Critic’s Choice – Films on TV Wednesday 31st December

December 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Spellbound  – BBC2, 10.20am Alert Me

More morning Hitchcock, this time set in a mental hospital, where psychoanalyst Ingrid Bergman falls in love with mysterious Gregory Peck. With a dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali, it’s typically good stuff from the tubby master of suspense – though not exactly made to be watched at 10 in the morning.


Just Like Heaven – BBC2, 7.05pm Alert Me

Reese With-her-spoon brightens up this jolly strange romcom with her spoon presence. It must have been an entertaining pitch: workaholic doctor has no time for love, is set up on a date, drives there, but has an accident and ends up comatose. The guy who she was going to the date with then moves into her apartment (not in a creepy way – it’s more of a coincidental ‘story quirk,’ similar to the way that Quasimodo has a spinal quirk), which her ghost is haunting (even though she’s not dead) – but he can see her ghost, and they fall in love. And (oh yes!) they have to work together to find out who this ghost is, because poor old ethereal Reese can’t remember a doggone thing! Oh, those crazy spirits! If you can somehow manage to swallow that unmitigated load of cobblers, then this is a surprisingly decent film.

Risky Business  – BBC1, 00.20am Alert Me

Ring in the new year with a 1983 teen sex romp starring Tom Cruise as a pampered rich kid whose parents go away for a while – leaving him to crash his dad’s Porsche and dial up a preposterously hot call girl. Despite  the film residing in some suburban Hollywood la-la-land and treating prostitution with teenage-boy levels of optimism, a sharp script means that it’s actually much better than it sounds. 


Young Frankenstein  – BBC4, 00.25am Alert Me

Comedy classic from Mel Brooks. Enjoying a bit of a renaissance thanks to the universally-loved Broadway version of The Producers, Brooks’ next – not tremendously original – idea was to turn this film into a musical. It didn’t do so well, and is closing in the new year – the insidious credit crunch claims another victim! It’s slightly obvious, in hindsight – this is such a filmy-film. Shot in gloriously mucky black and white, it’s a parody of the old 30s horror films – the music, the atmosphere, the effects all add so much to the comedy – putting it on stage rather misses the point. There’s so much to love here as Frederick Frankenstein (“it’s pronounced Fronk-en-Steen!?), reluctant grandson of the famed mad scientist, inherits the family estate in Transylvania and continues the work of reanimating the dead. As you do. It’s all tremendously silly, terribly quotable. And depending on how much you’ve drunk, you probably won’t be able to find this elsewhere on New Year’s Eve: Frankenstein’s monster singing and dancing in a top hat and tails version of Puttin’ On The Ritz.