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A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box for Sunday 1 July 2018

A very good day for wide-ranging choice in excellent film.

Today’s Number One Film:

*Hell or High Water, 11.30am & 9pm MaxPrime BEST FILM OF THE DAY. 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.Jeff Bridges in the lead may never have had – or played – a better part. The story is perhaps not the most original but its near-perfect screenplay, Mackenzie’s superb direction, the immaculate pacing and cinematography that makes a lead character of Texas itself transform what might have been a straightforward story into a masterful film.Reminiscent of, but very different from, No Country for Old Men, this is a film – and a director – in a class of its own. Unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended.Directed by David Mackenzie (2016/ USA/ Western-Crime-Drama-Thriller/ 102 mins/ Rated R for some strong violence, language throughout and brief sexuality.

Also watch:

Block Party aka Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, 7pm ISat. Watch this if you liked The Night James Brown Saved Boston, Eddie Murphy Delirious or any Dave Chappelle comedy special. One of the unequivocal delights of the Oughts was this straightforward but immaculately edited documentary of black American comedian Dave Chappelle’s free block party in Brooklyn in September 2005. This is the concert Chappelle always wanted to go to, financed by himself, and buoyed throughout by the humour that allows him to be candid without being offensive – how many white folks does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None – they get a n------ to do it for them. This is a fine concert film that achieves, through some of the best editing BC on TV has ever encountered, astonishing storytelling depth. It is entirely satisfactory as film; if you happen to like hip hop, all the better – and who could fault a lineup that includes The Roots, reunites The Fugees and features a marching band playing “Jesus Walks”? Directed by Michel Gondry (2006/ USA/ Documentary-Comedy-Music/ 103 mins/ Rated R for language.

The King’s Speech 6.58pm HBO Signature. Watch this if you liked Quiz Show, The Queen or The Madness of King George. The King’s Speech won four Oscars (Best Directing, Picture, Lead Actor [Colin Firth] and Original Screenplay), the same BAFTAs (plus Best Supporting Actor [Geoffrey Rush] & Actress [Helena Bonham Carter] and Best Music) and was nominated in almost every other major category; and it was all richly deserved. Based on a fine script founded on largely accurate historical events, the great strength of the film is the way it humanised British royalty, the same group of upper class twits Monty Python would have savaged. Colin Firth, in the title role of the stuttering prince, is nothing short of amazing. Everyone else is almost as good, particularly Geoffrey Rush, as the speech therapist who saved a crown and a family. Sentimental in parts, perhaps, but thoroughly satisfying in the whole, this is filmmaking at or near its best. Directed by Tom Hooper/ 2010/ UK-USA-Australia/ Biography-Drama-History/ 118 mins/ R for some language.

Just Nosed Out:

The Big Short (bio-crime-docudrama), 8am FoxMov; *The Wild Bunch (Western), 7.09am Spac; Les Intouchables (French black comedy-docudrama), 9.15am & 1.02pm HBOS and 7.51pm Gldn; *Rango (animated-family-Western), 9.11am FoxFam; *Once Upon a Time in America (crime-drama), 9.38am FoxClas.

Also Ran:

Action/Adventure: Doctor Strange (superhero), 9pm HBOP.

Animated/Family: Toy Story, 7.52am Max.

Arthouse/Independent/Cult: The Royal Tenenbaums (drama), 9pm ISat.

Classic: Speed (action-thriller), 3.50pm FxMv.

Comedy: Bridesmaids (stoner), 3.13pm HBO2.

Documentary/Biography: Bloody Sunday (docudrama-history), 9.25pm Prmt.

Drama: Silence, 10pm CnCl; Chi-Raq (Spike Lee black comedy), 5.50pm Max.

Foreign: White God (Hungarian creature horror), 9pm FoxCin.

Horror: Paranormal Activity: Alternate Cut, 4.50pm Prmt.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt I (horror), 9pm HBOF.

Thriller: Lifeboat (crime), 8.01am FoxClas.

War: Hidden Figures (period docudrama), 3.32pm FoxFam.

Western: Gunfight at the OK Corral, 9pm 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.