As we mourn yet more passings in the cinematic world (RIP, Abe Vigoda), and the first month of the 2016 comes to an end, we look to the TV-film to salve our losses.
The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004)
Sunday, 5:20pm on C4
Before Marvel made superheroes into the cinematic phenomenon they are today, Brad Bird’s fantastic animation told the story of Bob Parr (Craig T Nelson), a man trying to adjust to life outside of superhero-don following his history as Mr. Incredible.
He lives a good life with his wife, Helen (Holly Hunter), a former superhero herself – Elastigirl – and their three kids, but finds himself bored and stressed by grind of 9-to-5. Moonlighting with his pal Frozone (Samuel L Jackson), Bob is lured back into the hero days by former fan turned villain Syndrome (Jason Lee).
The Incredibles is truly heroic, heartfelt fun with a sweet message about family at its centre.
True Grit (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2010)
Sunday, 10:00pm on BBC2
Not the classic Western starring John Wayne but a surprisingly faithful re-adaption of Charles Portis’ original novel.
Here Jeff Bridges stars as Rooster Cogburn, the curmudgeonly one-eyed cowboy called on by young Mattie Ross (breakout star Hailee Steinfeld) to hunt down the murderer of her father at the hands of a drifter (Josh Brolin). Matt Damon also features in droll, scene-stealing form as Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, but it’s the Oscar-nominated Bridges and Steinfeld who rules the day this restrained but visceral western.
Perfect for those who adored the Coens’ more revisionist take on the genre, No Country For Old Men.
The Guard (John Michael McDonagh, 2011)
Tuesday, 11:10pm on Film4
A gut-busting comedy from Irish writer-director John Michael McDonagh.
Brendan Gleeson is on top form as a sly small-town copper Gerry Boyle who indulges his own urges as much as he upholds the law. When FBI yank Don Cheadle comes to the emerald isle the two form an unlikely and awkward alliance to bring down drug runner Liam Cunningham along with Cockney thug Mark Strong. The Guard may not big on plot, and the storyline ultimately means very little, but it’s so laugh out loud funny it eclipses all else.
A great debut that lead to star and director re-teaming for harrowing drama Calvary.
Airplane! (David Zucker & David Abrahams & Jerry Zucker, 1980)
Wednesday, 7:15pm on Film4
Starring the legendary Leslie Nielson, the Zucker Brothers’ Airplane! remains the parody to end all parody.
The plot? It doesn’t matter, but a plane is in trouble when pilots fall ill, and the jokes come thick, fast, and the film lands every one. If you’ve not seen it, do. Just do us a favour and don’t call anyone Shirley.