*NEW FEATURE ALERT* As of today, OTB will strive to present a guide to the top 5 films on telly for the week ahead each Monday. We’ll even embed some trailers to whet your appetite. Without further ado then, here’s this week’s selection:
HIDDEN – Film4, 11pm Monday 19 November
Bebearded Austrian auteur Michael Haneke’s Amour has been released in cinemas this week to predictably ecstatic critical acclaim. Film4 are celebrating all things Haneke tonight with a double bill of the director’s masterpieces, aimed squarely at insomniacs. If you have trouble dropping off and a taste for intelligent violent drama you’re in for a treat. First up at 11pm is Hidden, starring Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche as a middle class Parisian couple menaced by an unknown voyeur who knows Auteuil’s guilty secret.
BENNY’S VIDEO – Film4, 1.20am Tuesday 20 November
Following Hidden at 1.20am is Haneke’s disturbing 1992 chiller Benny’s Video, about the desensitising nature of violent movies. Arno Frisch plays middle class kid Benny, who becomes desensitised to the violent video images he watches, with fatal results.
CHINATOWN – Film4, 9pm Wednesday 21 November
Film4 are saluting Jack Nicholson this month, and where better to start than Roman Polanski’s 1974 neo-noir masterwork? Nicholson stars as an LA private eye whose simple divorce case turns into a web of deceit and murder as he uncovers a terrible secret from the past. Leading man Nicholson spends the majority of the film with a bandaged nose, and gives one of his best performances.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI – ITV4, 9pm Saturday 24 November
The Big Lebowski falls into the ‘student favourites’ category alongside cult classics like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Pulp Fiction and Fight Club. Like those films it’s very good, but not quite the masterpiece people who don’t watch many films would have you believe, and it’s not even each director’s best work.* Lebowski is typically idiosyncratic Coen fare, featuring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman on top form as ten pin bowling chums and a quirky plot that delves deep into the drug and porn underworlds.
DAWN OF THE DEAD – BBC2, 12.30am Sunday 25 November
George A. Romero’s 1978 sequel to zombie movie forefather Night of the Living Dead is a true classic of the genre. Astoundingly violent (coincidentally a running theme in this week’s selection), shopping-mall-set Dawn of the Dead is a satirical attack on American consumerism and shallow materialistic values. Oh, and it features wonderful diegetic music familiar to Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe fans. The film’s great achievement is arguably its influence on Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, who created the wonderful 2004 rom-zom-com homage Shaun of the Dead.
* To expand on this point, Terry Gilliam’s (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) best work is Brazil; Quentin Tarantino’s (Pulp Fiction) Jackie Brown; while David Fincher’s (Fight Club) a toss-up between Se7en and The Social Network. The Coen Brothers’ opus is Fargo, obvs.