BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
Gosford Park ★★★★
This is the film that set Julian Fellowes on his way to an Oscar, Downton Abbey, Golden Globes, Emmies and now a peerage. Not bad for a mere scribbler. Actually, it’s not too dissimilar from Downton, being an upstairs/downstairs drama set in a stately home in 1932. I didn’t like it much the first time I saw it but do record it and watch it again because it’s a sharp, subtle study of the English class system, smartly directed by Robert Altman, and studded with outstanding performances by the likes of Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Kelly Macdonald and, of course, Maggie Smith. (Where would Lord Fellowes be without Maggie?) At the centre of it is a murder mystery with nearly everyone having a plausible motive but that’s merely the MacGuffin because the true pleasure of the film lies in its dissection of greed, snobbery and the inequities of the class system.
Tron Legacy ★★★
Jeff Bridges returns to his youth, courtesy of some striking CGI, to reprise his 1982 role as a computer programmer taken hostage in a virtual world. His son, Garrett Hedlund, goes to find him and must face a host of nasty viruses and bugs. There’s also an outstanding electro soundtrack by Daft Punk.
Black Swan ★★★★
Ballerina Natalie Portman’s feathers get ruffled as the rivalry between her and Mila Kunis over the coveted role of the Swan Queen becomes all consuming, in Darren Aronofsky’s danse macabre.
9.00-11.10pm Film Four
Saoirse Ronan stars as the teenage assassin with Cate Blanchett in her sights in this quirky, fast-paced thriller.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day ★★★★★
Only a few months to wait now for fifth movie, Terminator: Genisys, so let the excitement build while you watch this spectacular sequel. Director James Cameron cranks up the pyrotechnics as Arnie squares up against the slippery shape-shifting T-1000.