Choose the week
Calm with the horses
Three exceptional young actors carry Nick Rowland’s brooding story of restricted prospects and brutal conditions in the Irish countryside. Cosmo Jarvis is a formidable presence as Arm, a former boxer who now lives as a muscle for his friend/boss Dympna (Barry Keoghan), a junior member of a violent criminal family. Arm has an autistic son with Ursula Nyama Algar, but she hates what he has become and is keen to escape her lonely and stagnant life. Jarvis delivers a wonderfully calculated performance, seemingly drunk and fluid but with an emotional rush that hovers just below the surface. A stark drama whose tragedy is getting sadder with a glimmer of hope.
Wednesday, April 27, 9 p.m., movie 4
Mr. Blandings builds his dream home
Continuing the channel’s season of RKO Pictures, the 1948 comedy HC Potter gives us Cary Grant at the height of his fame. His incompetent discontent brandishes him in full force as an advertising executive in New York, he lives with his family in a cramped apartment, whose new loft in rural Connecticut is turning into a big money pit. Physical comedy and marital strife (with ailing wife Myrna Lowe) ensued, with Melvin Douglas getting the best lines as their grumpy best friend and a reluctant attorney.
Thursday, April 28, 9pm, BBC Four
The soft-spoken kiosk operator Michael Smiley doesn’t look very interesting. But when a character from his dark past accidentally bumps into him, his silent criminal operation in a remote corner of Pembrokeshire is caught to the attention of honest district brass (Anis Elloy). Ryan Andrew Hopper’s comedic story about Spaghetti Western offers a cast of Ealing eccentrics (Elvis impersonator trilogy, Thieves trilogy, and medic/arrogant) but it’s the most underrated scenes between Smiley and Elwy that give the project the necessary depth.
Friday, April 29th, Amazon Prime Video
“So she looks a little lopsided / She has golden talents.” Bob Merrill’s words are as much a description of the film’s starring, Barbra Streisand, as they are of the film’s starring, Fanny Price – a New York Jewish artist who became a star with Zeigfeld Follies in the early 1900s. In William Wheeler’s grandiose 1968 musical, Streisand (in her first Academy Award-winning film) owns the screen, committed to Price’s comedic practices but able to bring out big, honest numbers. Omar Sharif makes an interesting contrast to her gentle gambler Nick.
Saturday 23 April, 2.05pm, BBC Two
With the sad news of Bruce Willis’ retirement, here’s a tribute in the form of the 2012 sci-fi thriller directed by Rian Johnson, which offers two Bruce for the price of one…kind of. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, the 2044 assassin who has been killing people sent by gang leaders back in time since 2074 – when time travel was invented. If his sarcastic smile and smeared nose look familiar, it’s because he’s the younger version of Willis’ character, and he’s not yet weighed down by true love and loss. But when old Joe materializes as his next success, young Joe faces a deadly dilemma.
Saturday April 23, 9pm, great! Movies
One of Clint Eastwood’s favorite films, William A. Wellman’s tightly drawn 1942 film has a moral complexity that fits well with 12 Angry Men to star Henry Fonda later. Fonda plays a cowboy who is drawn into the city’s unfinished rage after rumors of robbery and murder. Soon the mob mentality spreads and the lynching party is formed, but when the supposed criminals are tracked down, doubts are formed about who exactly justice is being served. A true story of what happens when emotion overcomes reason.
Wednesday, April 27 at 3:15 p.m., Talking Pictures TV
Martin Scorsese’s 1991 film is a rambunctious, steroid-amplified remake of the Hitchcock-inspired Jay Lee Thompson film. Noble Gregory Peck from the original is traded for flawed Nick Nolte as attorney Sam Bowden, whose deliberately poor defense of psychopathic rapist Max Cady returns to haunt him when the criminal is released and seeks bloody revenge. Robert De Niro takes on the role of Robert Mitchum and adds muscular and sweaty danger to the violence, while the blurring of boundaries between men lends a modern twist to the style’s flair.
Friday, April 29, 10.40pm, BBC One