A Trifecta of What's Best on the Box for Sunday 14 October 2018

By far and away the best Sunday for wide-ranging, excellent film choice for the year, perhaps the best for the decade, with the first half-dozen of the Also Rans also pretty much equally entitled to be named BEST FILM OF THE DAY – toss a coin to declare which film wins. Today’s top spot went to a film that, somehow, hasn’t been picked before, and the next two to the films that had been picked less or longer ago than the other great ones. As lanyap, all day long, AMC screens most of the dreadful Halloween sequels, with only H20: Halloween 20 Years Later (3.29pm) and II (7.29am) being half-decent; the original, excellent groundbreaker, though, starts at 5.29pm.

Today’s Number One Film:

Moonlight, 5.20pm HBO2 BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked Tangerine, Lady Bird or The Florida Project. Winner of the Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars and BAFTAs, the Best Picture Golden Globe and Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor and other African-American Film Critics Association, Moonlight has a near-perfect score of 99/100 on www.metacritic.com, the most reliable online film criticism site, for the very good reason that it is a nearly perfect film: when your critics are forced to quibble about your three-part film being episodic, they’re genuinely clutching at straws, and figuratively drawing the short one for themselves. Not for anyone who thinks that God will smite humanity for human beings being allowed to legally love whomever they naturally do but, for anyone with a few brain cells to rub together, this magnificent, if bleak, film is a lifechanger; the thinking man’s Black Panther. Directed by Barry Jenkins/ 2016/ USA/ Drama-Independent-LGBT/ 111 mins/ PG-15.

Also watch:

Boyhood [aka Growing Up], 2.07pm ISat BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked Annie Hall, Foxcatcher or Nebraska. Not to take away from Alejandro Gonzalez Iniarritu’s spectacular Birdman, but Richard Linklater’s magnificent film, shot over 12 years as the child actor protagonists turned into adults and the adults entered middle-age, should have swept the best picture and best director Oscars the way it did the Golden Globes and BAFTAs. It won only the best supporting actress Oscar – Patricia Arquette, deservedly, though some would argue she had a lead role, and even if Ethan Hawke didn’t get best supporting actor. Boyhood could be the best American movie shot this century. The idea itself should have won an Oscar but the screenplay, the acting, the direction and even the soundtrack make this an unforgettable, life-changing, life-affirming film. It’s not for people who require an explosion or dead body every five minutes but, for discerning viewers, it’s near impossible to beat. Excellent. Directed by Richard Linklater/ 2014/ USA/ Drama/ 165 mins/Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use.

Once Upon a Time in the West, 9pm Fox Classics BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked The Proposition, 3.10 to Yuma or The Good, the Bad & the Ugly. The great work of Sergio Leone and the meatball on top of the spaghetti Western, for BC on TV, this is as good as the Western genre gets. Henry Fonda plays one of cinema’s greatest villains, with Jason Robards and the young Charles Bronson almost eclipsing him dramatically. Ennio Morricone’s haunting score – and the mystery of the harmonica – add huge atmosphere. Leone takes ridiculous chances as a filmmaker – and every risk pays off. One of the great films of our time. Miss it only if you’re dead. Directed by Sergio Leone/ 1968/ Italy-USA / Western/ 175 mins/ Rated PG-13 for Western violence and brief sensuality.

Just Nosed Out:

*Arrival (sci-fi-drama), 10.24am HBOS; *This is 40 Unrated (stoner comedy), 5.06pm FoxMov; *Manchester by the Sea (drama), 9.35am HBOC; *Se7en (crime- thriller), 2.01pm HBOP; FoxAct; *Paddington (family), 12.57 midday Max; *The 40-Year-Old Virgin (stoner comedy), 2.45pm HBOP; *Flatliners (horror), 12.45 midday & 9pm MaxP; *Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part I, 11.33am HBOP (fantasy-horror); The Cabin in the Woods (horror), 5.58pm Split (M Night Shyamalan sci-fi-horror), 9pm HBOP.

Also Ran:

Action/Adventure: Baby Driver (crime), 10.50am MaxP.

Animated/Family: Astro Boy, 9.26am Gldn.

Arthouse/Independent/Cult: Drumline (African-American-music-drama), 12.40 midday FoxCom.

Classic: Q&A (Sidney Lumet crime-drama), 1.58pm FoxClas.

Comedy: Tower Heist (Ben Stiller action), 3.26pm FoxMov.

Documentary/Biography: JFK: Director’s Cut,10.53am FoxMov.

Drama: Lawless (Tom Hardy crime), 10pm CnCl.

Horror: ***Colossal (creature-sci-fi), 5.36pm FoxCom; The Happening (M Night Shyamalan), 10.59am FoxAct.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: Life of Pi, 12.32 midday CnCl.

Thriller: Inside Man (crime), 2.10pm FoxAct.

Western: Meek’s Cutoff (indy), 3.10pm Sund; 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 fortnight.

Particularly strong Also Ran films are bolded.

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