Tuesday 23 January 2018

Film Highlights Tuesday

Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)

5 STARS

RTE Two, 4.55pm

Wes Anderson might be more famous for bookish black comedies, but this ambitious 2009 stop motion animation is arguably his most complete film yet. The subversive children's author Roald Dahl has been Anderson's hero since childhood, and Dahl wrote this gentle tale of a decidedly superior fox way back in 1970.

Mr Fox (voiced by George Clooney, above) is a chicken thief, and a pretty darned good one, but when he and his wife (Meryl Streep) are out on a job one night and she tells him she's pregnant, he promises to find himself a less risky occupation.

Despite its attendant health risks, he settles on journalism, and becomes the author of a widely admired social column in the local wildlife gazette. But the lure of crime proves too strong for him, and he later moves his family to a dangerously exposed tree house with an excellent view of the local farms.

The chickens are a calling, and it's not long before Mr Fox has concocted a cunning plan. The film's stop motion animation is beautiful to watch, and each frame seems crammed with telling details. A fine voice cast includes Bill Murray and Michael Gambon. The Awakening (2011)

HHH

BBC2, 11.25pm

This stylish and atmospheric period chiller co-written and directed by Nick Murphy is only slightly let down by its rushed and muddled ending. Rebecca Hall (below) is Florence, an author and hoax exposer who has dedicated her life to combating the craze for spiritualism that took hold at the end of World War One.

Florence will not countenance the existence of ghosts, and is deeply sceptical when Robert Mallory (Dominic West) turns up to tell her about a series of incidents at the rural boarding school where he teaches.

A child has died after getting lost in the grounds, and the other pupils are convinced it's the work of a ghostly boy who prowls the corridors. When Mallory shows Florence photos from successive years in which the ghostly child reappears, she's sure they're fakes. But she's intrigued enough to travel to the school to investigate.

She brings with her a formidable array of gadgets she hopes will help her prove that the whole thing's a hoax. But the more she investigates the more perplexed she becomes, and soon she's clinging for dear life to her beloved science.

Irish Independent

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