Finnegan On Films: Thrills Aplenty On TV This Weekend

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, has the pick of the films on the box at the weekend…

As part of the Harry Potter prequel series, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Saturday 6.35pm RTE1) is the awe-inspiring spectacle of imagination and effects that you will have come to expect.

It is 1927 and Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is being transferred from the Magical Congress of the United States to Europe to stand trial.

However, he escapes and he intends to raise pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Muggles (us).

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Hogwarts professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists the help of his former pupil, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to help stop and recapture Grindelwald.

This is the second of the Fantastic Beasts series, and the tenth in the Harry Potter ‘Wizarding World’ franchise, so it is not surprising to see the screenplay by J.K.Rowling herself and directing duties undertaken by David Yates.

There is no shortage of character and plot, not all of which are resolved in this film, but the third in the series is due for release in April this year.

If you are father to a murdered son, husband of a murdered wife, looking to have your vengeance, in this life or the next, Gladiator (Saturday 9.50pm RTE2) is your type of film.

General Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe) is caught in the middle of a power struggle between the Roman Senate and a corrupt Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix).

He escapes a death order, but finds himself sold into slavery as a gladiator.  However, his prowess in the arena provides a platform to revolt against the tyrant.

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With Oscar wins for Best Picture and Best Actor (Crowe) among others, directed by Ridley Scott, soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and a supporting cast including Richard Harris and Oliver Reed in his last film role, this is a modern cinema classic.

Heartlands (Saturday 10.30pm TG4) is a much smaller and more intimate film than the two blockbusters above.

A gentle, mild newsagent and darts enthusiast Colin (Michael Sheen) has his life turned upside down when he discovers that his wife Sandra (Jane Robbins) has been having an affair with Geoff (Jim Carter).

Geoff is a local cop and Captain of Colin’s dart team.  He and Sandra have run off to Blackpool.  Colin hops on his trusty moped and makes his way to Blackpool to win back Sandra.

This is a very gentle road film, as Colin meets all sorts of characters en route to Blackpool, each of whom offer him a different perspective on life.

With a supporting cast including Mark Addy, Mark Strong, Celia Imrie and Ruth Jones, this is well worth a watch.

It’s been a while since we had a Clint Eastwood film, so In The Line Of Fire (Sunday 12.20am RTE1) is very welcome.

Frank (Eastwood) is a US Secret Service Agent, who was on the JFK detail in Dallas, now trying to protect the current President from Mitch Leary (John Malkovich, relishing playing the bad guy). Enjoy and stay safe!

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