The Tailor of Panama (MA 15+) ★★★ ✩ Sunday, 8.30pm, M Thriller/Crime
Midnight Run (M) ★★★ ✩ Monday, 7.50am, M Action/Adventure
The Good Thief (MA 15+) ★★★ ✩ Sunday, 12.15am, M Thriller/Crime
IF ever a movie deserved a proper sequel, it is director Martin Brest’s accomplished 1988 action comedy Midnight Run (Monday, 7.50am, M Action/Adventure). Robert De Niro is a tough-asnails bounty hunter worn down by motor-mouth fugitive accountant Charles Grodin. The men’s chemistry is palpable: Brest is adept at staging action — he directed Beverly Hills Cop, too — and De Niro’s performance is among the funniest of his career to date. I say proper sequel because three television sequels were produced in 1994, but none of the original principals was involved.
Some good films just get lost in the shuffle, and that seems to have been the case with Neil Jordan’s 2002 caper movie The Good Thief (Sunday, 12.15am, M Thriller/Crime). It’s a shrewd remake of Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1955 French original Bob le flambeur, and Nick Nolte is at his best as the dissolute thief intent on one big final score. Similarly adrift in the mists of time is director George Cukor’s graceful 1972 comedy from the Graham Greene novel Travels with My Aunt (Monday, 11.30am, TCM). The marvellous Alec McCowen is the London bank manager who falls into the orbit of eccentric relative Augusta Bertram (Maggie Smith) on a series of outlandish adventures across the continent.
Another film far better than its reputation and legacy is director John Boorman’s darkly satirical 2001 adaptation of John le Carre’s The Tailor of Panama (Sunday, 8.30pm, M Thriller/Crime). Geoffrey Rush plays the title character, whose perpetual money problems prompt him to exaggerate the intelligence he has been hired to feed to reassigned spy Pierce Brosnan. Le Carre collaborated on the snappy script.
Influenced by director Robert Zemeckis’s fascination with cutting-edge special effects and the TV horror anthology on which he was working at the time, the black comedy Death Becomes Her (Monday, 11.35pm, M Comedy) is a gleefully grisly fable of jealousy gone awry. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn are the oil-and-water friends, bickering over Bruce Willis, who discover an immortality potion and take it before they start killing’’ each other in increasingly messy ways.
Going by the long wide shots in Jackie Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx (Monday, 6.10am, M Action/ Adventure), there’s a snow-capped mountain range just outside New York City. The film was shot in Vancouver, but this lax attention to detail is typical of the film’s half-hearted storytelling, which finds Hong Kong cop Chan involved with seedier elements in the faux Big Apple.
Charles Grodin, right, and Robert De Niro, second from right, in