TV Films Lauren Buckeridge
A Guide to the Week’s Viewing
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 3
The Beguiled (Movies Extra, Sky 031, 6.55pm). Director Sofia Coppola was the first woman to win the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, for her 2010 drama Somewhere, and the second woman to win Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, for The Beguiled. The film, set in a girls’ school during the American Civil War, is based on a 1966 novel by Thomas P Cullinan. Headmistress Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) and teacher Edwina Morrow (Kirsten Dunst) have to decide what to do with a handsome corporal (Colin Farrell) found wounded on their property. However, the actions of young student Alicia (Elle Fanning) force the women to change their plans. The Guardian criticised Coppola for whitewashing black and bi-racial characters. (2017)
Boyhood (Māori TV, 8.30pm). The average movie takes about four months to film, but this coming-of-age drama took 12 years as it followed Ellar Coltrane, as Mason Evans, from 2002 to 2013, documenting his growth to adolescence and all the struggles a pubescent boy faces. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette play his divorced parents. Director Richard Linklater incorporated changes in the actors’ lives into the story, writing a loose script throughout production, which earned the film dozens of accolades. (2014)
To Rome with Love (Choice TV, 8.30pm). This ensemble comedy, directed by and starring Woody Allen, follows four individual concurrent stories in the “Eternal City” as visitors and residents of Rome find love, fame, success and many surprises. Featuring Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Penélope Cruz, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page and Judy Davis, this light comedy is charming, but scattered. (2012)
Gone in 60 Seconds (TVNZ 2, 8.45pm). Despite its poor reviews, Gone in 60 Seconds lives on as a commercial success and fan favourite. When
Californian car thief Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) is kidnapped by a British gangster (Christopher Eccleston), his brother Memphis (Nicolas Cage), a former car thief, must steal 50 cars in 72 hours to save him. Angelina Jolie joins the ride as Memphis’ former flame, Sway. A film for lovers of cars, clichés and nonsensical storylines. (2000)
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 4
Wreck-It Ralph (Movies Disney, Sky 037, 6.30pm). Arcadegame villain Wreck-It Ralph (the voice of John C Reilly) longs to be a hero, so deserts his game in the hopes of receiving medals and praise within other games. Ralph meets the tenacious Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) in the shooter game Hero’s Duty, and mischievous Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) in the candy-themed racing game Sugar Rush, in which Ralph accidentally releases an enemy that threatens to destroy their arcade. This animated comedy is a delight for the young and young at heart. (2012)
A United Kingdom (Māori TV, 8.30pm). In a film based on real events, the heir to the throne of Bechuanaland, now known as Botswana, Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), falls in love with British worker Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) in London after World War II. The interracial couple cause controversy in both countries, and are opposed by apartheid-era South Africa, which threatens to invade Bechuanaland and cut the uranium and gold trade with Britain if the couple are not separated. However, after Williams is accepted by the Bechuana people, and after a lot of geopolitical difficulties, Khama negotiates the country’s independence from Britain, and becomes the republic’s first president. (2016)
The Program (Choice TV, 8.30pm). A biographical drama about the rise and fall of US road-cyclist Lance Armstrong. Directed by Stephen Frears
( The Queen, Florence Foster Jenkins), the film follows Irish journalist David Walsh (Chris O’Dowd), who is fixated on Armstrong’s use of performance-enhancing drugs. In a devastating report, the US Anti-Doping Agency labelled the years of drug taking by Armstrong and his team as “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”. In the film, based on Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins, Ben Foster portrays a convincing and cunning Armstrong. (2015)
The Magnificent Seven (Three, 8.40pm). A remake of the 1960 film, which is itself a remake of the 1954 epic Seven Samurai. This western follows seven outlaws employed by the residents of Rose Creek to regain their town from the clutches of Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) in a violent showdown. Starring Denzel Washington as a US marshal, Chris Pratt as a gambler and Ethan Hawke as a former Confederate soldier. (2016)
MONDAY NOVEMBER 5
Serenity (Prime, 8.30pm). This sci-fi adventure, directed by Joss Whedon ( The Avengers, Justice League), is a continuation of his short-lived, but cult favourite, Emmy-winning television series Firefly. Set in the 26th century, the film picks up where the TV series left off, with the crew aboard the spacecraft Serenity as they try to stop an enemy agent (Chiwetel Ejiofor) from capturing their telepathic crewmate (Summer Glau). Starring Castle’s Nathan Fillion as the ship’s captain. (2005)
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 7
Hollywoodland (Movies Greats, Sky 033, 8.30pm). George Reeves rose to fame in the 1950s TV series Adventures of Superman, but his death at age 45 has long been a subject of speculation. In period noir Hollywoodland, police rule the death of Reeves (Ben Affleck) was suicide, but in this fictionalised account, Detective Louis Simo (Adrien Brody) pursues Reeves’ lover, Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), the wife of an MGM executive. (2006)
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 8
Snakes on a Plane (Three, 8.30pm). FBI agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L Jackson) escorts a murder witness on a red-eye flight to testify against mobster Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson). To stop the witness from talking, Kim plants poisonous snakes on the plane. Jackson is the standout in this consciously B-grade cult movie, and has one of the most iconic (and foulmouthed) lines in modern film history. (2006)
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 9
Captain America: The First Avenger (TVNZ 2, 8.30pm). In the fifth instalment of the Marvel cinematic universe, Chris Evans stars as Steve Rogers, who signs up for an experimental procedure after being rejected by the army during World War II. Transformed into super soldier Captain America, Rogers must stop villain Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) from world domination. (2011) Films are rated out of 5: (abysmal) to (amazing).
The Beguiled, Saturday.
To Rome with Love, Saturday.
A United Kingdom, Sunday.