BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
Good Will Hunting ★★★★
11.10pm-1.40am Film Four
This was a breakthrough movie for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, not as actors but as Oscar-winning screenwriters. Bit of a breakthrough, too, for Robin Williams, who also won an Oscar. Damon plays Will Hunting, a young janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is happy hanging out and boozing with his mates but is also a mathematical genius. When he gets into trouble with the police, four people try to help him recognise his natural gifts and better himself — his best mate Ben Affleck, MIT professor Stellan Skarsgard, Damon’s Harvard girlfriend Minnie Driver and shrink Williams, another underachiever trying to redeem himself. The problem is that Damon doesn’t want to change. The story may be predictable but it’s skilfully written, honest, sincere and touching, and stylishly directed by Gus Van Sant. Damon is very good and Williams, not normally among my favourite actors, actually pulls off a fine performance, his scenes with Damon being some of the best in the film.
A Serious Man ★★★★
Superstar directors the Coen brothers opt for an unstarry but terrific cast for this typically thought-provoking tale about a physics professor in 60s Minneapolis trying to figure out the puzzles of life.
Carry On Cabby ★★★
The battle of the sexes is fought out by rival taxi firms in a funny, heartwarming Carry On that’s devoid of the series’ later lewdness. Sid James is in fine cheeky-chappy fettle while series regulars Hattie Jacques, Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Connor are never less than memorable.
Harry Brown ★★★
10.00pm-12 midnight 5★
Michael Caine takes a leaf out of “youngster” Liam Neeson’s geri-action book as the eponymous old age punisher who uses his military skills to rid the neighbourhood of violent gangs.
Ron Howard’s movie about a family of firefighters has some breathtaking special effects and a fine cast that includes Kurt Russell, Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland and Jennifer Jason Leigh. But who’s the twisted firestarter responsible for a spate of blazes?
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