By John Seal
July 23, 2012
Midnight Showtime 3
Mr. Nice (2010 GB): Drug dealer Howard Marks is almost a household name in Britain, where his relentless desire to bring dope to the masses surpasses only the CIA in intensity and determination. That might explain why this biopic, in which Rhys Ifans plays the puckish pusher, crashed and burned during its American theatrical run. In all honesty, how easy is it to market a sympathetic comedy about a drug pusher? Probably not very. Directed by Bernard Rose (Paperhouse), the film definitely portrays Marks in an empathetic light and will offend almost everyone south of the Mason-Dixon line. Metrosexuals, trustafarians, and other assorted malcontents will find it particularly righteous.
11:20 PM Sundance
Cortex (2008 FRA): You know, I could have sworn I wrote about this film on an earlier occasion, but I can’t find the evidence to prove it. As this is a film about a man suffering from Alzheimer’s, that somehow seems appropriate. The man in question is Charles Boyer (not portrayed by the late Charles Boyer, but by Micmac’s Andre Dussollier), an ailing detective who gets his second wind amidst a series of mysterious deaths in his nursing home. It’s an unusual set up for a thriller, and a good one. Now if only I could remember the name of that nice man who plays the main character in this film. And where did I leave the remote? Oh, hold on a minute - I did write about this film only three months ago!
3:00 AM Fox Movie Channel
That Wonderful Urge (1948 USA): No, not the one that makes you want to scratch your butt at the most inopportune moment - the one that makes you want to check out an obscure Tyrone Power rom com. This Fox production, a remake of the earlier Love Is News (1937), features Ty as a newspaper reporter who gets chummy with a rich but prickly heiress played by Gene Tierney. It’s amusing enough and benefits from an appearance by the inimitable Chill Wills as a justice of the peace.
1:00 AM Flix
The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea (1976 GB): I always loved this title more than I loved the movie itself. One of only three features directed by screenwriter Lewis John Carlino (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, The Great Santini) and based on a Yukio Mishima novel, The SWFFGWTS stars Kris Kristofferson as Jim Cameron, a sailor engaging in a hot and spicy affair with landbound widower Anne Osborne (Sarah Miles) in a small Cornish town. At first, Anne’s son Jonathan (Jonathan Kahn) admires his new father figure - but after spying on Jim and Anne during their bedroom trysting his impression of the seaman begins to change (I am trying hard not to resort to a crass "semen" joke here), resulting in a series of dangerous misadventures with the local ruffians. DVD Savant Glenn Erickson compares this to Frank Perry’s Last Summer, but that almost damns the far superior Last Summer with faint praise. While The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea is lovely to look at (though only in widescreen), it’s hard to take seriously.
9:00 AM Turner Classic Movies
The Green Hornet (1940 USA): There’s panic in the zoo whilst disaster rides the rails in the concluding three chapters of our Saturday morning serial.
1:00 PM Turner Classic Movies
Jack the Giant Killer (1962 USA): Like Bert I. Gordon, Nathan Juran seemed to enjoy working on a grand scale. In addition to this fantasy, Juran also directed such features as Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, as well as the television series World of Giants (which, sadly, I’ve never seen) and Land of the Giants. Jack the Giant Killer sees Juran reunited with Sinbad star Kerwin Mathews, cast here as the titular slayer of all things big and tall and suitor to the lovely princess Elaine (Judi Meredith). The film also features another Sinbad veteran, Torin Thatcher, once again devouring the scenery as a wicked magician, this time named Pendragon. The one thing the film lacks are the special effects of Ray Harryhausen, which knocks it down a notch. Sorry, Augie Lohman – I’m sure you were a great guy, but you’re no Harryhausen. Nonetheless, Jack the Giant Killer remains good old-fashioned Saturday matinee fun.