OnTheBox’s film guide to what’s on TV this week:
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, BBC One, Thursday 11:30pm
Criminally overlooked at this year’s Oscars for the gorgeous Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson remains one of the most unique directors to emerge in the last 20 years. His films remain very much the cinematic equivalent of Marmite, baffling to those who feed only from the mainstream trough, delightful to anyone who still possesses the power of abstract thought. Put it like this: if you read The Sun, watch The X Factor and thought Avengers Assemble was
about as good as movies get, stick well clear of The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. It’s not for you.
If you don’t, sail into previously unchartered territories and bathe in its many whimsical delights. For a start, there’s Bill Murray as the titular Zissou, an existential Ahab figure on a hunt for the ‘Jaguar shark’ that ate his best friend. Then there’s the hapless crew he brings along with him, including Owen Wilson as the man who may or may not be the son Zissou never knew he had, Anjelica Houston as his long-suffering wife and Jeff Goldblum as his arch-rival. All performed to the soundtrack of Seu Jorge singing Bowie classics in Portuguese.
Set the recorder for:
Poltergeist, BBC1, Wednesday 12:20am
Co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg, who installed Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Tobe Hooper in the director’s chair, Poltergeist was the Paranormal Activity of its day, taking back many times what it cost to make. Horror of the highest order, it remains absolutely terrifying. All together now: “They’re here…”
No Country For Old Men, More 4, Wednesday 10pm
Given that it seems to be on either Channel 4, More 4 or Film 4 almost every other week, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen No Country For Old Men. If not, now’s the time to catch the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning masterpiece. It even features Javier Bardem being a much badder bad guy than he was in Skyfall.
Scarface, ITV4, Thursday 10:30pm
There was no way that Al Pacino was ever going to top his performance as Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy. But his turn as Cuban refugee turned crazed drug baron Tony Montana comes in a very close second. An explosion of violence, profanity and narcotics, Scarface offers a memorably unflinching view of the dark side of the American dream.
The African Queen, More 4, Saturday 1:10pm
Picture a scenario for a classic Hollywood film, and you might imagine Humphrey Bogart as a gin-soaked steamboat captain talked into attacking a German gunboat by Katharine Hepburn’s headstrong missionary in WWI-era Africa. While that may be an accurate summary of The African Queen, it’s far too simplistic. The real beauty here is watching two
stars get down, dirty and funny, whilst providing what so many modern films fail to offer: characters we really care about.