ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY
The Producers ★★★★★
Although he lived to 83, the death of Gene Wilder on 29 August felt like another cruel loss in an oversubscribed year. Making an instant impression with his frizzy hair, wide eyes and neurotic whinny, he starred in three classics for director Mel Brooks: a bag of nervous energy as accountant Leo Bloom in The Producers; a cooler presence as the white gunslinger to Cleavon Little’s black sheriff in Blazing Saddles; and the mad doctor in Young Frankenstein, whose white-tie-and-tails routine with Peter Boyle’s Monster was gleefully shared online on the day of Wilder’s passing. As a teenager I also loved his pair-ups with the equally frenetic Richard Pryor – Wilder was a generous performer who loved to bounce of the talent of others. His Willy Wonka was enigmatic and sad but never creepy, and it’s always warming to see his harassed everyman opposite wife Gilda Radner in The Woman in Red. But The Producers is where to start if you want to pay tribute.
Edge of Darkness ★★★
A cop’s daughter is murdered. The cop is Mel Gibson, which means revenge will be swift, brutal and frequent. And he uncovers a conspiracy, too.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ★★★★
A further tribute to Gene Wilder, playing the title role in a super adaptation of Roald Dahl’s darkly comic book
Out of Sight ★★★★
Opposites really do attract in this sexy, sly and snappy crime caper starring George Clooney as a career bank robber and Jennifer Lopez as the US marshal on his tail.
The River Wild ★★★★
Single-minded mum Meryl Streep and crazy criminal Kevin Bacon make waves in this white-knuckle ride of a thriller set on the foaming rapids.
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