TV | Freeview Flicks of the Week: The Rum Diary, The Queen and Stand By Me

In the Middle’s weekly best freeview flicks picks are here! This week we go on a trip to Puerto Rico, take a look at the life of our current Queen and explore Iranian culture.

MONDAY – The Rum Diary (Film4 23:05)

Director Bruce Robinson made a name for himself with this film, and although his recent directorial, The Rum Diary, is nowhere near the level of genius in Withnail, it is still a good watch. Based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp plays a journalist who takes on a job in Puerto Rico and discovers the eccentric lives of the people who live there. A funny and enjoyable film.

TUESDAY – This Is Not A Film (Film4 02:25)

Often films have intriguing stories behind them that can be just as interesting as the film itself, something true of this Iranian documentary. The film starts by showing director, Jafar Panahi, under house arrest and awaiting the result of his appeal against his prison sentence and ban from film-making. Bored, he starts to make a film, documenting his life. Smuggled in a flash drive inside a birthday cake, the film made it to Cannes, where it thrilled audiences. Giving an interesting and detailed insight into Iranian culture, it makes for a thrilling documentary.

WEDNESDAY – Downfall (BBC4 21:00)

Out of all Second World War films, the best is German film Downfall, which shows Hitler in his final days  hiding in a bunker in Berlin. Although it has been repeatedly parodied on the internet, nothing can take away from the film’s sheer emotional power. Bruno Ganz gives the performance of a lifetime, unafraid to show Hitler as a vulnerable human being, which in fact makes him all the more terrifying.

THURSDAY – 8 Mile (ITV4 22:00)

Many musicians try and fail at a film career, but one man who has certainly succeeded is Eminem. In 8 Mile, he plays a young rapper struggling trying to make a living, a role he truly embraces and gives a brilliant performance. With a great soundtrack featuring the best of Eminem, including his classic song ‘Lose Yourself’  which was written for the film, and some great drama, it is actually a good watch.

FRIDAY – The Mechanic (Film4 21:00)

Sometimes on a Friday night, you just need a brainless action thriller to watch with your mates, and The Mechanic is perfect. The Stath (Jason Statham) plays an elite hit man, who teaches his trade to a young apprentice who has connections to a past victim. Expect fights, funs, explosions, chase sequences and the Stath yelling a lot.

SATURDAY – The Queen (ITV3 11:05)

Helen Mirren is undoubtedly one of Britain’s best actresses. In The Queen, she really shows what she is capable of,  with her role winning her an Oscar and stealing critics’ hearts. Focusing on the period after the death of Princess Diana, Mirren gives us a glimpse into the woman that features on our coins. Michael Sheen is also rather good as Tony Blair too.

SUNDAY – Stand By Me (5* 14:00)

Pretty much everyone watches and adores The Big Bang Theory, a comedy show that follows a group of scientists and their friends. Often famous actors appear in cameo roles on the show, including Will Wheaton who features repeatedly as himself. Jokes are often made about his past acting career, how he made it as a child star and has done very little since (which Wheaton takes in surprisingly good humour). The film that made him a child star is the absolutely wonderful Stand By Me, which derives from a Stephen King novel and the well known song. Telling the story of four boys who go on a hiking trip to find the missing body of a dead child, it is a tale of friendship, childhood and love. Completely heart-warming, it is great for a Sunday afternoon.


Emily Murray


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