Arts

With cinemas closed, here's our top 10 movies to watch at home this week

With cinemas closed, Damon Smith chooses 10 films to watch on terrestrial television or stream at home

Billy Magnusson, Mark Rylance and Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies
Damon Smith

21 GRAMS (15, 119 mins) Thriller/Romance. Screening on Sony Movies on Saturday November 28 at 11.20pm

AT THE moment of death, the human body apparently loses 21 grams in weight. The reason for this phenomenon continues to perplex scientists: could the human soul constitute those missing grams?

And if so, where exactly do those 21 grams go – do they somehow evaporate into the ether, forever part of the world around us?

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s ingenious 2003 thriller contemplates these questions using nervous handheld camerawork and machine-gun editing, underscored with emotionally raw performances from an impeccable ensemble cast.

Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts cut to the bone of their tormented characters as they come to terms with the shambles of their so-called lives.

120 BPM

120 BPM (15, 137 mins) Drama/Romance. Screening on Channel 4 on Tuesday December 1 at 12.10am

DIRECTOR Robin Campillo powerfully conveys the passion of Aids activism in 1990s Paris in his award-winning drama.

120 BPM gallops through a pivotal moment in recent history with scant regard for sentimentality, drawing on Campillo’s personal experiences to inform a bruising narrative that celebrates the enduring power of the human spirit.

Frustrated by the lack of research into the virus, French activists plan a series of headline-grabbing stunts to provoke the establishment. United under the banner ACT UP, these young men and women challenge the status quo with fervour. Sean (Nahuel Perez Biscayart) is a long-standing member of the group and HIV positive, while Nathan (Arnaud Valois) is a new arrival and HIV negative.

They fall in love against a backdrop of protests designed to shame pharmaceutical companies into a meaningful response.

BRIDGE OF SPIES (12, 135 mins) War/Drama/Thriller. Screening on Film4 on Friday December 4 at 6.15pm and streaming on Netflix

DIRECTOR Steven Spielberg reunites with actor Tom Hanks for an incredible true story of courage that proves one man can make a difference.

Bridge Of Spies is an espionage thriller that pits a mild-mannered insurance lawyer against the bureaucratic might of the USSR and Germany during the Cold War.

Spielberg’s fingerprints are evident on each assured set-piece and he elicits another compelling performance from Hanks. However, co-star Mark Rylance lingers even longer in the memory, his Oscar as Best Supporting Actor wholeheartedly deserved.

Earth: One Amazing Day

EARTH: ONE AMAZING DAY (U, 94 mins) Documentary. Screening on BBC2 on Saturday November 28 at 8.30pm

IT’S entirely fitting that Richard Dale, Peter Webber and Fan Lixin’s nature documentary should be a visually sumptuous exercise in recycling.

The six hour-long episodes of the BBC series Planet Earth II, broadcast in winter 2016, have been re-edited with previously unseen footage into a feature-length celebration of our “small blue planet with a rocky moon travelling around a star”.

The soothing narration of Sir David Attenborough has been replaced by the silky tones of Robert Redford. It’s a ravishing spectacle.

GOOD WILL HUNTING (15, 121 mins) Drama/Romance. Screening on Five Star on Wednesday December 2 at 10pm

ROBIN William got a long overdue Academy Award for his bravura performance as a softly spoken therapist in Good Will Hunting.

Gus Van Sant’s low-key human fable delivers a series of dizzying emotional wallops, which reaffirm our belief in cinema’s power to operate as a looking glass to the human condition.

Matt Damon plays a janitor with a hidden talent for mathematics, who becomes a cause celebre in academic circles but is reluctant to turn his back on his construction worker best friend (Ben Affleck) and the woman he adores (Minnie Driver).

Co-scripted by Affleck and Damon, Good Will Hunting bristles with tightly coiled energy and relishes the verbal sparring between shrink and patient.

THE LAST SAMURAI (15, 148 mins) Action/Drama. Screening on Five Star on Saturday November 28 at 9pm and streaming on Netflix

EAST meets west in director Edward Zwick’s stirring war epic, a stylish and bloody western with Tom Cruise as the poster boy hero who saves a foreign nation – in this case, Japan – from itself with his chiselled jaw and perfectly capped teeth.

Like the similarly themed Dances With Wolves, The Last Samurai examines the head-on collision of ancient tradition and contemporary America.

It's an impressive tale of clashing cultures and the re-education of a spiritually dead man, who rediscovers the glory and honour of fighting for something he truly believes in.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (U, 101 mins) Animation/Action/Adventure/Comedy. Screening on ITV2 on Sunday November 29 at 1.45pm

THE third computer-animated adventure in the LEGO film franchise premieres on terrestrial television this week.

Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan’s film bolts together themes from The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie to explore a strained father-son dynamic against a backdrop of martial arts mayhem.

The riotous, barnstorming comedy of the first two films has been diluted for very young viewers, replacing polished one-liners with a linear quest for a mysterious artefact called The Ultimate, Ultimate Weapon.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (12, 127 mins) Fantasy/Adventure. Screening on Film4 on Saturday November 28 at 9pm and Thursday December 3 at 9pm

ECCENTRICS and oddballs have always been grist to the creative mill of writer-director Tim Burton.

In Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children the quixotic film-maker is in his element, surrounded by a madcap menagerie of misfits.

A cherubic girl whose tumbling blonde curls conceal a mouth with razor-sharp teeth on the back of her head; a blue-eyed boy who has a hive of bees living inside of him; a pint-sized poppet who possesses strength beyond her years.

There’s plenty of weirdness to complement Burton’s directorial flourishes and the briskly paced adventure boasts some delightfully macabre touches.

Style doesn’t trump substance but it’s a close run during some key sequences.

Patriots Day

PATRIOTS DAY (15, 133 mins) Thriller/Action/Romance. Screening on Film4 on Monday November 30 at 11.10pm and streaming on Amazon Prime Video

DIRECTOR Peter Berg and leading man Mark Wahlberg draw inspiration from a harrowing true story of heroism for a gripping race against time.

Patriots Day introduces a fictional character into the heart of real-life terrorism – the bombing of the 2013 Boston marathon – to pay rousing and sometimes overblown tribute to the men and women who risked their lives in the name of justice.

Berg’s film seamlessly blends footage shot by witnesses, who were in Boston that day, with grainy reconstructions to document events before the explosions up to the point that one of the suspects is found hiding inside a boat.

Vehicles explode, hundreds of bullets scythe through the air, transforming a sleepy nook of suburban Massachusetts into a flaming, debris-strewn war zone.

SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS (PG, 93 mins) Drama/Adventure. Screening on BBC2 on Saturday November 28 at 1.15pm

A CHARMINGLY old-fashioned tale of messing about on the river set in more innocent times before children became zombified slaves to their parents’ tablets and smartphones.

Philippa Lowthorpe’s film is a valentine to the great outdoors and the wild, sprawling splendour of the British countryside, set in the mid-1930s against a picturesque backdrop of the Lake District.

If a British film is ever going to convince 21st century youngsters to stop swiping and start building dens and scavenging, this is it.

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