March 2 2010 through March 8 2010
By John Seal
March 1, 2010
11:00 AM Fox Movie Channel
The True Story of Jesse James (1958 USA): Yeah, right. True, huh? I wouldn't count on that, but if you can overlook the false advertising, you still might enjoy this film. Directed by Nicholas Ray and based on a scenario by Nunnally Johnson, this iteration of the James legend features Robert Wagner as a James Dean-esque Jesse, herein portrayed as a troubled young adult trying to find his own identity in a sea of gray flannel chaps. The film's flashbacks and multiple perspective-take on the man and the myth lend it the feeling of an Old West Rashomon—this is, after all, no bottom of the bill programmer, but a big-budget Fox western from the man who brought us Rebel Without a Cause. Co-starring Jeffrey Hunter as brother Frank, as well as Agnes Moorehead, Hope Lange, John Carradine, and Alan Hale Jr., The True Made-Up Story of Jesse James makes its widescreen television debut this morning.
9:00 PM IFC
The Magdalene Sisters (2002 GB-IRE): Proving that women in organized religion are just as capable of abuse as men, The Magdalene Sisters shines a light on the plight of young women in an Irish asylum circa 1960. Based on well-documented events that took place in Ireland during the second half of the 20th century, this powerful film stars stage actress Geraldine McEwan as Sister Bridget, the sadistic head warder of the Magdalene Sisters Asylum. It's here that wayward girls - you know, the kind who get raped, knocked up out of wedlock, or merely attract undue male attention - were sent for rehabilitation, re-education, and nightmarish apprenticeships in the laundry business. The young actresses (Anne-Marie Duff, Nora-Jane Noone, Dorothy Duffy, and Eileen Walsh) are all excellent, but McEwan's performance as chief villainness is the one you'll remember afterwards.
11:00 PM HBO Signature
Diario de una Ninfomana (2008 FRA): Sounds like a spicy Jess Franco movie, yes? Well, not quite...but it does provide the viewer some of what the title suggests, if you get my drift. Valere (Belen Fabra) is a woman in her late 20s who's been coping with her ravenous appetites for over a decade, and current boy toy Alex (David Vert) is, frankly, worn out. Valere also uses Hassan (Pedro Gutierrez) to sate her carnal desires, but when she meets older man Jaime (Leonardo Sbaraglia) she's confronted with both love AND lust in one beefy masculine package. Will they settle down and make babies together? Not bloody likely—this is a European ‘art movie', after all. Look for Geraldine Chaplin as Valere's Grandma.
3:00 AM Sundance
Amazing Journey: (2006 USA): Already the subject of one ‘definitive' rockumentary (The Kids Are Alright), Shepherd's Bush rockers The Who are, against all odds, still a going concern a quarter century on—hence the apparent need for a new film to bring things up to date. Amazing Journey does that in fine fashion, and fills in more of the backstory as well. Featuring copious interview footage with surviving members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, the film revisits such career highlights as the legendary Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour appearance, whilst also detailing more recent adventures, from the 1979 Cincinnati concert stampede to Townshend's troubles with the law. There's also interesting stuff from old-time colleagues such as manager Chris Stamp and producer Glyn Johns, as well as disposable tributes from the ubiquitous Sting, Eddie Vedder, and Noel Gallagher. I'm happy to report, however, that whilst The Edge gets in his two cents worth, Bono is nowhere to be seen. Also airs at 10:30 AM.