Finnegan On Films: Magic, Sport And Clint Eastwood

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, says there is a film bonanza this week on RTE and TG4…

One definitely for all the family is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Saturday 6.35pm RTE1) the first in the series of books and films from the creative imagination of J.K Rowling.

Eleven year old orphan Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) finds out he is, in fact, a wizard.

He is invited to study at Hogwarts School, where he swaps his life of everyday drudgery for magical adventures with new friends Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint).

Starring almost every notable thespian on these islands, why not introduce the next generation to this series of stories that have reawakened the reading habits of children and adults all around the world.

Continued below…


There are some concerns about the British and Irish Lions South African Tour at the time of writing this piece due to Covid concerns.  Invictus (Saturday 9.35pm RTE2) is the story of a different time in South African Rugby and indeed, South African history.

Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) has just been elected President of South Africa.  He finds himself in charge of a radically divided nation, with the wounds of apartheid apparent, both socially and economically.

As hosts of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Mandela sees an opportunity to unite the country. To this end, he enlists the assistance of the South African team captain, Francois Pienaar, played by Matt Damon, to help make them an inspiration for a new possible future.  This was directed by Clint Eastwood (his first mention this week).

One of the Coen Brothers’ lesser appreciated comedy jewels is Intolerable Cruelty (Saturday 10.15pm TG4).  Miles Massey (George Clooney) is the best divorce attorney, famous for the unbreakable “Massey pre-nup”.

Massey is hired by the wealthy and married Rex Rexroth who has been less than faithful to his wife Marylin (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who is herself a serial gold-digger.

When Miles and Marylin meet, there is an instant attraction.  The question is, who is conning who and can true love conquer the Con?

The second sports-drama of the week is The Boxer (Monday 10.35 TG4) staring Daniel Day Lewis as Danny Flynn, a former IRA member and boxer who, following his release from prison, opens a gym for all sides of the community.

Unfortunately, during his fourteen years imprisonment, his former girl friend Maggie (Emily Watson) has married someone now in prison, and his former IRA colleagues are keen to get Danny back involved.

This is a powerful story, directed by Jim Sheridan, and enhanced by two strong central performances and supporting cast.

The second Clint Eastwood mention this week is Hang ‘Em High (Friday 9.45pm TG4).   The title says it all really, but it’s yet another classic Eastwood Western.  Clint is a lawman turned rancher who is found guilty by a lynch mob.

A near miss from the noose puts him on a revenge mission.  More classic Western character supporting actors are on view such as Pat Hingle, Bruce Dern and Dennis Hopper. Enjoy and stay safe!

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