ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY
Pan’s Labyrinth ★★★★★
10.55pm-1.10am Horror Channel
The battle for the best foreign language film Oscar in 2007 was won by Germany’s The Lives of Others, an austere drama about the cruelty of East Germany’s secret police in the 1980s, but many felt that Mexico’s Pan’s Labyrinth was robbed. Not me, incidentally, but Pan’s Labyrinth also deserves recognition as an uncommonly bold piece of film-making. A rich, grown-up fantasy about the cruelty of Spain’s Fascist regime in the 1940s from writer/director Guillermo del Toro, it received Oscars for art direction, cinematography and make-up, suggesting, perhaps, mere technical brilliance. Not true. It tells the story of an inquisitive girl (Ivana Baquero) who seeks respite from a wicked stepfather (Sergi Lopez’s brutal Captain Vidal) by exploring a maze, wherein fantastic and terrifying creatures hold sway. Set a number of tasks by a mysterious faun (the marvellously costumed Doug Jones), she must keep this parallel universe secret, while Captain Vidal’s command comes under threat from rebel forces at a woodland stronghold. It’s violent in places, but also thrilling, heart-stopping and quite weird.
Keeping Rosy ★★★
You may recognise Maxine Peake from TV dramas like Silk. In this twisted little tale, she’s playing a career woman whose life unravels like a cheap suit.
A Good Year ★★★
Russell Crowe is perfectly cast as a brutish City trader suddenly left a French vineyard in his uncle’s will. Cue much re-assessment of priorities, many lessons in the production of wine, and romance in the form of Marion Cotillard.
The Princess Diaries ★★★
See Anne Hathaway advancing by stealth on stardom in this flyaway fantasy about an average girl being tutored in princess-ship by a businesslike (and perfectly cast) Julie Andrews.
The Night of the Generals ★★★
Peter O’Toole as a psychotic Nazi general? It happens in this strange, sumptuously cast Second World War movie about an investigator (Omar Sharif) hunting a prostitute’s killer.
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