By John Seal

October 15, 2012

It's a beautiful day for a ballgame. Let's go Oakland!

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From the obscure to the obscurest to the merely overlooked or underappreciated; they all have a home in the TiVoPlex! All times Pacific.

Tuesday 10/16/12

12:15 AM Sundance
Together (2000 SWE): Lukas Moodyson’s paean to ‘70s Swedish counterculture returns to Sundance Tuesday morning. Lisa Lindgren stars as Elisabeth, an unsatisfied housewife who abruptly ups sticks and moves herself and her two children into a Stockholm commune. The commune is also home to her brother Goran (Gustaf Hammersten) and a whole host of sexual and political outcasts; meanwhile, hard-drinking husband Rolf (Michael Nyquist) is determined to clean up his act and win back his spouse. Co-starring Noomi Rapace’s now estranged husband Ola, this superb ensemble piece won over a dozen prizes on the festival circuit, but surprisingly failed to garner any Oscar love.

4:30 AM Fox Movie Channel
The Eyes of Annie Jones (1964 GB): No, this isn’t a prequel to Faye Dunaway’s Eyes of Laura Mars, but an obscure thriller about a teenage girl with extrasensory perception. Annie Jones (British television regular Francesca Annis) also walks and talks in her sleep...and eventually stumbles across a murder case whilst on the narcoleptic prowl one night! Shot in Britain by Bowery Boys director Reginald le Borg, the film co-stars Yank Richard Conte as the man young Annie falls in love with, as well as Joyce Carey as her dear old Aunt Helen. Forgotten for decades until popping up in widescreen on Fox last June, The Eyes of Annie Jones is a very pleasant surprise indeed.


8:55 AM HBO Signature
Three Meters Above the Sky (2010 ESP): Also known, somewhat more poetically, as Three Steps Above Heaven, this Spanish drama hews to well-worn narrative paths but still provides value. Shot in Barthelona - sorry, Barcelona - the film stars Maria Valverde and Mario Casas as Babi and Hache, star-crossed Romeo and Juliet-style lovers from different sides of the tracks. There are typical servings of melodrama, romance, and adversity overcome, but the film (based on a popular novel by Italian Federico Moccia) is well written and well acted, especially by Casas. It does nothing new, but does what it does well.

Wednesday 10/17/12

8:00 PM Cinemax
Shame (2011 GB): Michael Fassbender plays a sexual addict going through the motions in this intelligent drama written and directed by Steve "no, not the white one, the Afro-Caribbean one" McQueen (Hunger). Fassbender is Manhattan office drone Brandon, who fills his empty hours and hollow soul with unfulfilling sexual liaisons. When sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) unexpectedly moves in, Brandon flips out - you just don’t want family in the house whilst bedding whichever complete stranger happened to cross your path that day. Sharply written and superbly acted, Shame was released with an NC-17 rating. It’ll be interesting to see if we get full frontal Fassbender in all his glory on Cinemax tonight, or if his appearance will be, ahem, trimmed. Also airs at 11:00 PM.

9:30 PM Encore Westerns
Shoot Out (1971 USA): Action specialist Henry Hathaway’s penultimate feature, Shoot Out features Gregory Peck as Clay Lomax, an ex-con looking for revenge against Sam Foley (James Gregory), the man who double-crossed him. Though eager to get his hands on Foley, Lomax must first contend with a youthful band of miscreants (Pepe Serna, Robert F. Lyons, and John Chandler) who’ve been roughing up lady of the evening Alma (Susan Tyrrell) - and then there’s the orphan he gets stuck with. It’s a tough life when you’re a cowpoke played by Gregory Peck! Shoot Out is strictly routine old west stuff, but its cast will be of moderate interest to some - especially oater enthusiasts.

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