Small Screen Machine
Our weekly recommendations of great films on TV
This week’s Top Pick comes from Drew, who has chosen Selma, while our director Robert has recommended four other films, including three black and white classics on Talking Pictures TV!
Selma (2014, 12A)
BBC2, 11.20pm on Friday 19 June
Biopics can run the risk of having little to no dramatic tension, especially when they deal with famous figures and events, and the outcome is well-known. Selma manages to avoid this, particularly through Ava DuVernay’s strong direction and David Oyelowo’s captive performance as Martin Luther King Jr. The film depicts King’s attempts in 1965 to make a peaceful march from Selma, Alabama to its capital Montgomery. Immense pressure is placed on him from all angles, from family and friends, to rivals, enemies, and even the President, over whether the march should go ahead, and if so, when and how. It’s through this pressure Oyelowo’s performance shines. We see King’s doubts and uncertainties as he tries to make the correct decisions, and it reminds us that he, like so many revered historical figures, was just a man.
BBC1, 5.20pm on Saturday 20 June
One of Disney’s best: heartwarming, funny, off the wall, and with a wonderful visual imagination behind the creation of the cultural mix that is the city of San Fransokyo.
The inimitable Alastair Sim, one of the greatest screen actors Scotland has ever produced, in one of his funniest films, as a genteel assassin for whom nothing goes right. Watch out for the scene with the piano trio!
BFI – Japan 2020
A Celebration of Japanese Cinema
To celebrate over 100 years of Japanese cinema, the BFI are releasing featured collections of some of Japan’s most lauded films on their online player. Collections include the works of legendary directors Akira Kurasawa (the director of Seven Samurai and whose pioneering style and techniques have influenced filmmakers around the world) and Yasujirō Ozu (whose 1953 film Tokyo Story was voted the third-greatest film ever made by film critics worldwide in 2012), as well as selections of anime, J-horror, and other classics. There will also be introductions by renowned British film critic Mark Kermode.
Launched on May 11, there are already three collections available to stream, and more will be added every month. To watch, you will need to sign up to the BFI Player. It costs £4.99 a month, with the first 14 days being free. Please note that if you do sign up, you’ll be entering a contract with the BFI and not with Regional Screen Scotland or Screen Machine.
Click here to read more and sign up to Japan 2020.
Futureproof 2017 and MUBI
Futureproof 2017– You can still watch Futureproof 2017, a Photography on Screen production produced in collaboration with Street Level Photoworks, and first shown on the Screen Machine back in 2017. It includes a selection of that year’s graduates with images and commentary that is still highly relevant today. The exhibition took place in Glasgow in 2017 and was also shown at Scotland House in Brussels as part of the Year of Young People.
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.)
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. What is peculiar about the 2002 film ‘Russian Ark’?
2. The 2013 drama ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ won the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. What was their makeup budget for the entire 28-day shoot?
3. In the film ‘The Big Lebowski’, one of the thugs in the Dude’s house asks what his bowling ball is. What does the Dude say in response?
4. Who walked Kate Winslet down the aisle at her wedding in December 2012?
5. The 1990 science fiction action film ‘Total Recall’ starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is based on the short story ‘We Can Remember It for You Wholesale’ by which author?
6. Can you name Pixar’s mascot lampshade?
7. Which actress co-invented a frequency-hopping spread spectrum that was the basis for Bluetooth and WiFi?
8. What does Christopher Walken try to include in all his acting performances?
9. When the 2017 superhero film ‘Wonder Woman’ required reshoots before its release, what did they have to erase with green screen and CGI?
10. Can you name all seven dwarfs from ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’?
1. Despite being 96 minutes long, it was recorded in a single take. 2. $250. 3. “Obviously, you’re not a golfer.” 4. Leonardo DiCaprio. 5. Philip K. Dick. 6. Luxo Jr. (who stars in a short film of the same name). 7. Hedy Lamarr. 8. As he’s a trained dancer, he tries to incorporate a little dance in every performance. 9. Since star Gal Gadot was 5 months pregnant, they had to digitally remove her baby bump.10. Doc, Grumpy, Dopey, Sleepy, Sneezy, Happy, and Bashful.
We’ll be back with more news next Friday. We hope that you all have a great week and stay well.