ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY
In the Valley of Elah ★★★★
Paul Haggis seems to have dropped out of favour (despite publicly denouncing Scientology, of which he was a member for nigh on 35 years), but in 2007 the Crash writer/director contributed thoughtfully to the crop of US films released since 9/11 that address the painful subject of American military misadventure in the Middle East. Free of the liberal hand-wringing that scuppered Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs (released in the same year), it tells the story of army veteran Tommy Lee Jones’s search for his missing soldier son, recently returned from Iraq. Humanising a big subject, it is a fictionalised account of an article by journalist Mark Boal (who went on to write and win an Oscar for The Hurt Locker). As such it retains the ring of truth, and Haggis’s downbeat telling avoids gung-ho glamourising of army life. Jones is matched by Charlize Theron as a sympathetic detective, and although the combat action is seen only in flashback, it is an antiwar film in the serious mould of Platoon, A Few Good Men and Redacted.
With the sequel hitting cinemas next week (finally!) here’s another chance to see Ben Stiller doing “blue steel”. It’s a wonder he can keep a straight face, but everyone knows that supermodels never smile…
The Internship ★★
PREMIERE 9.00-11.20pm C5
Apart from his winning partnership with Ben Stiller (in the likes of Zoolander and Starsky & Hutch), Owen Wilson really clicked with Vince Vaughn in The Wedding Crashers and this caper, set at Google HQ.
The Princess Bride ★★★★
William Goldman’s wink-wink script, clever performances and a deft hand from director Rob Reiner ensure this fantasy adventure is a film with wit and genuine family appeal.
PREMIERE 9.00-10.30pm BBC4
Bareback horse-racing is the subject of this Italian documentary, which will keep you on the edge of your seat. Be sure to plump up your cushions.