Finnegan On Films: Some Oscar-Winning Classics To Be Enjoyed

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, on a diverse range of movies on the box this week…

Perhaps it is just my infantile sense of humour, but Rowan Atkinson just cracks me up, whether it is Mr. Bean, his stand up routines or as the bumbling secret agent Johnny English.

The character made his debut in a credit card advertisement back in the Eighties.  It has spawned three films, the third of which is Johnny English Strikes Again (Saturday 6.35pm RTE1).

A Cyber attack has exposed MI7’s field agents, so they have to reactivate their inactive personnel. Johnny is now a geography teacher using his espionage skills to teach his students.  He manages to incapacitate his fellow agents and is therefore given the mission to save the day.

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With the assistance of his loyal sidekick Bough (Ben Miller), and the usual gadgets (explosive jelly babies anyone?) as well as a Russian spy Ophelia (Olga Kurylenko), this is a fun romp through the spy genre.

Byzantium (Saturday 9.40pm TG4) is a different type of Vampire film with a strong Irish contingent.  A mother and daughter vampire duo are on the run.  They come to a seaside town in search of a hiding place, but despite their efforts, their past catches up with them.

Starring Gemma Arterton as Clara and Saoirse Ronan as Eleanor make for an engaging pair, and they are ably supported by Sam Riley, Johnny Lee Miller and Maria Doyle Kennedy.  No one can direct a cinematic atmosphere like Neil Jordan and this is another winner.

Speaking about an interweaving series of underworld storylines, you cannot find better than Pulp Fiction (Saturday 9.45pm RTE2).

A series of incidents involving two Los Angeles hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife and two small time criminals take place out of chronological order, each scene of which has inspired countless memes and favoured quotations.

Starring John Travolta in the career-reviving role of Vincent Vega, Samuel L Jackson as his partner in crime Jules, Bruce Willis as aging Boxer Butch, Uma Thurman as Mia and, my favourite, Harvey Keitel as Winston Wolfe, a “cleaner” with a unique skill set, this regularly appears as one of the best films of the decade, or indeed, ever!

Directed and written by Quentin Tarantino, this is a classic example of the power of the screenplay.

You can make an excellent case for My Left Foot (Saturday 12.45 RTE1) as the greatest ever Irish film.

Directed by Jim Sheridan, and adapted by Sheridan and Shane Connaughton from the Christy Brown memoir of the same name, it tells the story of Brown, a man born with cerebral palsy, but became a world famous artist and writer, through the use of his aforementioned left foot.

Staring Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown (with Hugh O’Connor playing the young Christy) Brenda Fricker as Christy’s mother Bridget and Ray McAnally as Christy’s dad Patrick, this received five Academy Awards nominations including Best Picture, and winning Best Actor for Day-Lewis and Best Supporting Actress for Brenda Fricker.   Enjoy and stay safe!

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