ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY Elizabeth: the Golden Age★★★★ 10.40pm ITV
It proved an impossible task for Shekhar Kapur to follow up his magnificent Elizabeth with a sequel, even though history had helpfully provided the material. In the first film, Cate Blanchett transforms herself into the formidable “virgin queen”, dealing with court intrigue and foreign threat by fair means and foul. Here, a few years later, she’s ensconced but getting on a bit and facing down a potential invasion by Spain, Papist plots from abroad and the Jesuits at home. Writers Michael Hirst and William Nicholson play fast and loose with the facts, and give Blanchett a swashbuckling affair with Clive Owen’s Walter Raleigh, who almost singlehandedly defeats the Armada (he didn’t – but this should only really worry historians). Despite looking splendid and resting easily on the mighty shoulders of Blanchett (and a top-rate supporting cast that includes Samantha Morton, Abbie Cornish and Geoffrey Rush), the film mainly makes you want to see the first one again.
One of the best reboots of recent years, this origins story sees cocksure Kirk and a starchy Spock get off on the wrong foot as they tackle a time-shifting Romulan baddie. The casting of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as the Starfleet rivals couldn’t be bettered, and look out, too, for an appearance from one of the show’s original stars.
If you prefer your sci-fi to be a little more thoughtful, this lunar-based curio may be for you. Directed by Duncan Jones (son of the original Starman, David Bowie), the plot sees Sam Rockwell working out his contract on a Moon base – only to discover that he may not in fact be alone.
Sparks fly when frumpy Toni Collette invites her slobbish, sexpot sister Cameron Diaz into her home in this comedy drama. The only one, it seems, who can sort these squabbling siblings out is their long-lost grannie, played by Shirley MacLaine.
Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas impressed the jury so much at last year’s London Film Festival that their performances in this British drama earned a special commendation. See for yourselves what the fuss was all about in the Freeview premiere of this tale of two boys who learn life’s lessons the hard way.