ANDREW COLLINS’S FILM OF THE DAY
Fast Five ★★★★
When Paul Walker, likeable blue-eyed star of the mega-grossing The Fast and the Furious street-racing franchise, died last year, production on the seventh instalment was halted. But after a respectful gap, his brothers were hired to fill in and it will be released in 2015. In the meantime, here’s one of the high notes in the series, a heist variant on previous petrolhead adventures, handled with high-wire, rubber-burning confidence by recurring director Justin Lin. It reunites ex-FBI agent Walker with growling fugitive Vin Diesel and plucky moll Jordana Brewster in a plot that takes them to Rio, where they plan to steal a drug lord’s ill-gotten cash from a bank vault. Dwayne Johnson is on witty form as the hulking FBI agent who has the gang in his sights. The film became the highest-grossing of the franchise, until overtaken by the London-located Fast & Furious 6 (which I personally found wanting). The seventh will no doubt top that, with Jason Statham as the bad guy.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly ★★★★★
The spaghetti western comes of age in this concluding part of Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy. And former bit-part TV actor Clint Eastwood secures his star status as the bounty hunter who can seal a man’s fate with a narrowing of the eyes. The three-hour running time is a bonus, not a drawback.
The King’s Speech ★★★★
Director Tom Hooper’s global hit won 4 of its 12 Oscar nominations, including a well-deserved one for Colin Firth, as the prince who didn’t want to be king. It neatly wraps a deeply felt personal story with all the classy regal trappings you could ask for.
Guys and Dolls ★★★★
Once you’ve got over the fact that Frank Sinatra should have sung Marlon Brando’s numbers, just relax in Joseph Mankiewicz’s sure handling of his first musical, as Sinatra’s hustler bets Brando’s gambler that he can’t seduce prudish Jean Simmons.
The Way ★★★
There’s a first Freeview airing for this earnest drama about a man who finds more than he bargained for when he travels to Spain to collect the remains of his son. It’s directed by Emilio Estevez, and stars his father, Martin Sheen, but there’s also more than a feeling of the ghost of Charlie Sheen, although he is not in the movie, but was making his own headlines when it was released.