BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY Elizabeth: the Golden Age★★★★ 12.05-2.05am ITV3
First question: Is this movie true to history? Answer: Well, no. Second question: Does it work as a film? Answer: Yes, especially if you can forgive it playing fast and loose with the facts. It’s director Shekhar Kapur’s sequel to the 1998 Elizabeth and again stars the splendid Cate Blanchett in the title role. In 1585 Spain declares war on England, where the ageing Elizabeth is being urged by Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) to marry and thwart the ambitions of Mary, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton). Elizabeth, however, is having it away with Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), which came as news to me. Henceforth we are plunged into murky Papist plots, with Eddie Redmayne assigned to assassinate the queen, the Spanish king planning to grab the English throne for his daughter and, naturally, Francis Drake defeating the Spanish Armada. Historically it’s a mess but thrilling and absorbing nevertheless, and Blanchett was deservedly rewarded with an Oscar nomination as best actress.
Pierce Brosnan’s second outing as 007 finds him teaming up with high-kicking Chinese agent Michelle Yeoh to thwart the plans of a megalomaniac press baron, played with mouth-frothing glee by Jonathan Pryce.
A first chance on Freeview to see this coming-of-age comedy, which sees teenager Liam James dragged on holiday with his folks, Steve Carell and Toni Collete. But salvation is at hand courtesy of water-park manager Sam Rockwell.
Gary Oldman was at his crazy, scenery-chewing best when he played the villain in this 90s blockbuster. Midair mayhem ensues when Oldman’s Russian terrorist group seizes control of the President’s plane. But seeing as this Commander in Chief is played by none other than Harrison Ford, he’s not going to come quietly.
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