Films on TV round-up: sins, Sean and cyborgs

Ed Williamson

19th June 2011

I never end up watching any of these myself, you know. But if just one of you finds a new film you come to love after reading these weekly round-ups, isn't it all worth it just for that? Well, no, frankly. It takes fucking ages.

Commencing: Monday 20th June 2011

Se7en (1995) Tuesday, 5USA, 10pm

Long before the Fincher–Pitt axis (that's a phrase I like – look out for it in future) descended into awful, sickly-sweet melodrama about guys who age backwards, it kicked off with Se7en, which is about as dark, moody and serial-killery a film as you're ever likely to see.

Bradders and Morgan Freeman are detectives in an unnamed American city hunting a murderer who is picking off seven victims over the course of a week, in each case to punish them for committing one of the seven deadly sins. That's sloth, avarice, er, four other ones, and texting in the cinema.

And it all adds up to a funky situation, as Flavor Flav might, and indeed once did, say. The ending is brilliantly disguised yet doesn't ruin repeat viewings, and the pitch-black atmosphere, score by Howard Shore and key supporting performances (see if you can spot Dr Cox from Scrubs) are just plain masterful throughout.
Mystic River (2003) Friday, ITV3, 10pm

Not sure what happened around the early 2000s, but it suddenly became the law that every other movie had to be set in Boston. Some of this can probably be attributed to Dennis Lehane, whose excellent Massachu-set books (I'm here all week) provided the template for Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island, and this.

Mystic River is the tale of three childhood friends whose world is forever changed when one is abducted and raped. He grows up to be a meek, nervous type (Tim Robbins, winning himself the Supporting Actor Oscar), while the other two become the local crime kingpin (Sean Penn) and detective (Kevin Bacon). When Penn's daughter is found dead, Robbins becomes the main suspect, having shown up on the night covered in blood. Kevin Bacon investigates. Which should totally be the title of a reality show.

Clint Eastwood directs sparsely for the dialogue scenes, but also includes lots of aerial shots of the neighbourhood to emphasise the effect of the crime on the close-knit community (take note, Ben Affleck. Oh wait, you already did), while Sean Penn steals the whole thing with an Oscar-winning turn full of pent-up, emasculated rage.

And again with the child abduction, Clint? Don't ever ask him to babysit, folks – unless of course your only other choice is Sean Bean.
The Terminator (1984) Friday, BBC1, 11.30pm

I thoroughly recommend catching The Terminator at the cinema if you ever get the chance, as I did at the BFI in London last year. I do not recommend sitting in front of two guys who cheer at all the famous lines, though. On leaving I shot one of them in the knee and deadpanned to the other: "He'll live." Or at least, I should have, and there's not a court in the land would have convicted me once they'd heard the mitigating circumstances.

It's a shame they ruined it, because The Terminator is a total amaze-borg. Sorry to break it to you, but in about fifteen years the machines will have taken over the world, and when a man called John Connor leads the human resistance they'll send a cyborg back in time to kill his mum. But the humans will also send a guy to protect her, and between them they'll blow a lot of stuff up. Seriously: a lot of stuff.

Sci-fi's never got much better than this for me: you can pick holes in the time-travel specifics as much as you like, but this is still packed full of action, tension and loads of other good stuff ending in '-ion'.

I'll leave you with this quote from a YouTube comment I found while looking for the Terminator trailer. I presume the show mentioned is Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

I haven't seen any of the 3 movies. I have recently started watching the show. I wan't to watch 1-3 and I'm sure I'll enjoy them but it looks a little too old to keep my attention.

What the fuck happened to this world?
Also on this week

A Perfect Murder Monday, ITV2, 9pm
Shooter Monday, Film4, 9pm (also Saturday 9pm)
Lakeview Terrace Monday, C5, 10pm
Lethal Weapon 3 Monday, ITV1, 10.35pm
Changeling Monday, ITV2, 11.15pm
Vera Drake Monday, Film4, 11.20pm
Grease Tuesday, Film4, 6.50pm
Mission: Impossible III Tuesday, Film4, 9pm
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Tuesday, ITV2, 10pm
The Hole Tuesday, Film4, 11.20pm
Monte Carlo or Bust Wednesday, Film4, 4.15pm
The Day after Tomorrow Wednesday, Film4, 6.40pm
School of Rock Wednesday, E4, 9pm
The Transporter 2 Wednesday, Film4, 9pm
Unbreakable Wednesday, ITV2, 10pm
Jarhead Wednesday, ITV4, 10pm (also 12.10am Saturday)
The Godfather Wednesday, More4, 11.05pm
The Interpreter Thursday, ITV2, 12.10am
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Thursday, Film4, 7.20pm
Under Siege Thursday, Film4, 9pm
Children of Men Thursday, ITV4, 9pm
Timecop Thursday, C5, 10pm
Burn after Reading Thursday, ITV2, 10pm
Taken Friday, Film4, 9pm
Dirty Harry Friday, ITV4, 10pm
The Godfather: Part II Friday, More4, 10pm
This is Spinal Tap Saturday, Dave, 12am
Never Say Never Again Saturday, ITV1, 3.30pm
Star Trek: First Contact Saturday, E4, 4.55pm
King Kong (2005) Saturday, ITV2, 5.25pm
Shark Tale Saturday, BBC1, 5.50pm
The Mask Saturday, 5*, 6pm
Falling Down Saturday, ITV4, 9pm
Bridget Jones's Diary Saturday, ITV1, 10.15pm
Napoleon Dynamite Sunday, C4, 12.15am

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