Films on TV round-up: milk and cookies. Human flesh cookies.

Kirsty Harrison

9th October 2011

This weekend was a brilliant weekend for films on TV; next week is a flaming bag of reheated turds! So what should you be watching tonight? Well, let me tell you, it's a tough battle between a grown-up proper film and Johnny Depp in a fright wig.

Commencing: Sunday 9th October 2011

Milk Sunday 9th, BBC2, 10pm

Harvey Milk was America's first openly gay politician. He led the charge against notorious 'Proposition 6', which set out to ban homosexuals from working in schools, and played a large part in San Francisco becoming a haven and beacon for gay men from all over those there United States. He was also shot dead in 1978 alongside the Mayor of San Francisco by a perturbed colleague over petty differences.

Penn won Best Actor for his turn as Milk, and deservedly so - he portrays Harvey with such sweet subtlety that watching the film knowing his fate is heartbreaking at times. But he also shows that just because he's a gay man doesn't make him in any way a soft touch or a pushover when it comes to confrontation. It's a really fantastic performance which uplifts you and spills out of the screen.

James Franco plays his lover Scott Smith. He's great. I spent half an hour looking at pictures of him. That's all I've got on James.

The film was nominated for Best Picture, but really it ends where the dramatic heart of the story starts, explaining in brief summaries the almost unbelievable court action and subsequent riots. It's not a tale of a political martyr, because Milk wasn't killed for any real reason; it's a quiet story of a determined man who could have done anything who was gunned down arbitrarily and tragically.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Sunday 9th, Channel 4, 10pm

A macabre musical comedy, the filmic edition of Sweeney Todd is Stephen Sondheim's stage show squeezed through the mind-mangle of Tim Burton.

Casting his Second Life avatar Johnny Depp as Todd, and his beautifully angular wife Helena Bonham-Carter as the penniless and ruthless Mrs Lovett, Burton is safely in his comfort zone. Everything is as dark and squiffy as you'd expect, and exactly as it should be in any good plague-ridden London Town.

Todd is a jaw-dropping musical when seen on the stage; gruesome, desperate and spine-tingling, and unfortunately (if not unexpectedly) definitely loses something special on its translation to the screen. That's not to say it's unwatchable, far from it.

Depp is on form as the maniacal, haunted Todd who's recently returned from being exiled for 16 years for a crime he didn't commit. Driven only by the desire to avenge himself on the corrupt and sleazy Judge Turpin, he becomes a cog in creepy Mrs Lovett's astonishingly grim and complex plan.

By setting up a barber shop above her bakery, they can kill off gentlemen they don't particularly like, grind up their bodies and make them into pies, thus removing the evidence and giving business a quick shot in the arm. Rank, yes? Yes. How long can this inhumane double act get away with it? Is human flesh really that appealing?!

The songs are uniformly excellent , even if the non-West End voices are a little reedy and Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and Sacha Baron-Cohen are a solid supporting cast, twitchy eyebrows and slimy hair abound.

One of the best onstage musicals ever, this adaptation goes down smoother than one of Mrs Lovett's disgustingly popular pies.
Also on this week

The Anderson Tapes Monday, BBC1, 12.05pm
Die Another Day Monday, ITV2, 10pm
Coogan's Bluff Monday, ITV4, 10pm
By The Sea Tuesday, BBC1, 11.25pm
One Missed Call Tuesday, C5, 11pm
Hollow Man Tuesday, 5USA, 9pm
Stardust Wednesday, E4, 8pm
The Bourne Supremacy Wednesday, ITV2, 10.45pm
Brazil Wednesday, BBC4, 10pm
Sink The Bismarck Thursday, Channel 4, 1.20pm
Children of Men Thursday, ITV4, 9pm (also Saturday, 9pm)
Inside Man Thursday, ITV2, 10.45pm
Mortal Kombat Thursday, ITV4, 11.15pm
Dogma Friday, More4, 9pm
The Mask of Zorro Friday, 5*, 9pm
Death Race Friday, 5USA, 9pm
The Man With The Golden Gun Friday, ITV4, 10pm
Troy Friday, ITV1, 10.35pm
Birthday Girl Friday, More4, 1.40am
Six Days, Seven Nights Saturday, BBC2, 6.10pm
Jason and the Argonauts Saturday, C5, 5.40pm
Die Hard 2: Die Harder Saturday, C4, 9.45pm
Wrong Turn Saturday, Film4, 11.10pm

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