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Saturday 23 August 2014

Film Highlights Sunday

Published 02/03/2014 | 02:30

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Salt (2010)

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HHH

Channel 4, 9.00pm

Angelina Jolie started her career playing Lara Croft, and proved that she can still cut it as an action hero in this entertaining 2010 thriller from Phillip Noyce.

Jolie (above) is Evelyn Salt, a tough and resourceful CIA agent whose world falls apart when a Russian defector walks into CIA headquarters claiming that Salt is a pre-programmed sleeper from the Soviet era who will shortly assassinate the visiting Russian president. She goes on the run, and initially it looks like the Russian defector was right, but as the film proceeds at breakneck speed things get ever more complicated.

Jolie does well enough as a Bourne-style hero, but the film's action sequences sometimes lack credibility, and there's not much in the script for the actors to hold on to. Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor also star.

Vertigo (1958)

5 STARS

BBC2, 1.55pm

In one of Alfred Hitchcock's finest films, James Stewart is cast against type as an unbalanced former San Francisco police detective with a crippling fear of heights who becomes obsessed with a suicidal blonde woman he's asked to follow and is drawn into a dark world of secrets and deceit. With Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes.

Spartacus (1960)

5 STARS

RTE Two, 3.00pm

Stanley Kubrick's powerful epic stars Kirk Douglas as the legendary Thracian slave who led a rebellion at a provincial gladiator school that snowballed into a popular uprising that threatened the might of the Roman Empire. A fine cast includes Charles Laughton and Laurence Olivier.

Barbara (2010)

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BBC4, 10.00pm

Christian Petzold's fine Cold War thriller stars Nina Hoss as Barbara, a chain-smoking Berlin doctor who's banished to a small rural hospital on the Baltic coast after filing an official request to leave East Germany. And as the Stasi continue to monitor her, she becomes increasingly isolated.

Predator (1987)

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Channel 4, 11.00pm

In John McTiernan's entertaining sci-fi thriller, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the leader of an elite commando unit that's sent to a South American jungle to rescue terrorist hostages, but then realise they're being stalked by highly advanced extraterrestrial predators. With Carl Weathers.

The Fountain (2006)

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Channel 4, 1.00am

In Darren Aronofsky's financially disastrous but visually spectacular science-fiction romance, Hugh Jackman plays a time traveller who wanders the centuries searching for a cure for his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi, played by Rachel Weisz.

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