A Trifecta of What's Best on the Box for Sunday 11 November 2018

On what might be the best day for film choice on cable/DirecTV, ever, all but one of the Also Rans categories have a bolded film – and there’s a Western – one of the best – in the top three! And each of the three choices could legitimately be called BEST FILM OF THE DAY.

Today’s Number One Film:

*No Country for Old Men, 7.30pm Paramount Channel.Watch this if you liked Apocalypse Now,The Three Burials of Melquiades Estradaor any film by Sam Peckinpah. Part thriller, part Western, as upsetting as it is intriguing, this modern-day drug money heist flick is Cormac McCarthy’s bleak 2005 novel brought to life. It was a natural fit for the Coen Bros’ dark humour and deadpan violence, but it is so overwhelmingly hopeless, it discourages anyone from declaring it their best film yet (though it probably is). Relentless as thriller, hard as nails as crime film, draining as drama and despairing in its artistic perspective, it is almost completely loyal to its source; and the film leaves the viewer as bewilderingly satisfied and distressed as the book does the reader. It takes far more than it gives and is not for those seeking distraction; but, as provocative art, it is undeniable, unassailable and almost ummatched. Directed by the Coen Bros/2007/ USA/ Suspense-Crime-Drama- Thriller/ 122 mins/ Rated R for strong graphic violence and some language.

Also watch:

**Dunkirk, 9pm HBO Plus. Watch this if you liked United 93, Saving Private Ryan or The Revenant.The director of Inception, Mementoand the Dark Knightfilms returns, splendidly, to the form that had vanished in Interstellar. From the very first frame, he captures the strange mix of horror, excitement, violence and boredom that make up a war – as well as the true story of one of the great humanitarian actions in modern history, the rescue from the beach at Dunkirk of 338K-plus Allied soldiers by a ragtag fleet of over 800 boats, most of them small, privately-owned boats skippered by English civilians. A genuine masterpiece on all fronts. Directed by Christopher Nolan/ 2017/ UK-Netherlands-Francd-USA/ Action-Drama-History-Thriller-War/ 106 mins/ Rated PG-13 for intense war experience and some language.

Hombre, 7.12pm Fox Classics. Watch this if you liked Cool Hand Luke, The Wild Bunch or 3.10 to Yuma.A great, offbeat Western includes a contender for Paul Newman’s best role – including Cool Hand Lukeand The Verdict – as the white Apache drawn into a Greek tragedy that reveals all that was wrong with Manifest Destiny. His performance as a man who chooses to live and die on his own terms could have given rise to the description “quiet intensity”. Based on an Elmore Leonard novel, the story itself is top notch and the performances are even better. The direction is as close to flawless as it gets. They really don’t make ‘em like this any more. This is a Western for people who hate Westerns. The Fast & Furious XLIIIcrowd should be reminded there are no car crashes at all but anyone who enjoyed O’level English should love it. Directed by Martin Ritt/ 1967/ USA/ Drama-Western-Thriller/ 111 mins/Unrated, probably PG.

Just Nosed Out:

Blue Valentine (drama), 9pm Sund; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (drama), 5.26pm FoxMov; The Illusionist (mystery-thriller), 11.09am Max; Wanderlust (Jennifer Aniston/Paul Rudd rom-com), 7.20pm MaxU; Zoolander (Ben Stiller stoner comedy), 6.30pm FxMv;Roger Waters: The Wall (music), 4.21pm ISat; **Lion (Hindi-English biodrama), 5pm HBOC.

Also Ran:

Action/Adventure: Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire superhero), 11.40am HBOP.

Animated/Family: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 3.02pm CnCl.

Arthouse/Independent/Cult: The Royal Tenenbaums, 6.36pm ISat.

Classic: Training Day (Denzel Washington action), 10pm TCM.

Comedy: Little Fockers, 9pm FoxCom.

Documentary/Biography: All Eyez on Me (music-biodrama), 8.50am HBO2.

Drama: The Man Who Wasn’t There (Coen Bros film noir), 8.20am Max.

Foreign: Maria Full of Grace (Colombian crime drama), 12.37 midday HBOS.

Horror: Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (extended), 3.17pm Max; & the Deathly Hallows Pt I, 9pm Max.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: Blade Runner 2049, 5.15 HBOP.

Thriller: Black Mass (crime-biodrama), 8.20am HBOC.

War: The Hurt Locker, 4.50pm Prmt;

Western: Untamed West (Fred MacMurray), 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 fortnight.

Particularly strong Also Ran films arebolded.

Please verify times. Advance Internet scheduled times can be wrong, especially at month-end.