TV Films Of The Week

TV films of the week 34 - Back to the Future

FILM OF THE WEEK: Back To The Future
Sunday August 3, ITV2, 6:45pm

It says a lot about the enduring appeal of director Robert Zemeckis’s time-travel yarn that, little under 30 years since it was released, all 42,000 tickets for the Back To The Future production by immersive screening company Secret Cinema sold out in under four hours. Even more so when, after the first week’s run was pulled just hours before it was due to begin, social media was flooded with fans using apt quotes from the film to express their disappointment.

The premise is, of course, ludicrous. High school student Marty McFly receives an impromptu call from best friend and DIY inventor Doc Brown (several decades McFly’s senior) to come and assist with his latest mysterious project. Which turns out to be a time machine. Made out of a DeLorean car. And fuelled by plutonium Brown has appropriated from Libyan terrorists, who become ever so slightly miffed when learning of this development.

No matter the madcap setup – the results are a pure treat. The rapport between Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd’s odd couple is largely responsible for the film’s lasting popularity, while the reverse Oedipus complex plot that kicks in once McFly is blasted back to 1955 is deliciously creative. No matter how many times you’ve seen it, Back To The Future remains a pleasure to behold – just ask the hordes gathering in east London this week, all religiously dressed in 1950s Americana attire, who have paid Secret Cinema in excess of £50 to watch it all over again.


Saturday August 2, BBC Two, 11:15pm

After allegations of anti-Semitism, domestic abuse and racism, it’s no surprise that Mel Gibson is Hollywood’s leading persona non grata. After giving the world the not especially Hebrew-friendly The Passion Of The Christ, Gibson followed it up with Apocalypto, another historical epic. Despite being just as bonkers and with all of its dialogue spoken in an ancient Mayan dialogue, the film is still an exhilarating work of cinema. Combining a simple ‘family in peril’ narrative with feverish and kinetic cinematography, Gibson created such an intensely visceral experience that even the likes of Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino have hailed Apocalypto as a masterpiece.

Winter’s Bone
Sunday August 3, BBC Two, 10:30pm

Before The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence achieved her big breakthrough in indie drama Winter’s Bone, and in many ways it was the performance that secured her the role of Katniss Everdeen. As 17-year-old Ree, Lawrence plays a fiercely independent and strong female lead, charged with the care of her mentally-ill mother and two younger siblings, teaching the latter essential survival skills like hunting and butchery against the harsh backdrop over America’s Ozarks Mountains. Forced to deal with the equally inhospitable local community when her itinerant father goes missing, the fierce tenacity that Lawrence displays as Ree earned her critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination.

Talk To Her
Wednesday August 6, Film4, 12:40am

Pedro Almodóvar (or simply ‘Almodóvar’, as he likes to dub himself) is a darling of the arthouse audiences – and rightly so. Often complex, melodramatic and quite extreme, his films still offer an adult exploration of the human condition sadly lacking in mainstream cinema. Talk To Her is one of Almodóvar’s very best; an offbeat tale of two strangers whose lives are thrown together while taking care of the comatose women they love, it presents themes of fate, selflessness and (not unusually for Almodóvar) transgressive sexuality with such compassion that it was no surprise when the film was showered with awards in Europe and the US.

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