Small Screen Machine

Our weekly recommendations of great films on TV

This week Robert has chosen Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger as our Top Pick, while Fiona has gone with a nice selection of four films for our other recommendations. We hope you manage to catch them over the coming week.

The Passenger (1975, 12)
Talking Pictures TV, 12.15am on Thursday 9 July
Probably Michelangelo Antonioni’s most accessible film after Blow Up, The Passenger seems to distill a 1970s zeitgeist as sharply as the earlier film did for the 60s and Swinging London. Reporter Jack Nicholson, on a whim, swaps identities with a dead man who turns out to be an arms dealer. That’s the start of his problems. The film globe-trots from the Sahara to Munich, and to Gaudi’s Barcelona, all captured in stunning cinematography, especially the astonishing final shot.  One of the few films that, when I first saw it in the cinema, I wanted to watch it all the way through again immediately.


Borg vs McEnroe (2017, 15)
BBC2, 11.20pm on Friday 3 July
This might help to fill the Wimbledon shaped hole that some of your will have in your lives. In 1980 the rivalry that built between the ice cool five-times-champ Bjorn Borg and brash young contender John McEnroe culminated in one of the best finals matches ever seen in SW19.


The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008, PG)
E4, 10.30am on Saturday 4 July
Goblins, trolls and griffins populate this adaptation of the best-selling book that plays like a horror movie for children. A family move into a creepy mansion and discover a book that reveals a hidden world. Children who enjoy being scared will be gripped.


Thelma & Louise (1991, 15)
Channel 5, 11.05pm on Monday 6 July
Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon star as two world-weary friends who flee their routine lives for a once-in-a-lifetime road trip. In his breakthrough role, Brad Pitt provides a bit of a diversion.
“Still compelling and inspiring after all these years” Empire


Boyhood (2013, 15)
Channel 4, 1.25am on Thursday 9 July
Directed by Richard Linklater and shot in 39 days over 12 years, Boyhood features the same cast throughout: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette (who won an Oscar for her role as the boy’s single mother) and Ethan Hawke. The upheavals that a young boy faces, from the age of 6, shape his view of the world. There is genius in its simplicity.



Brian Griffin: POP

Photography on Screen

Iggy Pop © Brian Griffin. Courtesy of Street Level Photoworks.

As part of our Photography on Screen collaborations with Street Level Photoworks, we are delighted to share with you Brian Griffin: POP.

Brian Griffin is recognised as one of the most eminent British photographers of the seventies and eighties. He first began photographing the music world for STIFF records in the late 1970s, and soon became one of the predominant visual chroniclers of New Wave, Post-Punk, and the New Romantics. This was the sixth Photography on Screen work produced by Street Level Photoworks for Regional Screen Scotland. In it, Brian discusses his seminal photographic series ‘POP’ which explores his music photography shot for album covers and the press, including some insights into his techniques in making the images for the covers of Depeche Mode, Siouxsie Sioux, Iggy Pop, Kate Bush, and Simple Minds, amongst others.

On Thursday 9th July at 6pm there will also be a one-off live-stream of the film The Surreal Lives of Brian Griffin by filmmaker Michael Prince, and a music promo film of Mogwai’s Stanley Kubrick directed by Brian Griffin, on Street Level’s Facebook.

Click here to watch Brian Griffin: POP.



MUBI – You can still sign up for a free three-month membership with MUBI, who recently added a library of hundreds of previously curated films for you to choose from. If you cancel before the end of your trial then you won’t be charged. If you decide to stay on, you’ll be charged a standard paid subscription with MUBI. (You’ll be entering into a contract with MUBI, not with Regional Screen Scotland or Screen Machine.)

BFI Japan 2020 – The BFI are releasing featured collections of some of Japan’s most lauded films on their online player, including the work of directors Akira Kurasawa and Yasujirō Ozu, as well as selections of anime, J-horror, and other classics. To watch, you need to sign up to the BFI Player for £4.99 per month. Please note that you’ll be entering a contract with the BFI and not with Regional Screen Scotland or Screen Machine.




Screen Machine Movie Trivia Quiz

Ten more questions for you to test your general movie knowledge. Once you are done, highlight the hidden text at the bottom for the answers.

1. Who is considered by some to be the true inventor of cinema, making a single-lens motion picture camera in 1888, three years before Thomas Edison?
2. In ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films, John Rhys-Davies played Gimli the dwarf, and voiced which other character?
3. During the production of the Disney animation ‘Pinocchio’ (1940), voice actor Mel Blanc recorded dialogue for Giddy, the cat friend of Honest John, but his lines were scrapped when they decided to make Giddy a mute. Who is Mel Blanc more well-known for voicing?
4. ‘Psycho’ (1960) was the first film to feature someone operating which common household appliance?
5. Brad Pitt’s Best Supporting Actor Oscar for ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ (2019) was actually his second Academy Award win. What was his first?
6. Having lost weight for his role in ‘The Machinist’ (2004), how much did Christian Bale have to gain in six months for his starring role in ‘Batman Begins’ (2005)?
7. Complete this line from GoodFellas (1990): ‘As far back as I can remember —-‘
8. With a production budget of $215 000 and earning $193 million worldwide, which film is considered the most profitable ever?
9. Who drew the charcoal drawing of Kate Winslet in ‘Titanic’?
10. Ingrid Bergman could speak five language. Can you name them?

1. Louis Le Prince. 2. Treebeard. 3. Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck from Looney Tunes, as well as many others. 4. It’s the first film to feature someone flushing a toilet. 5. He produced ’12 Years A Slave’ and picked up a statuette when it won Best Picture in 2014. 6. 45kg / 100 lb / 7 stone 2 pounds. He actually put on too much and had to lose some before filming began. 7. ‘I always wanted to be a gangster.’ 8. ‘Paranormal Activity’ (2007). 9. The film’s director, James Cameron. 10. Swedish, English, French, German, and Italian.


We’ll be back with more news next Friday. We hope that you all have a great week and stay well.

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