Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s culture (14-20 January 2023)

Welcome to Culture Vulture our guide to the week’s entertainment. Highlights this week include Soundtracks:songs that defined history, Ken Loach: This Cultural Life and the film Collateral. Selections are by Pat Harrington. Music is from Tim Bragg. Music is from Tim Bragg. Tim is a multi-instrumentalist & singer-songwriter. You can hear his songs here: – or any streaming service or on YouTube.

You can listen to a podcast of this on YouTube here

Saturday 14 January 2023

Project Nim 11.30am Sky Documentaries

Powerful documentary about a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and taught to communicate with sign language.

Six by Sondheim 2pm Sky Documentaries

Emmy-nominated documentary lifting the lid on the prolific life and career of the late composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

Sunday 15 January 2023

Trainspotting 11.30pm C4

Renton, heavily involved in Edinburgh’s drug culture, attempts to leave it behind and overcome addiction despite the temptation and pressure from his peers.

A review is available on our website and YouTube channel.

Monday 16 January 2023

Hadrian 8.25pm PBS America

Historian Dan Snow follows in the footsteps of Emperor Hadrian and reveals an enigmatic and powerful ruler.

Tuesday 17 January 2023

Soundtracks::songs that defined history 12.15 AM Sky Arts

This first episode explores the music tied to iconic moments in history begins with a look at the civil rights movement.

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Ken Loach: This Cultural Life 10pm BBC4

Ken Loach is a renowned British film-maker known for his politically charged works that address issues of social justice, freedom, and power. He has won the Palme d’Or award at Cannes twice – once for “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” in 2006 and again for “I, Daniel Blake” in 2016. The latter is a contemporary British story that highlights the challenges of unemployment and poverty. He speaks with John Wilson about the events in his life that have shaped his creativity, including his childhood, his love for Czech cinema, and his influential television films such as “Up the Junction” and “Cathy Come Home” which tackled important social issues and reached a wide audience. Loach also cites the real-life stories of ordinary people as a major influence on his work.

Ken Loach’s Up the Junction follows.

Up The Junction (1968 film) 10.30pm BBC4

Up the Junction” is a powerful and thought-provoking TV play that explores the lives of working-class people living in London’s gritty South Bank. The performances are strong across the board, with the lead actors delivering nuanced and authentic portrayals of their characters. The writing is sharp and insightful, delving into the struggles and triumphs of everyday life with a keen sense of realism. The cinematography is also noteworthy, capturing the gritty and industrial setting with a sense of gritty realism. Overall, Up the Junction is a must-watch for fans of gritty and realistic drama.

Croupier (1998 film) 11.20pm Film4

Croupier is a sleek and stylish thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The film, directed by Mike Hodges and starring Clive Owen, tells the story of a struggling writer who takes a job as a croupier at a casino in order to research a novel. As he becomes more entrenched in the world of gambling, he finds himself drawn into a web of deceit and corruption.

One of the film’s greatest strengths is its atmosphere – the neon-lit casino, the smooth-talking patrons, and the high-stakes action all come together to create a sense of danger and intrigue. Clive Owen gives a magnetic performance as the croupier, a man torn between his desire for success and his abhorrence of the immoral world he’s become a part of.

The film also has a good amount of twists and turns that keep you guessing and make you question the intentions of the characters. The ending is satisfyingly unpredictable.

Overall, Croupier is a smart and well-crafted film that is sure to keep audiences engaged. If you’re a fan of crime thrillers, it’s definitely worth checking out.”

Thursday 19 January 2023

Collateral (2004 film) 10pm ITV4

Collateral is a tense and gripping crime thriller that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats from start to finish. The film, directed by Michael Mann, stars Tom Cruise as a ruthless hitman who commandeers a taxi driven by Jamie Foxx’s character, forcing him to be his unwitting accomplice on a night of murders.

Cruise gives a chilling performance as the killer, perfectly capturing the character’s cold and calculated nature. Foxx also delivers a strong performance as the taxi driver, who is forced to confront his own morality and survival instincts as the night progresses. The two actors have great chemistry together, creating a sense of unease and tension throughout the film.

The film also boasts stunning visuals, with Mann’s signature use of neon lighting and long tracking shots adding to the film’s atmosphere. The action sequences are also well-executed, keeping the pacing of the film fast and thrilling.

Overall, Collateral is a well-crafted crime thriller that is sure to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. With strong performances from Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx, as well as visually striking cinematography, it’s a film that’s not to be missed.”

“Love and Mercy is a biographical drama film that tells the story of Brian Wilson, the co-founder and lead songwriter of The Beach Boys. The film is directed by Bill Pohlad and stars John Cusack and Paul Dano as Brian Wilson in different stages of his life.

The film does a great job of capturing the creative genius of Brian Wilson, as well as the struggles he faced with mental health and the manipulation he faced from his therapist Dr. Eugene Landy, played by Paul Giamatti. Cusack and Dano both give powerful performances, capturing the nuances of Wilson’s character and the turmoil he faced throughout his life.

The film also features an excellent soundtrack with some of The Beach Boys’ most iconic songs, which add to the emotional impact of the film. The film also does a great job of depicting the 1960s and the 1970s, which are integral to the story of the band and Brian’s life.

Love and Mercy is a well-made biographical drama that tells a powerful and emotional story of one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. The film is a must-watch for fans of The Beach Boys, as well as anyone interested in the struggles of mental health and the impact of therapy.”

“The Guard is a dark comedy crime film directed by John Michael McDonagh and starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle. The film tells the story of an unorthodox Irish police officer (Gleeson) who teams up with a straight-laced FBI agent (Cheadle) to take down a drug trafficking ring operating in his small town.

The film is a masterful blend of comedy and drama, with Gleeson delivering a standout performance as the irreverent and often politically incorrect police officer. His chemistry with Cheadle is also excellent, creating a dynamic that is both humorous and tense. The supporting cast is also solid, with Liam Cunningham and David Wilmot delivering memorable performances.

The film’s script is sharp and well-written, with clever dialogue and unexpected twists that keep the audience engaged. The film’s direction is also noteworthy, with McDonagh masterfully balancing the film’s comedic and dramatic elements.

The Guard is a unique and entertaining crime film that is sure to appeal to fans of both comedy and crime genres. With a great cast led by Brendan Gleeson, a clever script, and excellent direction, it’s a film that is not to be missed.

Friday 20 January 2023

Dreamland (2019 Film) 9pm Film4

Dreamland is a visually striking film. The film features a talented cast, with Margot Robbie, an Academy Award nominee for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, delivering a fantastic performance. The story is set during the Great Depression and follows Eugene Evans (Finn Cole, Peaky Blinders) as he discovers a wounded, fugitive bank robber (Robbie) and becomes torn between turning her in for the bounty and his growing attraction to her. The film also stars Travis Fimmel (Warcraft), Kerry Condon (Avengers: Infinity War), Darby Camp (Big Little Lies), and Lola Kirke (American Made) and has been praised as a “beautifully shot coming-of-age story” (Indiewire). The film’s lush cinematography and authentic score add to the immersion in the gritty and glamorous world of jazz music. However, the plot may be a bit complex at times and the pacing may not be as fast as some viewers prefer.

Find more reviews at our YouTube Channel here


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