Finnegan On Films: Something For Everyone On The Box This Weekend

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, chooses a diverse choice of films on the telly this weekend…

There was a tendency for a while to use video games as source material for a film.  The results have been variable overall.

One of the more recent additions, Sonic the Hedgehog (Saturday 6.35pm RTE1) tries to cover all the bases of game adaptation, comedy action adventure and buddy movie.

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I cannot claim to be any expert on the game, but Sonic is a super-powered speedster extraterrestrial who keeps a low profile on Earth, so low that he feels quite lonely.

Unfortunately, it leads to a situation where his super speed is noted by the US Department of Defence, who in turn call in Scientist Dr Robotnik, played in a Riddler-like performance by Jim Carrey.

Also starring James Marsden, Tika Sumpter and Neal McDonough, there is a slight ET vibe about the story, and the almost inevitable Sonic sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, is due to be released later this year.]

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From one extreme to the other comes Darkest Hour (Saturday 9.30pm RTE2).  Gary Oldman in an Oscar winning role as Winston Churchill who has just been appointed Prime Minister and is faced with a stark choice.

He has an option of negotiating a peace treaty with Nazi Germany or face the reality of an armed conflict in defence of liberty and freedom.

Again, there have been a few historical liberties taken for the purposes of dramatic action, but this is a worthy piece with more than able acting support by Kristen Scott Thomas, Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn and Ronald Pickup.

In Northern Soul (Saturday 11.05 TG4), two teenagers in 1970’s Lancashire, Matt (Josh Whitehouse) and John (Elliot James Langridge) discover American soul music.

This is the only colour in their dour everyday life going from the factory floor to youth clubs.

They do have a dream of going to America and finding unknown soul vinyl records and thereby become the top DJ’S on the Northern Soul circuit.

However, their journey also brings them into contact with the seedier side of life.

With some notable cameos by Steve Coogan, Ricky Tomlinson, Jo Hartley and Lisa Stansfied this is well worth a look for the way it seems to me to capture the tone and spirit of the times.

A definite film for the whole family is Doctor Dolittle (Sunday 3.00pm RTE1) – the original musical as opposed to the Eddie Murphy and Robert Downey Junior versions.

This is the utterly charming story of an eccentric Doctor, who prefers to treat animals rather than humans.  He lives in what can only be described as a menagerie of animals, and has an amazing ability in that he can communicate with them all.

With a fine cast including Rex Harrison as the good Doctor, Samantha Eggar, Anthony Newley and Richard Attenbourgh, with a screenplay and soundtrack by Leslie Bricusse, it won Oscars for Best Song “Talk to the Animals” and Best Special Effects.  Enjoy and stay safe!

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