or sequel to Will Smith’s I Am Legend Warner Bros have just decided to release another version by converting a screenplay known as The Garden at the End of the World which was meant to be an adaptation of  the John Wayne flick The Searchers?

With me? No? Well I am not with me either.

The last I Am Legend, starring Smith, was a good effort, except for the ending which a) wasn’t the original one and b) nothing like the book ending. Smith put in a very good performance in what was an average yet watchable movie.

That thought, and this new effort, will not top Charlton Heston’s Omega Man. Nor Vincent Price’s The Last Man On Earth for that matter!

Tetris

I often claim that Hollywood has run out of original ideas with sequels, prequels, retrofits and reboots being the order of the day. However with the news that Tetris is set to be made into a movie I have changed my mind. Maybe original ideas should be banned if this is what is being considered.

Many video games and toys have been turned into movies, including Lego, Super Mario and Tomb Raider and Battleship, but a film about different shaped, different coloured blocks, falling into the correct gaps and holes with no characters, plot or story is pathetic.

Really?

So a Baywatch movie with Dwayne Johnson in the lead role, sans a Hasselhoff cameo, is in the pipeline?

A Baywatch movie appears to be an original idea but yet another bad one.

The Doctor is Out

Marvel’s desire to introduce more and more new characters in their ever expanding universe hit a bit of a snag after Joaquin Phoenix dropped out of talks to play comic book hero Doctor Strange.

The film is pencilled in for a summer release in 2016, under two years away so the Marvel team need to get a shuffle on casting their leading man with Tom Hardy, Ethan Hawke and Jared Leto linked to the role.star wars rebels

Rebel Rebel

Before the first episode was even aired animation Star Wars: Rebels was granted a second series.

Although clearly aimed at kids, the show will be broadcast on DisneyXD, it will clearly have a wide audience and is the first thing Disney have put out since acquiring LucasFilm. It will bridge the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and will apparently tease a few things about Episode VII.

The Bourne Confusion

A couple of weeks we spoke about Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass returning to the Bourne franchise and the sequel to the Jeremey Renner outing becoming the fourth Damon Bourne movie with Renner’s one being pushed back.

Now Renner is chatting about a crossover. Jeremy, I bet you end up annoyed at being sidelined as you did in the Avengers.

Join us again next week, where we will return to give you another round up of the latest in film news.

Best Films on TV: 1 – 7 July 2013

The best films on TV this week, as chosen by that weird brummie fellow off of the podcast, Owen Hughes.

searchers01Monday 1st July – The Searchers (Film4, 16.35)

One of the top 10 films of all time according to the Sight & Sound poll, John Ford‘s classic western starring John Wayne is one of the most influential movies of all time. Whilst arguably slightly dated, it still looks absolutely brilliant, just as you would expect from a Ford film. It’s worth watching at least once in your life, if only to see what all the fuss is about! (Also, if you miss it, it’s repeated all week on various channels, including TCM and BBC4.)

Tuesday 2nd July – The Running Man (Film4 23.35)

It’s the year 2017, the world is under the rule of a totalitarian state, and the only thing the people have to look forward to is a gameshow where criminals are pitted against gladiators in a battle to the death. You can keep your Hunger Games films, this 80s Arnie actioner is what I love! Ultraviolent, snappy one liners and cheese levels set to maximum; well worth staying up late on a school night for!

Wednesday 3rd July – Rope (More4 11.45)

Hitchcock is at his best when his films were set on a small scale. Dial M For Murder, Rear Window, and of course Rope. Telling the story of one 2 students trying to get away with the perfect crime in the middle of a dinner party they are hosting, all set in one apartment, filmed in four cuts, it is one of the greatest director’s greatest films.

Thursday 4th July – Kill List (Film4 23.05)

Get ready for Friday’s huge event, the release of A Field In England on DVD, cinemas and Film4 all at the same time, with Ben Wheatley‘s cult horror on Thursday. A dark tale of two hitmen who get involved in a job way over their heads, Kill List has an unnerving and ominous atmosphere throughout. Complete with good performances (particularly Neil Maskell (aka Andy from Utopia)) it made Ben Wheatley a director to watch.

Friday 5th July – A Field In England (Film4 22.45)

Finally! It’s arrived! Starring Wheatley regular Michael Smiley (Kill List, Outpost), Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen, Psychoville) and Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh, Nathan Barley), directed by Ben Wheatley, this is one of the most anticipated events of the year. ” ..released simultaneously in theaters, on DVD, free TV and video-on-demand” (The Hollywood Reporter) only adds to the excitement surrounding this black and white tale of two soldiers deserting the English Civil War. Not to be missed!

Saturday 6th July – Scott Pilgrim vs The world (Channel 4, 10pm)

Perhaps the ultimate hipster movie. Adapted from a relatively obscure Canadian comic you probably haven’t even read (I have, obviously) starring Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim, a bass player who has to fight off his would-be girlfriends seven evil exes, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is a fantasy-action-adventure like no other. Want another reason to watch it? It’s directed by Edgar Wright. Still not enough? Beck wrote the soundtrack to this film. Still haven’t been convinced? Well you’re just wrong.

Sunday 7th July – The Iron Giant (Film4, 2.50pm)

More well known for being the director of The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Brad Bird made his film debut with this beautiful animated film about a boy who discovers a giant alien robot. The Iron Giant does what all good kids films do, it handles a serious topic (i.e. loss and loneliness) very sensitively whilst still being a fun adventure film.