TV films of the week
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Gene Wilder, the original silver-screen Willie Wonka, recently called this Tim Burton remake 'an insult' to the 1971 film, but no doubt it has its fans. Apparently, Johnny Depp modelled his Wonka on Michael Jackson, which is disturbing all by itself. Some horrible children, plus poor little Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) win a visit to the most spectacular sweet factory in the world.
10pm, Channel 4
It is three days before US Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) leaves her post in Antarctica for sunnier climes. It is also three days before the sun sets on the continent for six full months. So, when a naked dead body is discovered in the snow, leading to the discovery of several more murder victims, Carrie has a race against time and disappearing light on her hands.
Before Sunrise (1995)
As the third film in this indie love story reaches cinemas and speaks of struggling to make love survive real life, take this chance to remember how it all began. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) meet on a train in Europe and spend a single night together in Vienna, where they roam the streets and talk. And talk and talk.
Ali: An American Hero (2000)
Not to be confused with the big-bucks Ali movie with Will Smith in the title role, but a smaller, made-for-TV biopic, starring David Ramsey as the great boxer. The story starts out with Cassius Clay, follows his conversion to Islam, his rise and fall and rise again in the heated, heady atmosphere of Zaire. Also stars Clarence Williams III and Vondie Curtis-Hall.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
A family that is far from perfectly happy and far from all-American sets out on a roadtrip with a kids' beauty pageant as its ultimate destination. Half the family is fighting with one another, but Olive (Abigail Breslin) and Grandpa Edwin (Alan Arkin) are a united team who have been in training for the Little Miss Sunshine contest for some time. Heart-warming and hilarious, sometimes for all the wrong reasons.
The Hottie and the Nottie (2008)
Stars Paris Hilton, which kind of says it all. Nate (Joel David Moore) goes all the way to LA to track down the object of his high-school affections, Cristabel (Hilton). She remains utterly and entirely out of his league, but Nate fails to see this and instead regards her plain best friend June (Christine Lakin) as his only obstacle. As he tries to get rid of June, however, her less-obvious charms are revealed and Nate has to reassess everything he believes about love.
Forces of Nature (1999)
Ben (Ben Affleck) is rushing to make it to his wedding on time, which bodes ill from the outset. He manages to catch the last flight to Georgia, but when that plane is hit by a bird, he finds himself travelling by road, and in the company of a racy lady called Sara (Sandra Bullock), who is so unlike his fiancee that she couldn't possibly be his type. At first.
Bride Wars (2009)
Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) are very best friends since childhood and when both become engaged on the same day and choose the same planner, Marion (Candice Bergen), for their respective weddings, their bond is only reinforced. None of this matters a jot, however, when Marion books the weddings for the same hotel on the same day. The girls become sworn enemies and set out to scupper each other's big day. A lovely film about female friendship.
Written and directed by Richard E Grant, who based it on his childhood in Swaziland, this film stars Nicholas Hoult as Ralph Compton, a boy whose country and family are going through major upheaval. Swaziland is on the brink of independence from Britain, while the Compton parents (Gabriel Byrne and Emily Watson) are also effecting a traumatic separation.
A Perfect Murder (1998)
A slick and rather less gritty remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder. Michael Douglas is the exceedingly wealthy middle-aged husband of an exceedingly attractive younger wife (Gwyneth Paltrow). She's having an affair with a young artist (Viggo Mortensen) and when the husband finds out, he plots the perfect murder, a crime that goes perfectly wrong. Directed by Andrew Davis.
Deadly Friends (2003)
Based on a true story, this film stars Jessica Pare – now better known for her role as Mrs Don Draper No 2 – as Nancy Eaton, a Canadian department-store heiress who forms a friendship she comes to regret. Brendan Fletcher plays Andrew Leyshon-Hughes, a scion of another well-got Canadian family, whose troubled soul sees his childhood friendship with Eaton come to a grisly end that scandalised 1980s Canada.
Maid in Manhattan (2002)
THERE'S a funny sort of chemistry between the stars of this romcom, Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes. She's a Latina single mother working as a hotel chambermaid and he's a rich senatorial candidate who stumbles across her trying on a wealthy guest's dress, imagines she's his kind of girl, and falls for her. She does not immediately disabuse him, which creates a certain My Fair Lady tension, but the truth will out.
Music and Lyrics (2007)
In his youth, Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) was a major pop star and, when we meet him entering middle age, the fame is starting to fade. He's recruited to write a song for pop's latest big thing and it could save his career, if only he can crack the art of writing lyrics. Luckily, the girl watering his plants, Sophie (Drew Barrymore) has a way with words and when they blend their talents, magic happens.
Starship Troopers (1997)
Paul Verhoeven directs Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards and Dina Meyer in this futuristic adventure. In the future, it seems, the world will be at war with a hostile planet of violent insects. Earth's teenagers are recruited into the armed services and sent to fight the bugs.
Writer Eddie is living life in the slow lane when he is introduced to NZT, a drug that will allow him to use almost all of his brain capacity at high speed. Eddie (Bradley Cooper) starts writing brilliantly, but when he returns for a second dose and finds his dealer dead, he takes all the dealer's NZT and, worse, starts using it. Suddenly, he's making millions on the stock market, impressing people with his dynamism, and attracting the attention of all the wrong people.