Culture Vulture: your guide to the week’s entertainment (29th April to 5th of May 2023)

Welcome to Culture Vulture your guide to the week’s entertainment. Selections are by Patrick Harrington. Music is by Tim Bragg. Please consider subscribing via you favourite podcast app or on YouTube.

Saturday 29th of April 2023

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018 film) 9pm Film4

Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biographical film that tells the story of Freddie Mercury and the rise of the legendary band Queen. The film is directed by Bryan Singer and stars Rami Malek in the lead role.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a well-made film that captures the essence of Freddie Mercury and Queen. The film does an excellent job of showcasing the band’s music and their rise to fame, as well as the personal struggles of Freddie Mercury. The performances are strong, particularly Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor.

However, the film has received some criticism for its historical inaccuracies and its portrayal of certain events. Some critics argue that the film plays it safe and doesn’t delve deeply enough into the complexities of Mercury’s personal life and the dynamics within the band.

Despite its flaws, Bohemian Rhapsody is an entertaining and emotional tribute to one of the greatest rock bands of all time. It’s definitely worth watching for Queen fans and music lovers alike.

Apocalypse Now (1979 film) 11.55 BBC2

Apocalypse Now is a 1979 war film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando. The film is loosely based on Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” and tells the story of a special forces captain who is sent on a dangerous mission to assassinate a renegade colonel during the Vietnam War.

Apocalypse Now is a powerful and intense film that explores the horrors of war and the darkness of the human psyche. The film’s striking imagery, haunting score, and incredible performances make it a true masterpiece of cinema. Martin Sheen delivers a riveting performance as Captain Willard, and Marlon Brando’s portrayal of the enigmatic Colonel Kurtz is nothing short of mesmerizing.

The film’s themes of madness, morality, and the surreal nature of war make it a thought-provoking and challenging viewing experience. The cinematography, sound design, and visual effects are all superb, creating a cinematic experience that is both visceral and cerebral.

Overall, Apocalypse Now is a landmark film that remains a powerful and relevant commentary on the human condition and the cost of war. It’s a must-see for fans of cinema and anyone interested in exploring the dark side of the human psyche.

This cut is a restored and remastered version of the film that features new color grading and sound design, as well as additional scenes that were not included in the original theatrical release. This version of the film is widely considered to be the definitive version of the film.

Sunday 30th of April 2023

Frankie Boyle’s Farewell To The Monarchy 10pm Channel 4

A look at the darker side of the royal family’s history from Frankie.

The Wife (2017 film) 10.45pm BBC2

The Wife is a 2017 drama film directed by Björn Runge and starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce. The film follows a long-married couple, Joe and Joan Castleman, as they travel to Stockholm, where Joe is set to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. However, as the trip progresses, secrets from the past are revealed, and Joan is forced to confront her life choices and her relationship with her husband.

The Wife is a powerful and poignant film that explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the role of women in literature and society. Glenn Close delivers a masterful performance as Joan Castleman, bringing depth and nuance to a complex character who has spent her life living in the shadow of her husband.

Jonathan Pryce is also excellent as Joe Castleman, portraying a charismatic and flawed character who is both charming and infuriating. The chemistry between Close and Pryce is palpable, and their performances anchor the film’s emotional core.

The film’s pacing and structure are well-crafted, gradually building tension and suspense as the story unfolds. The cinematography and production design are also top-notch, capturing the glamour and prestige of the Nobel Prize ceremony and contrasting it with the more intimate moments of the couple’s private life.

Monday 1st of May 2023

The Red Turtle (2016 film) 12.45pm Film4

The Red Turtle is a 2016 animated film directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit. The film tells the story of a man who becomes stranded on a deserted island and his attempts to escape. Along the way, he encounters a mysterious red turtle, which changes the course of his life.

The Red Turtle is a beautifully crafted and visually stunning film that relies heavily on its visuals and music to tell its story. The animation is simple yet elegant, with a muted color palette and minimal dialogue. The film’s sound design and score are also exceptional, adding to the film’s emotional resonance.

The film’s central themes of isolation, acceptance, and the cycle of life and death are explored with subtlety and grace. The narrative is simple yet profound, with moments of humor, tragedy, and wonder.

The Red Turtle is a poetic and introspective film that will resonate with audiences of all ages. It’s a testament to the power of visual storytelling and a reminder of the beauty and fragility of life.

The French Connection (1971 film) 9pm Talking Pictures

The French Connection is a 1971 crime thriller directed by William Friedkin and starring Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider. The film follows two New York City detectives, Popeye Doyle and Buddy Russo, as they try to bust a major heroin smuggling ring operating between France and the United States.

The French Connection is a gripping and intense film that has become a classic of the crime genre. The film’s gritty and realistic portrayal of police work and the criminal underworld sets it apart from other films of the era.

Gene Hackman delivers a powerhouse performance as Popeye Doyle, a tough and uncompromising detective who will stop at nothing to catch his prey. Roy Scheider is also excellent as Buddy Russo, Doyle’s more laid-back partner who provides a good counterbalance to Doyle’s intensity.

The film’s famous car chase sequence through the streets of New York City is a standout moment that still holds up today as one of the most thrilling and well-executed chase scenes in llcinema history.

Barcelona: An Art Lovers’ Guide 9pm BBC4

A look at the art and architecture of the city.

Tuesday 2nd of May 2023

Shadowlands (1993 film) 11.15pm BBC2

Shadowlands is a 1993 biographical drama film directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. The film tells the story of the late-life romance between C.S. Lewis, the famous British author and theologian, and American poet Joy Davidman.

Shadowlands is a poignant and moving film that explores themes of love, loss, faith, and mortality. The performances by Hopkins and Winger are exceptional, conveying both the intellectual and emotional depth of their characters’ relationship.

The film’s production design and cinematography are also impressive, capturing the beauty and solemnity of the English countryside and Oxford University, where Lewis taught and lived.

Lewis is best known for his popular children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia, which includes the classic book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. However, he also wrote numerous other books on theology and spirituality, including the influential work Mere Christianity.

The film’s portrayal of Lewis’s struggles with his faith and the questions that he grappled with throughout his life adds a layer of complexity and depth to the story. It highlights the tension between Lewis’s intellectual pursuits and his emotional needs, and shows how his relationship with Joy Davidman helped to shape his ideas and beliefs.

Shadowlands is a moving and thought-provoking film that offers a nuanced portrayal of one of the most influential writers and thinkers of the 20th century. It’s a must-see for fans of Lewis’s work and anyone interested in exploring the intersection of love, faith, and art.

Wednesday 3rd of May 2023

I’m Your Man (2021 film) 11.15pm Film4

I’m Your Man is a 2021 German romantic comedy-drama directed by Maria Schrader and starring Maren Eggert and Dan Stevens. The film follows a scientist named Alma who agrees to participate in a study that involves testing a humanoid robot named Tom, designed to be the perfect romantic partner.

I’m Your Man is a charming and thought-provoking film that explores themes of love, loneliness, and the nature of humanity. The film’s central premise of a woman falling in love with a robot is a fascinating one, and the film handles it with nuance and sensitivity.

Maren Eggert gives a standout performance as Alma, a complex and relatable character who is struggling to find meaning and connection in her life. Dan Stevens is also excellent as Tom, bringing a mix of charm, humor, and pathos to his role as the robot who is programmed to fulfill Alma’s every desire.

The film’s production design and cinematography are also noteworthy, creating a sleek and minimalist aesthetic that perfectly complements the film’s futuristic setting.

I’m Your Man is a unique and engaging film that offers a fresh take on the romantic comedy genre. It’s a thought-provoking exploration of what it means to be human and the importance of connection and intimacy in our lives.

Thursday 4th May 2023

12 Angry Men 3.15pm Film4

12 Angry Men is a classic film that remains relevant to this day. The story revolves around a jury tasked with deciding the fate of a young man accused of murder. What follows is a gripping exploration of the biases and preconceptions that can shape human perception and judgement, as the twelve jurors deliberate over the course of a tense and emotionally charged evening. The film is almost entirely set in a single room, but it never feels static or dull – instead, it’s a masterclass in building tension through dialogue and character development. The ensemble cast is superb, with standout performances from Henry Fonda, who plays the lone voice of reason amongst the group, and Lee J. Cobb, who embodies the stubbornness and prejudice that threaten to derail the deliberations.

Sus (2010 film) 12.15am BBC2

Sus is a powerful and thought-provoking film, exploring the issue of institutionalized racism in Britain during the late 1970s. The film follows two racist detectives who interrogate a young British-born West Indian man named Delroy on the eve of the 1979 election night, which saw Thatcher’s Conservative party coming to power. The film builds a pervading sense of dread and unease through expertly crafted dialogue, with the tension and suspense building until the claustrophobia becomes almost unbearable.

Friday May 5th 2023

Fanny: The Right To Rock BBC4 9pm

“Fanny: The Right To Rock” is a compelling and empowering documentary that shines a much-needed light on one of the most influential and groundbreaking all-female rock bands of the 1970s. Directed by Bobbi Jo Hart, the film tells the story of Fanny, a group of four talented musicians who defied gender norms and social expectations to pursue their passion for rock music.

Through a combination of vintage footage, interviews with band members and music industry insiders, and contemporary performances, “Fanny: The Right To Rock” chronicles the band’s rise to fame and the challenges they faced as women in a male-dominated industry. The film also highlights Fanny’s enduring legacy and the impact they had on subsequent generations of female musicians.

Girls In Bands At The NNC 10.30pm BBC4

“Girls in Bands at the BBC” is a fantastic compilation that showcases the talents of some of the best female musicians in rock. The collection features guitar band performances recorded at the BBC, spanning from the 1970s to the present day. It starts with a performance by the often-overlooked American group, Fanny, who perform “You’re the One.”

The compilation takes listeners on a journey through rock history, highlighting the contributions of women to the genre. The performances are powerful and demonstrate the incredible range of female musicians, from the punk rock of The Slits to the alternative rock of Garbage.

Wild Things (1998 film) 5Star 11.10pm

Wild Things is a 1998 neo-noir thriller directed by John McNaughton. The film tells the story of two high school girls, played by Denise Richards and Neve Campbell, who accuse their guidance counselor, played by Matt Dillon, of rape. The case quickly spirals into a web of deceit, manipulation, and blackmail as more characters become involved in the scandal.

Wild Things is a film that fully embraces its campy, pulpy nature. It’s a fun and entertaining ride that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The film’s twists and turns are absurd and over-the-top, but that’s part of what makes it so enjoyable to watch. The performances by Richards, Campbell, and Dillon are all solid, and the supporting cast includes Bill Murray and Kevin Bacon, who both add to the film’s offbeat charm.

However, Wild Things has also been criticized for its gratuitous nudity and sex scenes, which some viewers may find exploitative. Additionally, the film’s depiction of lesbian relationships has been called into question for its sensationalism and lack of authenticity.

Wild Things is a film that delivers on its promise of a wild ride. It’s not a deep or thought-provoking film, but it’s a fun and engaging watch.

Despite the brutality of the psychological torture inflicted on Delroy, the performances of the three actors are pitch-perfect. Clint Dyer portrays Delroy with a real sense of dignity and humanity, while Rafe Spall and Ralph Brown deliver menacing performances as the two racist detectives. Director Robert Heath provides brief respite by way of blood-soaked flashbacks, which punctuate the tension and provide a deeper insight into the events leading up to Delroy’s interrogation.

SUS is a wordy, dialogue-driven film that explores a deeply troubling period in Britain’s history. The film’s theme of institutionalized racism is still relevant and powerful today. Grim, relentless, and thought-provoking, Sus is not an easy ride, but it is an important and powerful film that asks difficult questions and refuses to offer any easy answers.

For Folk’s Sake: Morris Dancing and Me 2.25am

“For Folk’s Sake: Morris Dancing and Me” is a charming and insightful documentary that explores the often-misunderstood world of Morris dancing. Directed by Rachel Bunce, the film follows the personal journey of the filmmaker as she immerses herself in the world of Morris dancing, a traditional form of English folk dance.

Through interviews with Morris dancers, historians, and enthusiasts, as well as footage of Bunce’s own experiences learning and performing the dance, “For Folk’s Sake” offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of Morris dancing. The film also highlights the challenges of preserving traditional art forms in a rapidly changing world, and the enduring appeal of folk traditions for many people today.

“For Folk’s Sake: Morris Dancing and Me” is a delightful and engaging documentary that will appeal to anyone interested in folk traditions, dance, or cultural preservation. It offers a fresh perspective on a traditional art form, and a reminder of the beauty and value of our shared cultural heritage.


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