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Seven films to watch on TV in the UAE this week
Stuck for what to watch on the small screen? With our handy guide, you can enjoy the best of the week’s movies without checking your programme guide. Some of them are at strange times, so you could record them all and indulge in a weekend binge. Here’s our pick of the week’s best.
La La Land
Sunday 6 May, 9.50pm, OSN Movies First HD
Damien Chazelle wrote musical romcom La La Land in 2010, but surprisingly couldn’t find a studio willing to finance the project. Following the success of his 2014 film Whiplash, Chazelle finally got the green light for a modest $30m production starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and the rest is history. A record-equalling 14 Oscar nominations, six wins and almost half a billion dollars at the global box office later, and you can’t help wondering if the studios are making it up as they go along.
Monday May 7, 12.05am, OSN Movies First HD
Tom Ford’s bleak novel-within-a-film won widespread praise for the performances of leads Jake Gyllenhall and Amy Adams as novelist Edward Sheffield and his estranged wife Susan and, in Gyllenhall’s case, his secondary role as Tony, the lead character in Sheffield’s latest crime novel, which forms the central subplot to the film. The movie picked up the Grand Jury Prize at 2016’s Venice Film Festival, while its distinct visual style further cements former Gucci creative director Ford’s reputation as a film maker with a unique aesthetic.
Once Upon a Time in America
Tuesday May 8, 11pm, OSN Festival HD
Sergio Leone’s final film brings Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and James Woods together for a mob epic in the finest Hollywood tradition. The film split critics on release. European critics loved the 229-minute cinematic treat. In the US, however, distributors The Ladd Company concluded audiences would never accept such a lengthy self-indulgence, and butchered the film into a more palatable 139-minute version, rearranging the chronology and destroying the movie in the process. OSN, thankfully, is showing the full-length version.
Wednesday May 9, 10pm, OSN Movies HD
Keeping on the mob epic trail, Martin Scorsese’s 1990 classic surely needs little introduction. De Niro and Pesci head up the cast once again, with Ray Liotta also on board this time, and the actors were encouraged to adlib and experiment extensively in rehearsals, with Scorsese rewriting the script according to what developed. The film won a clutch of Oscar and Bafta nominations and wins, including a best supporting actor Oscar for Pesci, and Goodfellas can usually be reliably found sitting in the higher echelons of the ubiquitous Best Movies Ever lists that magazines and critics periodically publish.
Thursday May 10, 2.50pm, Sundance Channel
It shouldn’t come as any shock that first-time director Scott Cohen was a nature photographer prior to getting behind the lens of a cinecamera – Red Knot is surely one of the most visually satisfying cinema experiences of 2014. Admittedly the visual joy can sometimes be at the expense of other elements of the film – the script, intentionally minimal and in parts improvised, can feel unfinished in places, and we don’t learn too much about the newlyweds, Olivia Thirlby and Vincent Kartheiser, who eschew a traditional honeymoon so the latter’s Arctic exploration obsession can take them on board an Antarctic research vessel. Don’t put too much importance on the flimsy plot, however, and you’re in for a gorgeous 80 minutes of icy vistas and penguin fun.
Stand by Me
Friday May 11, 11.35pm, OSN Festival HD
Rob Reiner’s coming-of-age classic defined an entire generation of teen movies, and can largely take the credit for introducing the world to child stars including Kiefer Sutherland, Coreys Haim and Feldman and River Phoenix. The movie, adapted from Steven King’s novella The Body, is about four young friends who find a dead body in the woods. The film is a cult classic, and even the difficult-to-please King was impressed, in his own understated way. He said following a private screening ahead of the movie’s release: “That’s the best film ever made out of anything I’ve written, which isn’t saying much. But you’ve really captured my story.”
The Blair Witch Project
Saturday May 12, 10.15pm, OSN Thriller HD
Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s micro-budget 1999 shocker may not seem ground breaking today, but the movie essentially invented the now overdone found footage genre and brought no-budget filmmaking into the mainstream in an unprecedented manner. The film was shown on more than 1,100 screens in North American, and its almost quarter-billion global gross was more than 4,000 times its production budget. It’s in terms of marketing that the film perhaps undertook the greatest redrawing of boundaries, however. An intense online campaign, the first of its kind in cinema, convinced eager audiences ahead of release that the film was made with real recovered footage, with the film makers all listed as missing, presumed dead. A whole invented universe was created to hoodwink audiences into thinking they were witnessing real grisly murders, and the technique, now known as “transmedia” would go on to market everything from low budget indie flicks to Marvel behemoths. The makers have a lot to answer for…