Jurassic Park III, The Woman in Black, The Dreamers – best films on TV tonight

Flailing dinosaurs, horror to make your arm hair stand on end and teenage explorations in our top film picks tonight Thursday 10 July


Jurassic Park III – 8:10pm, ITV2


A bit of history: Jurassic Park made over $900 million worldwide. Sequel The Lost World made $600 million. So a third instalment was, let’s say, economically inevitable. This time, as if to prove that the franchise runs itself, Steven Spielberg allowed Jumanji director Joe Johnston to take the reins. It’s basically a retread of the earlier films with some new set pieces thrown in, but Johnston has done a creditable job. We’re back on Isla Sorna, where genetically engineered dinosaurs run wild, with another band of walking packed lunches: divorcees William H Macy and Téa Leoni looking for their 14-year-old son who is lost in the jungle; palaeontologist Sam Neill (from the first film); and his protégé Alessandro Nivola. You don’t have to wait long for the big reptiles to appear – early on, a towering, belligerent spinosaurus makes light work of a T rex as if to say: there’s a new, computer-generated villain in town. It’s familiar ground, but those set pieces (particularly the pterodactyl attack) are excellent, and only the ending seems a little dashed off.

The Woman in Black – 9pm, Film4

This classy if cliché-ridden ghost story from Hammer is a full-throated reminder of the studio’s Gothic horror heyday. Efficiently adapted by Jane (Kick-Ass) Goldman from Susan Hill’s popular novel (basis for the long-running West End stage hit), it follows grieving solicitor Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe acquitting himself nicely) as he uncovers the dark secret of a remote community haunted by rampant child mortality. Complete with every staple ingredient of the classic spectral spine-tingler – an old dark house, spooky sea fog, creepy curse, faces at windows, superstitious locals – this is a handsomely mounted synthesis of the Victorian penny-dreadful, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker and Henry James. Eden Lake director James Watkins does a fine job re-creating the Hammer mood, atmosphere and style while nimbly chasing shadowy scares via sudden loud noises and close-up shock cuts. The melodrama creaks as much as the nursery rocking chair, but the grim resolution adds an unexpectedly uplifting and bittersweet twist.

The Dreamers – 11:20pm, Movie Mix

Bernardo Bertolucci’s film is a penetrating look at how youthful rebellion was determined to exact social and moral change during the revolutionary spring of 1968. When French twins Louis Garrel and Eva Green invite American fellow student Michael Pitt to stay at their parents’ Paris apartment, they test each other’s cinematic, emotional, sexual and political ideals to see how far they will go. The fact the trio are film fanatics enables Bertolucci to explore a cineaste edge to their passions, and the vintage film clips – from A Bout de Souffle and Blonde Venus to The Girl Can’t Help It and Freaks – give the drama further stylish resonance. Pitt is wonderful as the sexually awakened naif who slowly comes to terms with Euro sophistication and the Blowin’ in the Wind tenor of the times. Erotically explicit and unrestrained, this is a stunning return to form from the taboo-challenging director of Last Tango in Paris.


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