5 things to watch this weekend – 14 to 16 July

Tom Cruise raises the bar with a leap of faith, while a newsroom documentary finds loneliness in truth-telling.

14 July 2023

By Sam Wigley

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, including BFI IMAX

With only one exception, each new Mission: Impossible movie has been longer than the one before, and the latest story is coming in two parts, this first section alone running a whopping 163 minutes. Rather than feeling bloated though, this chapter is astonishingly light on its feet – indeed airborne and free-falling in the most gulp-inducing of the film’s many extraordinary stunts. Rolled out at breathless pace, its chases and daredevilry are liable to induce involuntary squeals of excitement, as Ethan and team race to prevent an all-powerful AI programme falling into nefarious hands.

Collateral (2004)

Where’s it on? Film 4, Saturday, 9pm

Collateral (2004)

Here’s a Tom Cruise venture from that middle-period of his career when he dallied with auteurs including Paul Thomas Anderson, Stanley Kubrick and, here, Michael Mann. It’s also a rare exercise in villainy. Cruise plays the cucumber-cool assassin who pays Jamie Foxx’s cabbie and family man to drive him around Los Angeles for a night of dangerous assignments. Collateral was a groundbreaking film for Hollywood, being among the very first photo-realistic studio movies to be shot digitally. The decision makes for a highly distinctive neo-noir, the camera capturing the nocturnal city with a new kind of pixellated poetry.

The Circus Tent (1978)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray

The Circus Tent (1978)

Close to documentary in its gentle, improvisational naturalism, this rediscovered masterpiece of Malayalam-language cinema conjures a real sense of fleeting magic and wonder. A circus arrives in a rural Keralan community, and over several days director Govindan Aravindan simply observes the performances, backroom organisation and the spellbinding impact the travelling show has on the villagers. Exquisitely shot in sunlit black and white, this calming, lyrical film has been restored by India’s Film Heritage Foundation, in collaboration with Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, prior to wowing audiences at Cannes last year.

While We Watched (2022)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

An anchorman takes a lonely stand against the rise of nationalism and Fox News-style media cheerleading in this engrossing Indian newsroom documentary. Vinay Shukla’s film follows increasingly beleaguered NDTV broadcaster Ravish Kumar in the run-up to the 2019 election that saw Narendra Modi and the BJP re-elected. Amid a febrile national mood, Kumar’s unwavering focus on otherwise ignored social issues and the divisiveness of Modi’s agenda earns him a barrage of abuse and threats from the general public and fellow TV pundits alike. One by one, his colleagues part company too. While We Watched is an invigoratingly contemporary look at a corrupted media landscape.

Sweet Charity (1969)

Where’s it on? BBC2, Sunday, 13.35

Sweet Charity (1969)

Starring Shirley Maclaine as the hopeful romantic looking to escape her sleazy life as a dancer-for-hire, this big-screen version of the 1966 stage musical (itself based on Fellini’s 1957 classic Nights of Cabiria) was a notorious flop in its day. Despite big numbers like ‘Big Spender’, it nearly sank Universal Pictures. More than 50 years on, however, it looks much nimbler than most other Hollywood musicals of the late 1960s. Maclaine brings a huge amount of heart, while choreographer Bob Fosse uses his first time in the director’s chair to experiment with crash zooms, jump cuts and rainbow colour schemes.

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