Finnegan On Films: Four Fantastic Films On Terrestrial TV This Week

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James Finnegan recommends two challenging films, a little known Spielberg caper plus a bona fide classic with a Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack, for your viewing pleasure this week… 

This week’s terrestrial television has two films that will challenge you, a Spielberg film with Leo and Tom which you forget about and a modern classic with perhaps the greatest soundtrack ever.

As usual I will list them in chronological order, with the caveat that details are correct at the time of writing.

The first two films are challenging but rewarding.  Being John Malkovich (Saturday 9.30pm TG4) almost defies description and is as unique as the talented actor named in the title.  However, I will try without giving away the plot.

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John Cusack plays a puppeteer, Craig Schwartz, who starts a new job.  He discovers a magic portal that allows those who enter to see the world through the eyes of the aforementioned John Malkovich.

He shares this news with a co-worker he is attracted to, Maxine Lund (Catherine Keener), who realises they can make money from this.

When Craig’s wife, Lotte, played by Cameron Diaz against type, gets involved, the film goes down a whole different route.

This is a Monty Python meets the Coen Brothers type of experience, and I can guarantee it is unlike anything you will have seen before or since.

If that sounds too simple for your Saturday evening, there is another mind warp of a film at almost the same time.

Inception (Saturday 9.50pm RTE2) is the tale of Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) a professional thief who specialises in entering other people’s dreams in order to steal secrets.

However, if you can take information out of someone’s head, perhaps you can implant suggestions?

This is perhaps Director Christopher Nolan’s finest film.  Helped by a talented ensemble that also includes Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy and, of course, Michael Caine, this is superior film making on an epic scale.

Yes, the technical effects are as spectacular as the cast, and may not come across on the small screen as effectively as the cinema, but it is well worth giving it a chance.

Catch Me If You Can (Sunday 9.00pm RTE2) is a somewhat whimsical take on a true story.  Leonardo DiCaprio is back, this time as Frank Abagnale, a confidence trickster who uses his charm and smooth talking to pose as a Pan-Am Pilot, among other characters, to embezzle money and other services.

In fact he is so good, or bad, depending on your viewpoint, that he can even fool the FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) who is trying to track him down.

Last, but by no means least, is The Graduate (Friday 11.25pm RTE One), the film that introduced Dustin Hoffman to the cinematic world.

Should Benjamin be with Elaine (Katherine Ross), or should he succumb to the mature charms of Mrs Robinson (cue song and line – “Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me….aren’t you?).

With the stunning soundtrack to a generation by Simon and Garfunkel, directed by Mike Nichols, this is an unashamed classic. Enjoy and stay safe.

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