FILMS OF THE WEEK

The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS -

SATUR­DAY The Best Ex­otic Marigold Ho­tel (2011) (Channel 4, 8pm)

Eve­lyn (Judi Dench) is com­ing to terms with the re­cent loss of her hus­band in this charm­ing com­edy drama. De­ter­mined to start anew, she aban­dons Bri­tain for the balmier climes of Jaipur and a re­tire­ment home called The Best Ex­otic Marigold Ho­tel. En route, Eve­lyn meets other re­tirees all bound for this “lux­ury de­vel­op­ment for res­i­dents in their golden years”: can­tan­ker­ous wheel­chair user Muriel (Mag­gie Smith), waspish snob Jean (Pene­lope Wil­ton) and her long-suf­fer­ing hus­band Dou­glas (Bill Nighy); re­tired judge Gra­ham (Tom Wilkin­son); ladies’ man Nor­man (Ron­ald Pickup); and spin­ster Madge (Celia Im­rie). When the trav­ellers ar­rive at their des­ti­na­tion, they dis­cover a build­ing in dis­re­pair and an in­ex­pe­ri­enced man­ager, Sonny (Dev Pa­tel), strug­gling to keep the cred­i­tors off his back.

The Re­luc­tant Fun­da­men­tal­ist (2012) (BBC Two, 11.15pm)

Adapted from the novel by Mohsin Hamid, The Re­luc­tant Fun­da­men­tal­ist is a taut drama about a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween a Pak­istani pro­fes­sor and an Amer­i­can in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist that might in fact be a bat­tle of wits be­tween a ter­ror­ist and a CIA op­er­a­tive. An Is­lamic fun­da­men­tal­ist group kid­naps an Amer­i­can col­lege pro­fes­sor and holds the na­tional in ex­change for a ran­som and the re­lease of pris­on­ers. Writer Bobby Lin­coln (Liev Schreiber) sits down with Changez (Riz Ahmed), who claims to be a friend and col­league of the ab­ducted man. Bobby en­cour­ages Changez to re­count the story of his life, while CIA agent Lud­low Cooper (Martin Dono­van) lis­tens to the con­ver­sa­tion, hop­ing Changez might in­ad­ver­tently give away clues about the ab­duc­tion.

SUN­DAY Cold in July (2014) (BBC Two, 10pm)

Ex­pertly con­structed by writer-di­rec­tor Jim Mickle, Cold in July is a grimy por­trait of the se­crets and lies that fes­ter in small com­mu­ni­ties. Richard Dane (Michael C Hall) lives with his wife Ann (Vi­nessa Shaw) and young son Jor­dan (Bro­gan Hall). One night, Ann wakes to sounds in the liv­ing room and Richard creeps down the cor­ri­dor and shoots dead an in­truder in the dark­ness. Sher­iff Ray Price (Nick Dam­ici) as­sures Richard he did noth­ing wrong and dis­closes that the in­truder was a wanted man with a his­tory of felonies. Richard is haunted by his ac­tions and when he crosses paths with the dead man’s fa­ther Ben (Sam Shep­ard), the two strangers are drawn into a ter­ri­fy­ing game of cat and mouse.

Iron Man 3 (2013) (BBC One, 10.30pm)

Robert Downey Jr re­turns as the bil­lion­aire-in­ven­tor­su­per­hero Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, but we now find him to be an in­som­niac prone to panic at­tacks. He does at least have his for­mer as­sis­tant-turned-CEO Pep­per Potts (Gwyneth Pal­trow) on hand to soothe him. It’s not long, though, be­fore their do­mes­tic bliss is thwarted by a two-pronged at­tack – the ar­rival of su­per-pow­ered hu­mans and the fig­ure­head of a ter­ror group who is known as The Man­darin (Ben Kings­ley). When Stark’s man­sion is re­duced to rub­ble, he em­barks on a quest to find those re­spon­si­ble. A def­i­nite im­prove­ment on Iron Man 2, this en­joy­able su­per­hero se­quel meets the high stan­dards we’ve come to ex­pect from Marvel.

MON­DAY Ara­bian Nights (1942) (Film4, 1.15pm)

Very loosely based on the Book of One Thou­sand and One Nights, di­rec­tor John Rawl­ins’ film tells the story of Sher­azade (Maria Mon­tez), a cir­cus dancer who cap­tures the heart of Ka­mar (Leif Erick­son), the brother of the caliph. As a prophecy has claimed Sher­azade is a fu­ture queen, Ka­mar de­cides to seize the throne for him­self – and his de­posed sib­ling Haroun-Al-Raschid, (Jon Hall) finds him­self hid­ing out in the cir­cus where Sher­azade is em­ployed.

TUES­DAY Youth (2015) (Film4, 9pm)

Re­tired com­poser Fred Ballinger (Caine) and film di­rec­tor Mick Boyle (Har­vey Kei­tel) have been good friends for more than 60 years and they en­joy a sunkissed re­treat at a ho­tel in the Alps. Out of the blue, Fred re­ceives a visit from the Queen’s emis­sary (Alex Mac­queen), who asks the con­duc­tor to per­form his most fa­mous work at a con­cert in hon­our of the monarch. Fred re­fuses and re­turns to his re­lax­ation, with oc­ca­sional vis­its from his emo­tion­ally brit­tle daugh­ter Lena (Rachel Weisz), who is in the midst of a painful sep­a­ra­tion.

WED­NES­DAY High-Rise (2015) (Film4, 9pm)

This awk­ward yet stylis­ti­cally sump­tu­ous adap­ta­tion of JG Bal­lard’s 1975 novel is set al­most en­tirely within a 40-storey mono­lith forged in con­crete and steel. Dr Robert Laing (Tom Hid­dle­ston) ar­rives at his new home on the 25th floor of a 1970s tower block. He sun­bathes naked and catches the eye of sin­gle mother Char­lotte Melville (Si­enna Miller), who lives up­stairs. She in­tro­duces Robert to some of the other res­i­dents, and Robert is granted a pri­vate au­di­ence with the build­ing’s ar­chi­tect, An­thony Royal (Jeremy Irons), who lives in the pent­house with his wife (Kee­ley Hawes). Power out­ages, which af­fect the lower floors, stoke re­sent­ment, spark­ing civil war which claims the lives of a num­ber of the res­i­dents.

THURS­DAY Sight­seers (2012) (Film4, 11pm)

The art of ro­mance isn’t dead – but it’s cer­tainly deadly – in Ben Wheat­ley’s de­ranged road movie, which walks a tightrope be­tween dark com­edy and grisly hor­ror. The blood­lust is tem­pered with some sweet yet dys­func­tional ro­mance in a script co-writ­ten by lead ac­tors Steve Oram and Alice Lowe. Tina lives with her har­ri­dan mother (Eileen Davis), who never lets her daugh­ter for­get an un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent with knit­ting nee­dles. Des­per­ate for room to breathe, Tina agrees to ac­com­pany her boyfriend Chris on a car­a­van­ning hol­i­day to some of the coun­try’s cul­tural hotspots. As they tour the coun­try­side, Chris deals out rough jus­tice to passers-by who are rude or in­con­sid­er­ate, and Tina re­alises she is dat­ing a psy­chopath.

FRI­DAY Shadow Dancer (2012) (BBC Two, 12.05am)

Sin­gle mother Co­lette McVeigh (An­drea Rise­bor­ough) blames her­self for the death of her brother in 1970s Belfast. She har­bours a deep re­sent­ment to­wards Bri­tish forces, which fired the fate­ful bul­let, and has as­suaged her guilt as an ac­tive mem­ber of the IRA. Bri­tish po­lice ap­pre­hend Co­lette dur­ing an at­tempted bomb­ing of the Lon­don Un­der­ground and MI5 op­er­a­tive Mac (Clive Owen) leads the in­ter­ro­ga­tion. He pro­vides ev­i­dence that an IRA bul­let killed Co­lette’s brother and of­fers his pris­oner an ul­ti­ma­tum: act as a mole or serve 25 years be­hind bars. James Marsh’s film is a riv­et­ing por­trait of an era when po­lit­i­cal ten­sions threat­ened to boil over, and Rise­bor­ough is mes­meris­ing.

From top: An­drea Rise­bor­ough plays a guilt-laden sin­gle mother in Trou­bles-era Belfast in Shadow Dancer; Elis­a­beth Moss and Tom Hid­dle­ston in High-Rise, an adap­ta­tion of JG Bal­lard’s 1975 novel

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