Finnegan On Films: Hidden Gems And Mummy Issues

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, on some movies on TV to make it a super Saturday…

I am sometimes asked ‘what makes a successful film’?

Is it the actors, the directors, the script, marketing, franchise formula?  I always answer by quoting William Goldman, the Oscar winning screenwriter of ‘Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid’ and ‘All The President’s Men’ in his book ‘Adventures in the Screen Writing Trade’ where he explains “nobody knows”.

This weekend’s films bear out his theory.  The BFG (Saturday 6.35pm RTE1) is adapted from the Roald Dahl book, directed by Steven Spielberg, with a fine talented cast.

A ten year old orphan girl, Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) befriends an elderly, benevolent 24 foot giant, the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance) of the title.

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He takes Sophie to a magical land, but unfortunately BFG’s fellow giants have an unfortunate appetite for eating humans.

BFG is not popular with his fellow Giants, who refer to BFG as ‘Runt’.  His kind heartedness is seen as letting the side down.  Sophie makes an interesting discovery that gives her a possible solution to saving people, but it will involve the Queen (Penelope Wilton).

This is a film that dampens down the darker elements of the book version, and in Mark Rylance and an exceptional use of Special Effects, this is a magical film to watch, but for some reason did not capture the imagination of the cinema public at the time of release.

Hopefully it will be better appreciated in the times to come, because it is a magical combination of two storytelling geniuses in Dahl and Spielberg.

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Get Shorty (Saturday 10.20pm TG4) is, quite simply, a Cult Classic.  Adapted from Elmore Leonard’s novel, Chilli Palmer (John Travolta) is a film loving loan shark and Miami mobsterwho goes to Hollywood to get a debt repaid by a B-Movie director Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman)

In Hollywood, everyone is in the film business.  Chilli’s impressive knowledge of all things cinema helps him become a movie producer who wants to recruit an Oscar nominated star, Martin Weir (Danny DeVito) and wife Karen (Rene Russo) to appear in his film.

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and written by Scott Frank, this is considered to be the confirmation of John Travolta’s return to the A-List following Pulp Fiction, winning him the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy.

This film was so successful as a sharp comedy thriller satire that Elmore Leonard wrote a book sequel.

The Mummy (Saturday 10.30pm RTE2) was supposed to be a reboot of a franchise, but apparently not everyone wants their Mummy.

US Army soldiers Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) actions in Iraq uncover the tomb of Princess Ahmanet, results, not only on the soldiers releasing the Princess to seek revenge on them, but also on England.

I wonder could that shady Doctor Jekyll (Russell Crowe) be of assistance to unlock the mystery.  Perhaps he knows another who could as well. Enjoy and stay safe.

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