Friday 19 January 2018

16 Blocks

Paul Whitington

Now a sprightly 53, Bruce Willis proved last year that he can still look plausible in a big budget action movie with the hugely successful Die Hard 4.0.

This less spectacular Richard Donner cop thriller did rather less well at the box office when it opened in 2006 (in fact, it barely covered its production costs), but it's since become something of a sleeper hit on DVD and deservedly so. Because a clever storyline is augmented by a fine performance from Willis and the surprising comic talents of Mos Def.

Willis is Jack Mosley, a burnt-out alcoholic NYPD detective who's just going home from a graveyard shift when his boss asks him to escort a witness to a grand jury testimony.

Mosley complies, but as soon as he meets Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) he wishes he hadn't. Eddie is a verbose smartass who plagues Mosley with questions as they set out to the courthouse. But Eddie's moaning is the least of Mosley's problems: his charge is a key witness in the trial of a corrupt cop, and the entire police department seems intent on stopping him.

Becket (1964): When the troublesome Archbishop of Canterbury dies, Edward II appoints his friend Thomas a Becket to the post, but is surprised to find him an unwilling stooge. Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole star in this lavish historical drama (Today, BBC2, 2.25pm).

Proof (2006): Rather glib but entertaining enough drama starring Gwyneth Paltrow as the gifted daughter of a mentally unbalanced mathematician who tries to come to terms with his death and legacy. With Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal (Sunday, RTE2, 9pm).

Kingpin (1996): Deeply unsubtle but very funny Farrelly brothers comedy about a simple Amish idiot who turns out to have a divine talent for bowling. With Randy Quaid, Woody Harrelson, Bill Murray (Sunday, C4, 11pm).

The China Syndrome (1979): Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon star in this classic thriller about the cover-up of a dangerous leak at a nuclear power plant. With Michael Douglas (Tuesday, TG4, 9.05pm).

Legally Blonde (2001): Reese Witherspoon is wonderful as the dim but doughty Elle Woods, who decides to get her own back when her callow boyfriend dumps her. Comedy, with Luke Wilson (Wednesday, RTE1, 9.35pm).

For a few Dollars More (1965): Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef join forces to hunt down a Mexican psychopath (Friday, TG4, 9.05pm).

Little Britain USA

Tonight, BBC1, 9.50pm

The ever-inventive Matt Lucas and David Walliams have taken their cast of oddballs to America for this new series, and added a couple of new ones. Along with regulars such as Dafydd Thomas (the only gay in the village) and Emily Howard (the transvestite in denial), we now have Bing Gordyn, the eighth man to go to the moon; Phyllis, who is powerless to ignore suggestions from her manipulative King Charles spaniel; and Sandra and George, a nauseating couple.

In tonight's show, Vicky Pollard arrives at a Utah boot camp after being thrown out of Disneyland, and Marjorie Dawes dispenses more relentlessly cruel advice to the unfortunate patrons of Fatfighters.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Larry invests in a restaurant with Ted Danson. (Tonight, Channel 6, 8.50pm).

Beautiful Things: Simon and Kylie are egged on by their mothers to audition for a school production (Tonight, BBC2, 10.10pm).

Killinaskully: As Killinaskully gears up for its annual motor rally, Timmy thinks he's experiencing an alien invasion (Sunday, RTE1, 8.30pm).

Peter Kay's Britain's Got the Pop Factor: The comedian presents a lavish skit on the current obsession with talent shows, in a mock contest co-starring Cat Deeley and Pete Waterman (Sunday, C4, 8pm).

Harry & Paul: In the last of Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse's sketch series, Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela have a run-in (Monday, BBC2, 10pm).

Friday Night with Jonathan Ross: Ricky Gervais always provides a lively encounter whenever he appears on Ross's show. With Gordon Ramsay (Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm).

Desperate Housewives

Tuesday, RTE2, 9.55pm

I, dear reader, must confess that I long since lost the battle of following the bizarre twists and turns of this hugely popular series.

Regular fans will know that in last season's dramatic finale, the action shot forward five years after Katherine shot her ex-husband. It's a move worthy of Dallas, and as we rejoin the lovely ladies of Wisteria Lane, things are as lively as ever.

Susan is trying to hide a new relationship; Gaby is unsure of her abilities as a mother; Bree is about to publish her own cookbook (much to the disgust of Katherine); Lynette's twins turn to crime; and Edie makes a typically dramatic return to the neighbourhood with a new man in tow.

Lipstick Jungle: Brooke Shields stars in this glitzy drama written by Sex and the City creator Candice Bushnell (Tonight, TG4, 10.20pm).

The Clinic: While Clodagh takes a leap of faith, Dan continues his attempt to gain revenge on Niall Boylan for Cathy's death by entertaining his wife, Aideen (Sunday, RTE1, 9.30pm).

Raw: In the last episode of the series, Jojo is put in charge of catering for Tanya's sister's wedding, and Pavel tells Geoff that he loves him (Monday, RTE2, 9.55pm).

Mad Men: The men of Madison Avenue continue to juggle marriages, affairs and busy working lives. With Don Draper, January Jones (Monday, RTE2, 12.05am).

The Wire: Even in prison Barksdale continues to run his empire, and tells D'Angelo to deal with a troublesome prison guard. Brilliant Baltimore-based crime drama (Thursday, Channel 6, 9.25pm).

Cashmere Mafia: Lucy Liu stars in this drama about the glamorous but troubled lives of four New York women. Tonight, Mia faces a serious dilemma in her new job (Thursday, RTE2, 11.40pm).

Who do you think you are?

Monday, RTE2, 9.35pm

This week, it's Pamela Flood who researches her family history.

A letter by her grandmother opens up an adventure through 19th-century Dublin, taking in red light districts, millionaire solicitors, pawnbrokers, contested wills, illegitimate children and murder.

The only inkling Pamela had of something unusual in her family tree was a story her Granny used to tell about being sent to stay with her grandmother at Corballis House. Pamela meets historian David Nolan, who has written a history of Corballis House. His records show that a man named Donoghue was listed as the owner and, before that, the house was owned by wealthy Dublin solicitor, Joseph Wall. Then Pamela remembers that on Donoghue's birth certificate, his mother's maiden name was Wall. There must be some connection with Pamela's great great grandmother Mary Wall...

Timewatch: The dramatic story behind the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900 (Tonight, BBC2, 6.50pm).

Stephen Fry in America: The comedian begins a whistle-stop journey across the United States by visiting New England (Sunday, BBC1, 9pm).

Would You Believe: The story of Patrick Lynch's struggle to square his homosexuality with his Christian vocation (Sunday, RTE1, 10.35pm).

Panorama: A look at the pros and cons of Sarah Palin's performance thus far (Monday, BBC1, 8.30pm).

Jamie's Ministry of Food: The chef teaches a recipe to a thousand pupils in just one day (Tuesday, Channel 4, 9pm).

The American Future: A History: Simon Schama examines the contradictions of the American attitude to war (Friday, BBC2, 9pm).

Republic of Ireland v Cyprus

Wednesday, RTE2, 7pm

As Giovanni Trapattoni faces his first competitive game at Croke Park, it's very much a case of so far so good. After two potentially tricky away games against Georgia and Montenegro, the Republic have four points and lie second behind the Italians in Group 8. A solid central defensive partnership and the fine form of Stephen Reid in midfield are among the many positives to be taken from an encouraging start to the 2010 campaign.

But while it's ok to draw away games on dodgy pitches in faraway places, anything less than a win here against one of our prime bogey teams, Cyprus, would do our chances of qualifying no good whatsoever. It will be interesting to see how Trapattoni approaches this game, and whether he will swallow the bitter pill and play the defensively indifferent but very creative Andy Reid. A cagey approach will not do here.

Rugby: Leinster face a tricky away fixture in the Heineken League against Edinburgh (Today, Sky Sports 1, 1pm).

Racing: The Channel 4 team present races from Musselburgh, Bangor-on-Dee and Ascot (Today, C4, 2pm).

Soccer: Live coverage of England's World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan (Today, Setanta Ireland, 4.45pm).

Soccer: A chance to assess the form of our Group 8 rivals Italy, who face a stern away tie with Bulgaria in Sofia (Tonight, Setanta Ireland, 7.15pm).

Motor Racing: Live coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix from the Fuji Speedway, with the early morning start strictly for fanatics (Sunday, Setanta Ireland, 5.15am).

GAA: Michael Lyster presents the 2008 GAA All Stars live from the Citywest Hotel in Dublin (Friday, RTE1, 7pm).

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