You are here
Gunfights, chum and the weight of a soul
Were it not screening so late, the film that won eight Oscars in 2009 including Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay surely would have been today’s, and perhaps the week’s, best film (Slumdog Millionaire, 11 pm MaxW), with only the strongest film depicting the high cost of teenaged sexual activity (*An Education 7.15 pm HBOC) giving it a serious challenge. Later in the week, three strong films also failed at the jump: Eastern Promises, 5.45 pm Tuesday HBOC, *The Descendants, 3.10 pm Tuesday and Saturday MCP and a far better modern CGI ancient Greek war flick than it ought to be expected to be (Immortals, 7.15 pm and 10.15 pm Friday MCP). There are two chances this week to see one of last week’s picks (Anonymous, 5.45 pm Tuesday and 5 pm Wednesday HBOC).
Today’s best film:
The Magnificent Seven (John Sturges/1960/USA/Western/128 mins/PG-13 for some sexual material and brief partial nudity) 5.50 pm ENC3. Watch this if you liked True Grit, Once Upon a Time in the West or The Good, the Bad & the Ugly. A contender for Best American Remake of the Superior Asian Original, the rendering of Akira Kurosawa’s own magnificent Seven Samurai as a Western, with gunslingers replacing the samurai helping the villagers threatened by bandits. A cast of great now-dead men includes Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson. A Western for everyone who thinks they can’t stand Westerns.
Rest of the week:
Open Water (Chris Kentis/2003/USA/Drama -Horror-Thriller/79 mins/Rated R for language and some nudity), 5.30 pm Wednesday and again 9.30 pm Friday Max West. Watch this if you liked Jaws, Compliance or The Grey. Made by a husband and wife team on weekends in the Bahamas, with the whole crew—namely said husband and wife director and producers, who also shot all the footage on digital video—and the whole cast—effectively the male and female leads—flying in and then heading out to the open water from which the film takes its title. The actors playing the scuba divers forgotten by their tour boat spent 120 hours in the water. Shot using real sharks, up to 50 at a time, attracted by throwing bleeding chunks of tuna into the water, and without stunt doubles, this is a riveting account, home-movie style, of tragedy. Reviewers summed it up as Jaws meets Blair Witch but it really should have Boys Don’t Cry thrown in, for the misery. Not for everyone, perhaps, but possibly the best low-budget film ever made.
21 Grams (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu/2003/ USA/ Crime-Drama-Thriller/103 mins/Rated PG-13 for some thematic material and brief violent content) 5 pm Friday MaxW BEST FILM OF THE WEEK. Watch this if you liked Babel, Crash or Amores Perros. The hugely gifted and already massively influential director’s second feature, and first film set outside of his native Mexico, 21 Grams takes its title from the alleged immediate weight loss of a cadaver, the supposed weight of the soul leaving the body; it was never going to be a light film, in that context, but it remains impressively depressing. Masterful performances from Sean Penn, Benicio del Toro and a great cast giving life—perhaps bringing death—to a superb script make this a film of great power; but most of that power is likely to be felt in the gut. Not for the romantic comedy, escapist crowd.
Best of the rest: Mon: *Winter’s Bone, 7.15 pm HBOC; Tues: You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, 7 pm Max; Wed: My Week With Marilyn, 9.55 pm MCP; Thurs: Four Weddings and a Funeral, 10 pm MCC; Fri: The Matrix, 10 pm TCM; Sat: Shall We Dance, 10.10 am MCH. *Starred films have been chosen before. Scheduled Internet times often vary on the day.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.