Some forgotten gems of the silver screen highlight what’s available this weekend on broadcast and cable television. Check out these listings.
A Little Romance (1979)
This delightful romantic comedy – directed by George Roy Hill of The Sting and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid – celebrates the joys of romance between a young French boy and a young American girl who discover how much fun it can be to get to know each other. That he is a movie buff and she has an over-the-top mother (delightfully played by Sally Kellerman) makes it all great fun. The legendary Laurence Olivier is on hand as, what else, a wise old man who offers lots of advice.
Friday, May 22, 6 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Cinderella Liberty (1973)
Not many people had heard of a young actress named Marsha Mason when this film opened. All the attention was on her costar, James Caan, who had scored a big success a year before in The Godfather. But Mason got all the reviews, and her first of four Academy Award nominations, as an irresponsible woman who coaxes a Navy soldier into spending time with her young son. Maso reveals the humor, vulnerability and charm that made her a big star through the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Saturday, May 23, 10:40 a.m., FXM
In the Line of Fire (1986)
With all the attention Clint Eastwood gathers for the films he directs and the political conventions he addresses, it’s easy to forget what a commanding actor he can be. As a Secret Service agent still haunted by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Eastwood reveals a vulnerability that makes what could be a one-dimensional character into something quite human. John Malkovich is appropriately menacing as a most challenging villain.
Saturday, May 23, 11 a.m., ID
The Tree of Life
To experience this film is to engage in an artist’s self-exploration. Never a predictable moviemaker, director Terrence Malick embraces the visual potential of film to create atmosphere and convey mood as much as to advance story or develop character. This film offers Malick at his best: thoughtful, inspiring, controversial and ultimately emotional as he examines the hidden issues that carry from fathers to sons. With a strong performance by Brad Pitt.
Saturday, May 23, 12:40 p.m., FXM
Almost Famous (2000)
When a young writer becomes captivated by rock music, and decides to follow a band on the road, his hopes for life change as quickly as the names of towns where the band plays. As the film captures what tunes can mean to teens, writer/director Cameron Crowe turns a loving memoir into a tribute to the exaggerated personalities who defined a time when music reflected and projected a nation’s shift. The reliable Frances Macdormand offers another golden supporting role as a mother with patience and wisdom.
Saturday, May 23, 12:15 p.m., Sundance
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Our memories of Sept. 11 are too clear; that day reminded us how cruel a world can be. As a nation we hungered for reasons; as a military power we ventured into nations and punished prisoners. Still the villain behind it all remained elusive for years as our country’s intelligence experts used every possible approach to figure out how to find Osama Bin Laden.
Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow examines the ingenuity, persistence and fearlessness that heroic intelligence demands. She makes a film that is big in what it wants to be, deep in what it wants to say, and compelling in its visual narrative.
Sunday, May 24, 5:30 p.m., FXM
From Here to Eternity (1953)
For an earlier generation, the memories of Sunday, December 7, 1941, defined a nation’s resolve. In this film version of James Jones’ sprawling novel about people whose lives connect on that memorable day, director Fred Zinneman simplifies the narrative while strengthening the message. He challenges his cast to deliver sterling portrayals of self-indulgent people who learn, that Sunday morning, what people must sacrifice to secure a nation’s freedom. His stars –Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra – are at the top of their form.
Monday, April 25, 12:30 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
The Sand Pebbles (1966)
A year after winning an Oscar for directing The Sound of Music, director Robert Wise traveled to Southeast Asia to film this thrilling tale of a United States gunboat in the middle of the Chinese revolution in 1926. Wise guided veteran Steve McQueen and newcomer Mako to nominations for Academy Awards, as well as the film itself, while helping launch the careers of Candice Bergen and Richard Attenborough. The director proves as effective telling a war story as when he made musicals.
Monday, May 25, 9:15 a.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Sharing movies can be as easy as turning on the television or going online. And, when you watch as a family, take the time to chat about what you’re seeing. That makes it even more fun.