BARRY NORMAN:FILM OF THE DAY
Directed by Michael Apted, this is a story about the code-breakers of Bletchley Park during the Second World War – not THE story because there is no mention of Alan Turing. (Turing himself is played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the highly recommended The Imitation Game in cinemas now.) Here, Dougray Scott is a Turing-like code-breaker who’s had a breakdown after being dumped by girlfriend and co-worker Saffron Burrows but is recalled to Bletchley to help crack a new German code. By now, however, Burrows has disappeared, believed dead. So we have a mystery thriller in which, along with breaking codes, Scott investigates Burrows’s disappearance with the help of her housemate, a dowdy, bespectacled Kate Winslet. Clearly there is some kind of skulduggery afoot but what? Jeremy Northam crops up splendidly as a snobbish MI5 agent looking into all these goings-on. Tense, intelligent stuff, very nicely played.
The Rock ★★★★
If you thought San Francisco’s notorious island prison of Alcatraz was escape-proof, just try breaking into it. That’s the challenge facing Nicolas Cage, as he tries to stop Ed Harris from unleashing a dirty bomb over the Bay area. Fortunately he has a little help from a grizzled former SAS man, played with curmudgeonly relish by Sean Connery. Michael Bay directs with his usual lack of restraint, and the result is a popcorn-friendly thrill-fest.
Dog Day Afternoon ★★★★
Al Pacino reunited with his Godfather II co-star John Cazale here to play a couple of wannabe robbers who hold up a New York bank, only to discover that the money has already been moved. Things go from bad to worse as hostages are taken, the cops and TV crews arrive, and the entire neighbourhood turns up for a closer look – including Pacino’s mum. The fact that Pacino needs cash to pay for his pre-op transsexual partner to have a sex change only adds an extra unorthodox dimension to this heist-gone-wrong movie. And what’s more, it’s based on a true story.
27 Dresses ★★★
Poor Katherine Heigl. She’s just so gosh-darn nice and pretty, yet she’s still single after playing serial bridesmaid to her friends at their weddings. And now the guy she does like is going to marry her sister. It’s all so unfair. Fortunately, this being a Hollywood rom-com, it’ll probably all work out for the best. Perhaps you had better watch it though, just in case.
Mortal Thoughts ★★★
10.50pm-1.00am Movie Mix
Demi Moore and Bruce Willis were a married couple when they made this whodunnit together. Moore stars as the concerned friend of Glenne Headly, who’s trapped in an abusive relationship with husband Willis. When he turns up dead, cop Harvey Keitel goes looking for answers. The investigation prompts much twisty-turny to-ing and fro-ing, so don’t think you’ll guess the culprit so easily.