tremors kevin bacon

Here are my recommendations for the best films on Freeview July 29th through to August 4th.

Monday 29th July: Tremors (1990)

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ITV 4, 9.00pm

Since its release 23 years ago, Tremors has achieved cult status. When you consider the plot, a small town overrun by giant underground beasties, you’d be forgiven for thinking: well, aren’t there hundreds of these types of B-movie released straight to video every week? Before that was the case, there was this little gem of a monster flick. It beats to the same drum as recent offerings, but it is simply made with love and attention. It’s strongest attribute is no doubt the cast of characters, who’re not cut outs and have backstory and quirks. With a number of exciting sequences (one including throwing rocks onto the ground) that set it apart, Tremors is still a very enjoyable ride.

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Tuesday 30th July: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

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BBC 1, 11.50pm

Prior to Jack Nicholson appearing in romantic comedies and cutting himself free from the restraints of serious acting, he made his name in high quality drama. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is an antidote to countless inferior efforts made since. The tale of Randle McMurphy, a man placed inside a mental hospital, the real joy here is seeing Nicholson’s change as he navigates his way through the institution. It’s a bittersweet story that might even have you reaching for a hankie.

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Wednesday 31st July: 30 Days Of Night (2007)

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E4, 10.05pm

30 Days Of Night arrived before the vampiric saturation of the media market. If you’re tentative when thinking about watching another film featuring vampires, then don’t be. This Alaska set outing is a unique, bloody take on the fanged ones. Taking the 30 days of night Alaska receives every year as a neat twist to throw the townsfolk into month-long terror, is a genius idea. Soon enough, the town is attacked by a gang of violent vamps who pretty much will stop at nothing to get as much human blood as possible. If you like your horror bloody and creepy, check it out.

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Thursday 1st August: Paranormal Activity (2007)

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ITV 2, 9.00pm

The one problem with Paranormal Activity is the hype machine. A ton of films suffer from it. Audiences sometimes shy away from releases which are surrounded by a mammoth viral campaign. However, the first entry into what has now become, sadly, another boring franchise is very, very effective. Believe the hype about this hand-held, found footage chiller. Ignore the dire sequels, turn off the lights and prepare yourself for a sleepless night. Who’d have thought footprints could be so damn petrifying?

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Friday 2nd August: There’s Something About Mary (1998)

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E4, 9.00pm

Signalling the start of a whole new sub-genre of comedy: the grossout, There’s Something About Mary is still a damn good time. The Farrelly Brothers have in recent years hung low on the radar, passing the comedy baton to Judd Apatow and Paul Feig. It’s still a great reminder of true comedy genius, with a ton of hilarious performances. Cameron Diaz, still fresh from her success in The Mask, happily makes a fool of Ben Stiller as she uses a suspicious bodily fluid as hair gel. That image alone has been enough to cement the film into film history.

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Saturday 3rd August: Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (1971)

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5*, 5.35pm

No, not the one with Johnny Depp. The original film from the 70s, on which an entire generation feasted on as kids, is a glimpse into an entirely different era of children’s entertainment. Whereas now, family films have a layer of sarcasm for adults to lap up as the kiddies revel in the more obvious physical humour, Willy Wonka sidesteps that for a full dose of magic realism. Gene Wilder as the titular factory owner, can be heard sampled in countless songs, his nasally tone rings out with warning signs for not just children, but for adults too. Don’t be greedy, don’t be selfish, put others first, and you shall live a good life. With tiny orange men.

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Sunday 4th August: Whip It (2009)

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ITV 2, 9.00pm

A bunch of roller skating gals in competition. Sounds like Bring It On with wheels. Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut is anything but obvious. The sweet, funny story of Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page), a teen who joins a skate crew, is something a little different. It boasts an impressive cast including Marcia Gay Harden, Bridesmaids‘ Kristen Wiig and of course, Barrymore herself. If you like your women feisty, funny and determined, Whip It has got it all.

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