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A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box

If it had not been picked a couple o’ months ago, BC on TV’s preferred instalment of BC on TV’s all-time favourite film (The Godfather Part II BEST FILM OF THE DAY, 1.25pm FoxClas) would certainly have got the nod; even with The Godfather taken out, as it were, it remains very difficult to pick the “top” three from what is probably the best Sunday for quality film choice in years.

Today’s Number One Film:

The Usual Suspects, 4.50pm 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 never to have seen it – or, put another way, “unlucky enough to have missed it on the big screen” – ought to love a watertight heist-gone-wrong script with riveting performances from an all-star cast and the best surprise ending in American cinema between Citizen Kane and The Sixth Sense. A two-bag-of-popcorn, don’t-look-away treat. Keyser Soze will make you jump. Directed by Bryan Singer/ 1994/ Germany-USA/ Mystery-Thriller/ 106 mins/ Rated R for violence and substantial strong language.

Also watch:

*The Lobster, 6pm Cinemax. Watch this if you liked Anomalisa, Her or Mr Nobody. Deservedly nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar and Golden Globe, but, bizarrely, not for the BAFTA, and the Best British Film BAFTA. Set in a dystopian future where people are not allowed to live except as part of a couple or as an animal, the Dogtooth director extracts what might be Colin Farrell’s best dramatic performance as the man contemplating becoming the animal of the title, with Rachel Weisz and Jessica Barden matching him scene-for-scene. From its dubious sci-fi/fantasy premise, this film reaches profound conclusions about the human condition, the need for love and the difficulty of reconciling oneself with the expectations of one. A gem of a film but decidedly not for the Fast & Furious crowd. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos/ 2015/ Greece-Ireland-UK/ Comedy-Drama-Romance-Sci-fi/ 120 mins/ Rated R for sexual content including dialogue and some violence.

3.10 to Yuma (original 1957 Glenn Ford version), 8pm Fox Classics. Watch this if you liked Amistad, Boys Don’t Cry or Django Unchained. The 2007 Russell Crowe/Christian Bale remake copied the original faithfully in its best parts but, for BC on TV, did not come close to being better, despite the vastly improved modern production values. The newer version is no travesty, to be sure, but it lacks both the stark black-and-white cinematography and the sustained tension all the way to the end, substituting, instead, a superior shootout sequence; the original remains far better for both the discerning cinefile and the Westerns-diehard. A Western, and an “old movie”, for everyone who thinks they could never like either. Directed by Delmer Davies/ 1957/USA/ Western/ 92 mins/ Unrated but probably not even PG nowadays.

Just Nosed Out:

**Unfriended (Horror), 1.30pm HBOP; **The Imitation Game (Bio-Drama-History-Thriller), 9pm HBOS; E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (Adventure-Family-Sci-fi), 6.35pm Stun; Meet the Fockers (Comedy), 2.55pm FoxCom; Little Fockers (Comedy), 6.25pm FoxCom; *Star Wars VIII: The Force Awakens (Action-Adventure-Sci-fi-Thriller), 8.45am & 6.37pm HBO.

Also Ran:

Action/Adventure: Spider-Man (Tobey Mauire), 6.10pm CnCl.

Animated/Family: Bend It Like Beckham (Sport), 4.40pm FoxFam.

Arthouse/Independent: *Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg Crime-Thriller), 7pm Prmt.

Biography/Documentary: Before the Music Dies (Music-Documentary), 7.15pm Sund; Alive (Docudrama-History), 1.37pm TCM.

Comedy: Burn After Reading (Coen Bros), 7.20pm MaxU; Hail, Caesar! (Coen Bros), 9pm MaxU.

Drama: St Vincent (Bill Murray Indy), 11.30am FoxMov.

Foreign: The Secret in their Eyes (Argentine-Spanish Mystery), 5.50pm FoxCin.

Horror: *Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix, 7.45am; *& the Half-Blood Prince, 10.08am, HBO2.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: *The Hunger Games, 5.12pm HBOP.

Thriller: Lethal Weapon (Crime-Drama), 10.10am Max.

War: Flags of Our Fathers, 1.24pm HBOS.

Western: The Tall T, 6.40pm FoxClas.

*Starred films have been picked before. **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.