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A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box for Sunday 22 July 2018

If it started even an hour earlier, one of the great American classic films and a contender for the Best American Western Ever Shot would certainly have been picked (High Noon, 11.01pm FoxClas).

Today’s Number One Film:

**Locke 1.50pm MaxPrime BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked Unfriended, Snowpiercer or the original Michael Caine/Laurence Olivier Sleuth. The best film comparison to represent Steven “Eastern Promises” Knight’s wonderful, and wonderfully tense, film is probably 12 Angry Men, the classic film of conflict set in a murder trial jury room. Locke is even more claustrophobic: apart from a very few establishing shots, the entire film takes place in the front seat of a BMW driving from Birmingham to London. The full cast numbers 12 – like the Angry Men – but you see only Tom Hardy as the titular Locke at the wheel of the Bima; all the others are just voices coming in on the car’s mobile phone. Out of that ultraminimalist setup, Steven Knight – and Tom Hardy and the 11 voice co-stars – craft a superbly watchable film that will have you on edge for almost all its runtime; and nothing really happens. Simply wonderful. One of the best films ever shot, but clearly not for the Fast & Furious crowd, who would just consider it a waste of a firetrucking BMW… Directed by Steven Knight/ 2013/ Drama-Thriller/ UK-USA/ 85 mins/ R for language throughout.

Also watch:

A Scanner Darkly, 8.20am MaxPrime. Watch this if you liked American Splendor, Blade Runner or Spun. Even if you end up disliking A Scanner Darkly as a movie, you’ll still be able to enjoy watching it: the blend between animation and live action – real film and actors digitally treated to appear comic book-like – is itself a reward, reminiscent of spotting the humans under their CGA makeup in the Tim Burton version of Planet of the Apes; and Keanu Reeves, for the first time in his career, does not appear entirely wooden, if only because he’s been freshly painted. The story itself is great, detailing the retreat from society and self foreseen by sci-fi writer Phillip K Dick as an inevitable result of closer and closer monitoring of individual behaviour. If the incidental vision of the future is not as impressive as that of Blade Runner, the most famous of Dick novel adaptations, it is just as worrying. Recommended like a cartoon death certificate. There is great satisfaction, too, in missing church to catch this flick. Directed by Richard Linklater/ 2006/ USA/ Animation-Drama/ 100 mins/ Rated R.

Paranormal Activity, 5.05pm Fox Action. Watch this if you liked The Blair Witch Project, Insidious or Poltergeist. This is an edgy, tense horror of the haunted house genre, with its huge atmosphere created by the handheld camera, faux documentary style made popular by The Blair Witch Project. There are far more jump-out-of-your-seat moments than in far gorier films and the whole thing is done with the bizarre kind of love and professionalism that contradicts the subject-matter in a way only the horror genre can. It’s a pity that, having made a genuinely inimitable film, the allure of sequel cash persuaded the writer-director to imitate himself to far lesser effect. This first one, though, is just terrific. Directed by Oren Pell/ 2007/ USA/ Horror/ 86 mins/ R for language.

Just Nosed Out:

Shane (classic Western), 9pm FoxClas; Ray (biodrama-music), 1.21pm HBOS; The Illusionist (fantasy-thriller-mystery), 2.35pm Prmt & 6.58pm Max; Braveheart (period battle epic), 5.14 FxMv; The Other Boleyn Girl (drama-history), 4.50pm Sund; Erin Brokovich (biodrama-thriller), 7.15pm Prmt.

Also Ran:

Action/Adventure: Doctor Strange (superhero), 10.10am HBOP.

Animated/Family: Drumline (African-American-drama-music), 1.22pm FoxCom.

Arthouse/Independent/Cult: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, (young adult drama), 1pm HBOF.

Classic: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (thriller), 12.01 midday FoxClas.

Comedy: RV (Robin Williams family), 1.52pm Gldn.

Documentary/Biography:

Drama: The King’s Speech (history), 6.56am HBOS & 9.50pm Prmt.

Foreign: The Handmaiden (Korean drama), 4.45pm FoxCin.

Horror: Dracula Untold, 5.41pm Spac.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt I (horror-fantasy), 8.50am HBOC.

Thriller: Unknown (Liam Neeson action-thriller), 12.55 midday HBO2.

War: Cold Mountain (Civil War romance-drama), 12.33 midday FxMv.

Western: Nevada Smith, 6.47pm 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.