Freeview Flicks of the Week: Black Swan, The Disappearance of Alice Creed and Stardust

In the Middle’s best weekly freeview flicks picks is here! This week we visit a magical realm, hang out with some vampires and go to the ballet.

MONDAY – The Disappearance of Alice Creed (BBC1 00:30)

Gemma Arterton is best known for being the glamourous Bond girl, Strawberry Fields, in Quantum of Solace, but she is no stranger to the independent film scene. In 2009’s stripped-back The Disappearance of Alice Creed, she really steals the show in the role of Alice, who uses her wit to make a stand against the tormentors who have kidnapped her. There are only three actors in the film, the brilliant Arterton, the chilling Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston, who play her torturers. Full of unexpected plot twists, it is an extremely tense watch and will keep you gripped.

TUESDAY – Nowhere Boy (Film4 23:45)

This Friday sees the release of the controversial and long-awaited Fifty Shades of Grey, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. However, his previous film, Nowhere Boy, was a very different kind of movie. Nowhere Boy tells the story of John Lennon’s first years in the music industry, focusing on his life as a teenager and his relationships with his aunt and mother. The cast is fantastic, featuring the talents of Kristin Scott Thomas, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Anne Marie-Duff.

WEDNESDAY – Byzantium (Film4 21:00)

Gemma Arterton seems to be a favourite here at The Gryphon this week, as another of her films, Byzantium, also features in our picks. Byzantium is a seductive and mysterious film that follows two vampires, played beautifully by Arterton and the young Saoirse Ronan, who seek shelter at a local resort in a quiet coastal town. This isn’t your usual vampire film though, as it avoids all clichés and takes the genre in a fresh direction. You are never sure who or what to trust, and the lines between good and bad are constantly blurred, making it an unsettling but thrilling watch.

THURSDAY – Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Movie Mix 21:00)

When a quirky romantic comedy gets it right, it can be one of the sweetest films you have ever watched. This is certainly the case for the kooky Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, which is bursting with imagination and originality. As an asteroid nears Earth, Steve Carell’s lovable Dodge is left alone when his wife runs away in a panic, and so he goes on a road trip with his neighbour to find his high school sweetheart. Keira Knightley is just brilliant, and although she is queen of romantic comedies, her performance in this is very different. Sweet and really enjoyable, it is an alternative romance to enjoy this Valentine’s Day weekend.

FRIDAY – Black Swan (More4 21:00)

Darren Aronofsky’s melodramatic, twisted psychological thriller is an elegant and beautiful masterpiece. Natalie Portman gives the performance of a lifetime in the role of Nina, a ballet dancer desperate to reach her best.  So, when she is cast as the Swan Queen, she starts to slowly unravel. This isn’t just a film, it is an experience and one that will leave you agape with astonishment at the end. An extraordinary piece of work, and we can assure you that you will never see anything like it ever again.

SATURDAY – Tropic Thunder (BBC3 21:00)

This Saturday is Valentine’s Day, and so whilst all the couples in your life are out having pizza and wine in a romantic restaurant, why don’t you get the mates round for a night in of silly films and takeout? And what better film is there for this than Tropic Thunder, a crazy and outrageous comedy that somehow manages to be sweet, dumb, witty and hilarious all at the same time. With Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black heading an amazing cast that also features some pretty hilarious cameos, you know you are in for a good time.

SUNDAY – Stardust (Film4 13:00)

Matthew Vaughn may be currently shocking audiences with his outrageous Kingsman: The Secret Service, but this versatile director has quite the backlog of films, one of his best being the adorable Stardust, simply the complete opposite to Kingsman. This romantic fairy-tale adventure follows a young man who promises his beloved a fallen star from a magical realm, and from this plot description alone you know you are in for a mystical and enchanted time. Claire Danes is not only beautiful but brilliant in the role of Yvaine, and is accompanied by a stellar cast that includes the likes of Sienna Miller and Charlie Cox. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon.

Emily Murray

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