ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY A Monster in Paris★★★ 4.10pm C4
This period French animated musical – which owes a huge narrative debt to The Phantom of the Opera – re-creates the scratchy, black-and-white elegance of early silent cinema with fetching, affectionate style. (You can imagine Martin Scorsese appreciating its craft.) However, dubbed into English – or, more accurately, into American – it sacrifices a lot of its artistic subtlety. While the august likes of Danny Huston, Catherine O’Hara and Bob Balaban provide fruity tones for the older characters, the principals – a shy projectionist; a cabaret singer; a delivery driver –become brash and loud in the mouths of the younger members of the voice cast. Nonetheless, the operatic tale of a large insectoid monster created in a botanical garden and hidden in polite society is a good one – The Fly meets The Elephant Man – and the creature’s subsequent music-hall stardom wittily recalls Young Frankenstein. Plus the Parisian backgrounds are evocative and the songs (sung by Vanessa Paradis and Sean Lennon) aren’t half bad.
Clint Eastwood directs, Angelina Jolie stars, and both are on exceptional form in this outstanding true-story tale. In 1920s Los Angeles, a woman is delighted when her missing nine-year-old son is returned home safely. But her joy is short-lived, as she is convinced the boy is not her son.
Tobey Maguire gives his last hurrah as the web-slinger (only five years before Andrew Garfield took over in The Amazing Spider-Man). And this time, thanks to an alien parasite, Spidey goes over to the dark side as he battles a gaggle of bad guys.
This time-travelling classic just never gets old. Michael J Fox gets zapped back to the 1950s, has to play matchmaker to his parents (Lea Thompson and a fabulous Crispin Glover), and still finds time to invent skateboarding.
Showing for the first time on Freeview, this 1999 Disney movie was the first cartoon to feature the vine-swinging hero. It’s action-packed (maybe even a bit too action-packed), but it’s entertaining enough and there are some catchy tunes from Phil Collins.
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