week's best films
free to air
My Best Friend’s Wedding (PG)
Saturday, 7pm, 7Two
The Dallas Buyers Club (MA15+)
Saturday, 8.30pm, SBS
The Seventh Victim (M) Wednesday, 1.56am, ABC
A devil-worshipping cult underneath New York’s storied Greenwich Village — why not? Canadianborn director Mark Robson began his Hollywood career as an uncredited editor’s assistant on Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane. After cutting a number of RKO Pictures’ resident horror guru Val Lewton’s films, he graduated to directing with the excellent film noir horror drama The
Seventh Victim (Wednesday, 1.56am, ABC). When young Kim Hunter, in her first screen role, discovers her sister has gone missing from her posh boarding school, it’s off to the Big Apple to find out what happened.
More great atmospheric photography from the great Nicholas Musuraca is a highlight.
Perhaps coincidentally, completists can add another Robson title to their bucket lists with
Bedlam (Tuesday, 2.20am, ABC). Lewton’s last film as producer, again shot by Musuraca, stars Boris Karloff as a despotic staffer at a fictionalised version of London’s Bethlem Royal Hospital for the insane. Can’t find the film on the TV schedule? Bedlam is preceded by Parliament
Question Time. Coincidence? You be the judge. As this is October and Halloween has captured Australia’s fancy, horror films abound. Few are as subtle and profoundly creepy as first-time director JA Bayona’s Guillermo del Toroproduced The Orphanage (Wednesday, 10.25pm, SBSTwo). An orphan returns to her childhood home as a married adult with an adopted son, hoping to turn the facility into a haven for disabled children. When the boy disappears, the past surges forward in everunsettling ways.
Setting the horror genre aside, Matthew McConaughey won a much-deserved best actor Oscar for his portrayal of a Texas cowboy who bucks his AIDS diagnosis in creative but illegal ways in director Jean-Marc Vallee’s acclaimed 2013 drama The Dallas Buyers Club (Saturday, 8.30pm, SBS). Jared Leto won the best supporting actor Oscar as the transgender character who becomes the flamboyant bigot’s business partner and friend.
Continuing on the theme, Denzel Washington earned the first of his two Oscars to date in 1989 for his performance as the heroic and pioneering Civil War soldier Private Trip in director Edward Zwick’s acclaimed Glory (Sunday, 1am, ABC). Washington’s persona as a good bloke was in evidence even then.
Brisbane’s own PJ Hogan made quite the splash with his Muriel’s Wedding follow-up and Hollywood debut, the 1997 romantic comedy My
Best Friend’s Wedding (Saturday, 7pm, 7Two). Julia Roberts plays the New York “big-haired food critic” on a mission to disrupt the wedding of long-time friend Dermot Mulroney (remember him?). One of Roberts’s best outings, the film has a light touch that many have emulated but few have captured with such verve.
The Bride Wore Black (M) Sunday, 5.10pm, World Movies
Nightcrawler (MA15+) Wednesday, 12.35pm, Masterpiece
Felony (M) Tuesday, 11.05pm, Premiere
Currently receiving rave reviews for his “Bahston” accent in the Johnny Depp film Black Mass, Blacktown’s own Joel Edgerton wrote, coproduced and starred in the critically acclaimed 2013 crime drama Felony (Tuesday, 11.05pm, Premiere). Under Matthew Saville’s skilled, lowkey direction, Edgerton impresses as the police detective who accidentally kills a young cyclist late at night and is conflicted by his impulsive cover-up. Tom Wilkinson and Jai Courtney are fine in support, but the real star is Edgerton’s multilayered script, which focuses on human imperfection and impulse against a genre setting.
Co-produced and directed by Michael Mann, the 2004 thriller Collateral (Saturday, 8:30pm, Thriller) stands not only as a groundbreaking embrace of digital cinema alongside traditional 35mm filmmaking but as the showcase for a rare bad-guy performance by a silver-haired Tom Cruise as well. Jamie Foxx is the working-class Los Angeles taxi driver reluctantly recruited by Cruise’s icy hit man to embark on an all-night killing spree. The combination of Stuart Beattie’s sturdy script and Cruise’s atypically nasty performance resonate.
In 1974, James Toback wrote and directed a moody character piece called The Gambler, which starred James Caan as a university professor with the title addiction. Last year, Mark Wahlberg delivered a credible performance in director Rupert Wyatt’s tonally similar and identically titled The Gambler (Saturday, 8.30pm, Premiere). Screenwriter William Monahan, who won an Oscar for writing Martin Scorsese’s The
Departed, pays tribute to Toback’s original by keeping the action intense and low-key.
That same aura is captured to chilling effect by writer-director Dan Gilroy in the contemporary thriller Nightcrawler (Wednesday, 12.35pm, Masterpiece). Jake Gyllenhaal plays an LA low-life who discovers a new career path by driving around at night and videotaping disasters, selling his footage to Rene Russo’s local TV station. Gyllenhaal lost a lot of weight for the role and never seems to blink, summoning the spirit of the early Robert De Niro in his go-for-broke performance.
The great French director Francois Truffaut was never happy with his sixth film and that’s a pity, because there is much to recommend the 1968 revenge drama The Bride Wore Black (Sunday, 5.10pm, World Movies). Jeanne Moreau plays the widow intent on killing the five men who murdered her husband on their wedding day. It was based on a novel written under a pseudonym by Cornell Woolrich and is a tribute to his hero Alfred Hitchcock.
The movie that nearly toppled a studio, the North Korea-set spoof The Interview (Sunday, 8:30pm, Premiere), is worth watching, if only as an example of how silly contemporary scandals have become.
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Nightcrawler