Richard Lutz reports:
Yes, the Olympics have come and gone. So have the Paralympics. Well done.
So, it’s back to the run out of tv movies to get us through the impending season of mellow fruitfulness. And this week the films on the box are filled with evil. Evil incarnate. Bad stuff.
Let’s start with a gargantuan film that pits Good v Bad. It’s Shane (Wed; Ch4, 13.40). Titchie witchy little Alan Ladd protects the honest farmers of the great West when Jack Palance sneers at the po’ folk bustin’ sod. Palance threatens, sneers, wears black and enjoys shooting people so hard they slide across mud with the power of his gun. But this was made in 1953 so expect that our lad Ladd gotta do whatta a guy gotta do. But that doesn’t take away the work of Palance- a former prize fighter- who ensures you know which side of Evil Boulevard he lives on.
Earlier in the week there’ s Scum (Mon; ITV4, 23.00) from 1979. It’s a bleak peek inside Britain’s Borstal system and well, the system itself is the evil here, victimising the inmates, making monsters out of the guards. It is hard watching but helped Ray Winstone get a boost up the thespo ladder.
The same night is Winter’s Bone (Sky Movies Indie; 02.00AM Tues really). This 2010 movie is as hard as Scum and shows what happens when Appalachia is ground into the dust by illegal crystal meth factories high in the hills. A young girl has to take on the murderous callous sadistic drug gangs and each and every guy has ice water in his veins. Does she win? It seems no one wins when you’re dealing with illegal meth stills and money. There is a minute crack of humanity in this startling good script. And it comes from a very unexpected source. Watch it.
Over to Tuesday and Michael Caine gets to see rough and ready Geordie nastiness in Get Carter (ITV4, 22.00), Caine is pretty nasty himself as Carter (an improbable Tynesider returning home to find his brother’s killer). But surprisingly, playwright John Osbourne gets down and dirty to an exceptional level as the Newcastle crime king and exudes quiet malevolence. In a way he could have given Palance a run for his money but Palance had that black leather gear which always gives it away and piles on the menace..
And finally on Wednesday come The Krays (ITV4, 22.00). The real brothers were pretty scary anyway and Gary and Martin Kemp as Ronnie and Reggie come up to scratch trying to get all medieval and East End on us.
Finally, if you are up to your throat in badness, settle down to a fine historical masterpiece with Battleship Potemkin from 1925 (Thu; Film4, 11 am) Yes, I know it is in black and white and dealt with boring things like The Russian Revolution and all that. But Sergei Eisenstein was a world class director and, after all, he did film that scene where the baby buggie trips down the steps.