ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY
Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie ★★★
9.15-10.45pm BBC1 Premiere
This gleefully self-indulgent extension of the hit TV sitcom will not win any converts, but it doesn’t really need to: the Mrs Brown BBC1 Christmas specials always earn the highest ratings, while this film spin-off topped the UK box office with takings of £4.3 million in its opening weekend. Writer, producer and star Brendan O’Carroll’s central joke – he’s cross-dressed as an Irish matriarch who swears like a navvy – strains to support the extended story of Agnes’s fight to save Dublin’s real-life Moore Street Market from developers, although director Ben Kellett gets the most out of real locations, a lively opening number and the cast’s slapstick skills. While a revelation about Agnes’s past earns its emotional impact, many punchlines fall flat, and O’Carroll’s turn as a Chinese martial artist is as offensive as a 1970s Benny Hill routine. I think leaving in the actors corpsing is lazy in a film, but if you’re one of the converted, you may swearily disagree.
Young and old will be utterly charmed by Pixar’s tale of a grumpy widower who floats his house to a lost world using thousands of balloons. The opening sequence is a beautifully touching celebration of a happy marriage, before director Pete Docter (Monsters Inc) takes us on a colourful roller-coaster adventure that will keep everyone glued to their seats.
The Sapphires ★★★★
9.00-10.40pm BBC2 Premiere
This enormously appealing, shamelessly crowd-pleasing Australian comedy drama is based on the true story of a 1960s Aboriginal girl group. Chris O’Dowd plays the roving scout who picks them out at a local talent show and helps them break out of their narrow world. Widely described as Dreamgirls meets Rabbit-Proof Fence, this is occasionally poignant, but properly feel-good.
The African Queen ★★★★★
Almost a love story, nearly a comedy, not quite an action movie, John Huston’s classic romantic adventure sees pious Katharine Hepburn and boozy Humphrey Bogart heading down river together to fight the Germans in 1914. It was filmed on location and both cast and crew became ill, except for Bogart and Huston, who put the reason down to a diet of Scotch whisky. This movie is in a class entirely of its own.
Silver Linings Playbook ★★★★
11.10pm-1.30am Film Four
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have become something of a double act (American Hustle, Serena, as well as the upcoming Joy). In this first movie together they are both terrific as troubled souls who form an unlikely bond. Co-stars Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver were obviously no slouches, either, as all four were Oscar-nominated in their respective acting categories – the first time that had happened since Reds in 1981.
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