*The Usual Suspects, 12.25 midday Fox Classics. Watch this if liked The Sixth Sense, Unknown or The Magician of Lupin. One of the best thrillers ever made, this extremely clever whodunit featuring a genuinely stellar cast – Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Spacey, Kevin Pollak, Chazz Palminteri (and a Baldwin) – has more twists than a family pot of spaghetti. Any thinking person lucky enough neverRead more
If it were not one of the most-often-chosen – six times in the five years since this incarnation of BC on TV began – the near-perfect Bill Murray/Harold Ramis existentialist comedy Groundhog Day (6.20pm TCM BEST FILM OF THE DAY) would certainly have been today’s top choice.
Today’s Number One Film:
*Shutter Island, 12.25 midday Fox Action. Watch this if you liked Inception, Memento or The Matrix. A contender for Best American Film of 2010, and almost certainly the Most Imaginative, this is the film Martin Scorsese should have got the Oscar for, not The Departed; you spend the first four reels thinking, “WTF?” and the last reel going, “Wow!” Almost unbelievably, in the 260-plus weeks this incarnation of BC on TV has been running, this film has been chosen only twice before, a reflection, not of its quality, but of how relatively rarely it screens on cable and DirecTV. Directed by Martin Scorsese/ 2010/ USA/ Thriller-Mystery-Fantasy/ 138 mins/ R for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity.
Unforgiven, 9.30am HBO Caribbean. Watch this if you liked 3.10 to Yuma, The Wild Bunch or The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. As lead star and director of this hard but deeply satisfying and unequivocally excellent film, Clint paid back for Heartbreak Ridge, The Bridges of Madison County and all the other excesses he foisted upon us. This, unquestionably his magnum opus (no matter how fond you are of quoting dialogue from Dirty Harry) is a brooding examination of the cost of violence and the failure of society to help those who need it most.As bleak as it is, it celebrates our small attempts to defeat all that is base in ourselves even as we sink. The story of a flawed man trying to make good in difficult times remains as valid today as it did at the time of Jesse James or Jesus Christ. People don’t die spectacularly when shot in this film: they scream for hours before going silent, as the thoughtful viewer will. Directed by Clint Eastwood/ 1992/ USA/ Western/ 131 mins/ Rated R for language, violence and a scene of sexuality.
The Illusionist, 6.35pm Paramount. Watch this if you liked The Prestige, The Usual Suspects or The Magician of Lublin. Neil Burger’s stirring adaptation of the Steven Millhauser short story is a rare treat from an even rarer source: Hollywood. Based on a sharp script and solid direction of immaculate performances, The Illusionist happens also to be a thoroughly watchable mystery thriller. Some might wish for a little more grunge but that would be pedantry. An exceptional Phillip Glass soundtrack renders the whole thing all but flawless. Not a literary worth, to be sure, but, as a lovely blend of period piece and well-paced whodunit, it delivers in spades. Think of it as The Usual Suspects meets Pride & Prejudice. The thinking punter’s version of The Prestige. Directed by Neil Burger/ 2006/ Czech Republic-USA/ Thriller-Mystery-Drama/ 110 mins/ PG-13 for some sexuality & violence.
Just Nosed Out:
Doctor Strange (Superhero), 1.30-pm HBOC, 9pm HBO2; **Hell or High Water (Crime-Drama-Western), *Creed (Action-Drama-Sports), 4.45pm HBOS; 11.05am HBO; Raiders of the Lost Ark (Action-Adventure-Thriller), 1.20pm FoxClas; Braveheart (Adventure-Epic-History), 1.10pm CnCl.
Action/Adventure: Jurassic Park, 11.05am MaxP.
Animated/Family: Kubo & the Two Strings, 10.40am HBOP.
Arthouse/Independent: Croupier (Drama), 1.45pm Max; Man of the Year (Drama), 1.30pm FoxMov.
Biography/Documentary: Straight Outta Compton (Music), 7pm HBOS; Frida (Art), 12.20 midday FoxCin; MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (Sport), 10.40am Max.
Classic: Saint Elmo’s Fire (Classic-Drama-Young Adult), 2.08pm TCM.
Comedy: Forrest Gump (Drama-Fantasy), 4.10pm CnCl; Ted (Animated-Stoner), 9pm FoxCom; Not Another Teen Movie (Stoner Parody), 1.41pm Edge.
Drama: Man on Fire (Denzel Washington Action), 10pm FoxMov.
Foreign: Life of Pi (Taiwan-USA-UK-Can Adventure-Fantasy), 11am CnCl.
Horror: Jaws (Creature Horror), 9pm Stun.
Sci-fi/Fantasy: LOTR 1, 11.54AM AMC.
Thriller: The Girl on the Train, 9.18am HBO2.
War: Macarthur (Biodrama), 3.15pm FoxClas.
Western: Hondo, 7.35pm FoxClas.
*Starred films have been picked in the last year.**Double-starred films have been picked in the last two months. ***Triple-starred films were picked last week.
Particularly strong Also Ran films are bolded.
Please verify times.Advance Internet scheduled times can be wrong, especially at month-end.
Planet of the Apes, 2.05pm Fox Classics. Watch this if you liked Aliens, 2001: A Space Odyssey or Aguirre: The Wrath of God BEST FILM OF THE DAY. The monkey-suit sequels and the dreadful Tim Burton/Marky Mark 2001 remake obscure one of Hollywood’s – and, indeed, the world’s – best-ever films. It offers stunning cinematography, an unassailable script, superb costuming and even a great performance from Charlton Heston as the leader of the US spaceship crew landing on a planet where the roles of apes and humans are reversed; the last frameRead more
Today’s Number One Film:
The Revenant, 4.30pm Fox Action Ch 561 BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked Deliverance, Django Unchained or The Road. The film that took the 2016 Best Lead Actor, Director and Cinematography Oscars (and Best Actor and Picture Golden Globes) may be the most perfectly made film so far this century.Read more
An excellent documentary (Landfill Harmonic, 9.20am HBO) almost made the cut but gave way to even more excellent feature narratives.Most music lovers and all human beings should nor just enjoy but sing along with OnStage: Imagine: John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert (5.30pm DTV), with the lanyap, at 7.30pm, of Lennon’s last interview with the BBC.All three of today’s picks – and the first one in the “Just Nosed Out” section – might legitimately lay claim to the title of BEST FILM OF THE DAY.
Today’s Number One Film:
Hell or High Water, 9pm HBO2. Watch this if you liked No Country for Old Men, Sicario or the German crime thriller The Silence. The Scottish director of Starred Up’s Western crime drama was nominated for Best Screenplay Oscar, BAFTA & Golden Globe and Best Picture and Actor Oscar & Golden Globe – and the only wonder is why BAFTA limited it so severely.Read more