OnTheBox’s film guide to what’s on TV this week:
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, BBC One, Thursday 11:30pm
Criminally overlooked at this year’s Oscars for the gorgeous Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson remains one of the most unique directors to emerge in the last 20 years. His films remain very much the cinematic equivalent of Marmite, baffling to those who feed only from the mainstream trough, delightful to anyone who still possesses the power of abstract thought. Put it like this: if you read The Sun, watch The X Factor and thought Avengers Assemble was
about as good as movies get, stick well clear of The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. It’s not for you.
If you don’t, sail into previously unchartered territories and bathe in its many whimsical delights. For a start, there’s Bill Murray as the titular Zissou, an existential Ahab figure on a hunt for the ‘Jaguar shark’ that ate his best friend. Then there’s the hapless crew he brings along with him, including Owen Wilson as the man who may or may not be the son Zissou never knew he had, Anjelica Houston as his long-suffering wife and Jeff Goldblum as his arch-rival. All performed to the soundtrack of Seu Jorge singing Bowie classics in Portuguese.
Set the recorder for:
Poltergeist, BBC1, Wednesday 12:20am
Co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg, who installed Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Tobe Hooper in the director’s chair, Poltergeist was the Paranormal Activity of its day, taking back many times what it cost to make. Horror of the highest order, it remains absolutely terrifying. All together now: “They’re here…”
No Country For Old Men, More 4, Wednesday 10pm
Given that it seems to be on either Channel 4, More 4 or Film 4 almost every other week, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen No Country For Old Men. If not, now’s the time to catch the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning masterpiece. It even features Javier Bardem being a much badder bad guy than he was in Skyfall.
Scarface, ITV4, Thursday 10:30pm
There was no way that Al Pacino was ever going to top his performance as Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy. But his turn as Cuban refugee turned crazed drug baron Tony Montana comes in a very close second. An explosion of violence, profanity and narcotics, Scarface offers a memorably unflinching view of the dark side of the American dream.
The African Queen, More 4, Saturday 1:10pm
Picture a scenario for a classic Hollywood film, and you might imagine Humphrey Bogart as a gin-soaked steamboat captain talked into attacking a German gunboat by Katharine Hepburn’s headstrong missionary in WWI-era Africa. While that may be an accurate summary of The African Queen, it’s far too simplistic. The real beauty here is watching two
stars get down, dirty and funny, whilst providing what so many modern films fail to offer: characters we really care about.
In further proof that the swimming pools on the show are bigger than the gene pool, Made in Chelsea have added four more “characters” for the fifth series of structured-reality who you would swear are already cast members.
To many people the press releases generated by the E4 publicity team are the only way to in fact differentiate the stars of the show. The author is one of them.
Serious question: Is Made in Chelsea becoming a make-work program for otherwise unemployable members of the upper classes?
Sisters Francesca and Olivia Newman-Young, designer Josh Coombs and fashionista Phoebe-Lettice Thompson will be joining the cast of Francis Boulle, Richard Dinan, Binky Felstead, Rosie Fortescue, Victoria Baker Harber, Cheska Hull, Stevie Johnson, Andy Jordan, Jamie Laing, Ollie Locke, Millie Macintosh, Spencer Matthews, Ollie Proudlock, Louise Thompson and Mark-Francis Vandelli – all your favourite members of the landed classes in fact.
The Newman-Young sisters work in the music industry and are friends with Millie Macintosh and Andy Jordan. Thompson is a fashion assistant at Tatler and has an on/off relationship with fellow Made in Chelsea newcomber Coombs. Coombs has previously worked with Ollie Proudlock and runs his own design business.
Grammy Award-winning musical artist Shawn “Jay Z” Carter has collaborated with director Baz Luhrmann on “The Great Gatsby” to bring the modern “Jazz Age” energy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original text to the big screen.
The Brooklyn rapper will soundtrack Gatsby’s champagne-infused dance floors, the rumble in New York’s illegal speakeasies, and help to foreshadow the tragedy behind Gatsby’s “extraordinary gift for hope” to articulate the film’s “1920s-Meets-Now” sound.
Luhrmann and Jay Z were introduced by Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby) and have worked together over the past two years to create a sound suitable for Luhrmann’s adaption of one of America’s most defining novels.
Luhrmann emphasised that “Fitzgerald was a pioneer, famed and controversial for using the then-new and explosive sound called jazz in his novels and short stories—not just as decoration, but to actively tell story using the immediacy of pop culture. He coined the phrase ‘the Jazz Age.’”
He continued “So, the question for me in approaching Gatsby was how to elicit from our audience the same level of excitement and pop-cultural immediacy toward the world that Fitzgerald did for his audience? And in our age, the energy of jazz is caught in the energy of hip-hop.”
“The Great Gatsby” follows would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz, bootleg kings, and sky-rocketing stocks. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy, and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan. It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without of the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.
The prize is the English-born star’s record third Best Actor Oscar, after previous wins in 1989′s My Left Foot and 2007′s There Will Be Blood.
“I really don’t know how any of this happened,” said Day-Lewis.
“I do know that I have received so much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life, and I am so grateful to the Academy for this beautiful honor.
“It’s a strange thing,” Day-Lewis joked on receiving the award from Meryl Streep. “Three years ago… we decided to do a straight swap. I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher, and Meryl was Steven’s first choice for… for Lincoln – and I’d like to see that version!
“Steven didn’t have to persuade me to play Lincoln, but I did have to persuade him that if I were to play Lincoln, perhaps it shouldn’t be a musical!
“My fellow nominees, my equals, my betters, I am so proud to have been included as one amongst you.”
In reference to his extreme method acting, Day-Lewis joshed: “Since we got married 16 years ago my wife Rebecca has lived with some very strange men.
“I mean, they were very strange as individuals, and probably very strange as a group… but she’s been the perfect companion to all of them.
“I’d like to thank Kathy Kennedy our producer, and through you, our mighty team of co-conspirators. At the apex of that human pyramid, there are three men to whom I owe this and a great deal more.
“Tony Kushner, our great skipper Steven Spielberg, and the mysterious mind, body and spirit of Abraham Lincoln.
“For my mother. Thank you so much. Thank you.”
They say: Straight-A college student Jeff Chang has always done what’s expected of him. But when his two best friends Casey and Miller surprise him with a visit for his 21st birthday, he decides to do the unexpected for a change, even though his critical medical school interview is early the next morning. What was supposed to be one beer becomes one night of chaos, over indulgence and utter debauchery in this outrageous comedy.
We say: Lots of potential. Except for the 2 Broke Girls style racial humour.
Based on a true story, THE POSSESSION is the terrifying story of how one family must unite in order to survive the wrath of an unspeakable evil.
Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Stephanie Brenek (Kyra Sedgwick) see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host.
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and download to own and rent from 21st January 2013
They say: Bruce Willis returns in his most iconic role as John McClane – the “real” hero with the skills and attitude to always be the last man standing. This time the take-no-prisoners cop is really in the wrong place at the wrong time after traveling to Moscow to help his estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney). With the Russian underworld in pursuit, and battling a countdown to war, the two McClanes discover that their opposing methods make them unstoppable heroes.
We say: Unlike many aging action heroes Bruce Willis doesn’t need a co-sign from anyone and continues to absolutely own his deadpan, shoot first, shoot second, shoot third persona.
The first teaser trailer of Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder has debuted through The Guardian.
The romantic drama features Argo star/director Ben Affleck as a man who finds himself torn between a woman who has moved to the US to be with him (Olga Kurylenko) and an old flame (Rachel McAdams).
The film also features Javier Bardem as a priest who starts to question his own faith, and presumably lots of shots of fields and nature (which is no bad thing as far as OTB is concerned).
Malick’s previous film The Tree of Life won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 and was nominated for three Oscars.
Malick has had a somewhat nomadic career, taking a 20-year break from filmmaking following the release of two masterpieces, Badlands (1973) and Days of Heaven (1978), returning in 1998 with The Thin Red Line. To the Wonder will be the director’s third film since 2005, with another three in the pipeline, including Knight of Cups and a project based around the music industry. The interlinked movies will both feature Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett.
To the Wonder, Malick’s sixth feature, will open in the UK on February 22, 2013.
So Undercover is in cinemas from 7 December
Miley Cyrus stars as MOLLY, a private investigator who chose to leave high school to work with her father (Mike O’Malley), a former police officer. Together their days are filled with busting cheating spouses and taking down petty thieves. However, her life unexpectedly changes when she is approached by an FBI agent (Jeremy Piven) to go undercover in the one place they’re unable to infiltrate – and a world she knows nothing about… A university sorority.
During a major makeover, Molly physically transforms herself from the tough, streetwise investigator, to a very affluent sorority girl Brooke Stonebridge. However, Molly also has to learn how to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” to keep her cover for her mission: protect the life of sorority sister Alex Patrone (Lauren McKnight) whose father plans to testify against some very dangerous people.
Surveillance proves nearly impossible for outsider Molly, who struggles to adjust to university culture, her new friends, and her new assignment, which includes Nicholas (Josh Bowman) – a strong, self confident guy who may have taken a piece of Molly’s heart, if only he weren’t possibly the hit man in disguise.
With multiple suspects on her list and the trial fast approaching, Molly must navigate a minefield of double crosses as well as the pageantry and chaos of a sorority sister’s social life. Through her journey, Molly must protect Alex while discovering that not everyone is who he or she appears to be – including herself.
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The crit: “An elite FBI squad are caught in an intense game of cat and mouse against four of the world’s greatest illusionists. Pulling off a series of daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances, they shower the stolen profits on their audiences while staying one step ahead of the law.”
OnTheBox expectation rating: Belieber