ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter★★★★ 9.00-11.05pm Film Four
A pounding fantasy whose preposterousness is its reason for viewing, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter could never be hauled up by the Trade Descriptions Act. The little-known and slightly under-powered Benjamin Walker plays Abe Lincoln, whose 19th-century background and political career play out in fairly faithful History Channel style — from his family’s Indiana plantation to the White House — with one important action-hero tweak: as a young man he’s attacked by one vampire (Marton Csokas) and trained by another (Dominic Cooper), hence the titular double life. During his presidency, his talents are called upon again, and writer Seth Grahame-Smith (Dark Shadows) ostentatiously threads the supernatural slash-’em-up into a plot involving slavery, Gettysburg and the Confederacy. A cut above the usual hokum, it nonetheless rests upon the visceral bombast of its fight scenes, a CGI call to arms involving slo-mo, multitudes, blade-work and gravity-defying combat. Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Wanted) rarely takes his foot off the pedal. Quite exhausting.
A 19-year-old Anne Hathaway made her feature debut in this comedy as a bullied schoolgirl who makes a startling discovery about her heritage. But can the geeky miss adapt to her new surroundings? Julie Andrews is on hand to make sure it all goes down with a spoonful of sugar.
Shia LaBeouf stars in this comedy drama as a young man wrongly accused of a crime and sentenced to a period in a detention camp run with an iron fist by Sigourney Weaver. There he is ordered into a regime of constant digging that has mysterious undertones.
You can see why this tongue-in-cheek remake of the 70s killer fish tale was made in 3D – eye-popping gore, in-your-face body parts and Kelly Brook swimming about in the all-together. The effect may be lost on TV but it’s still a ripping yarn to catch.