BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
A Shot in the Dark ★★★★
The first sequel to The Pink Panther and possibly the best in the series. Peter Sellers as the ludicrously inept Inspector Clouseau investigates a murder at the home of Paris plutocrat George Sanders. Actually it turns out to be multiple murder as one killing follows another, to confuse both the issue and, of course, Clouseau, who bungles his way through the investigation and is himself arrested four times, once for public nudity. Clouseau’s boss, the neurotic Commissioner Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) adds to the confusion by accidentally stabbing himself and cutting off his own thumb. Altogether this is highly enjoyable slapstick stuff, to which Elke Sommer supplies eye candy and a vague romantic interest as the maid accused of the first murder.
The Jackal ★★★
Richard Gere is an ex-IRA man hot on the heels of Bruce Willis’s titular assassin in this glossy 1997 remake of the Fred Zinnemann classic. The Jackal boldly charges $70 million for the job of erasing a top American political figure, which is just short of the fee Willis demanded to appear in The Expendables 3…
If anyone can handle the furious, quick-fire dialogue of writer/director David Mamet, it’s Gene Hackman. He commands the screen as Joe Moore, a master thief on the brink of retirement except that he can’t resist – you guessed it – one last job.
After Lucia ★★★
Premiere 1.25-3.10am C4
This brutal coming-of-age drama from Mexico taps into current fears about the way the internet has magnified issues around sex and bullying for teenagers. Tessa Ia gives a haunting performance as a girl whose drunken mistake is severely punished.
Dazed and Confused ★★★★
Writer/director Richard Linklater is surfing the wave of awards glory with Boyhood, but he’s always been down with the kids. Look out for the fresh faces of Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich and Parker Posey in his 1993 cult hit following high-school kids on the last day before summer break.
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