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​A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box

If it had not been picked a couple o’ months ago, the first instalment of BC on TV’s all-time favourite film (The Godfather Part I BEST FILM OF THE DAY, 4.15pm Prmt) would certainly have got the nod; bad timing that Fox Classics screened Part II last Sunday. For families who have not seen them, today offers a great chance to see, in the right order, a couple of terrific animated flicks (Finding Nemo, 1.27pm Max; Finding Dory, 9pm HBOF).

Today’s Number One Film:

The Wrestler, 5.20pm Fox Action. Watch this if you liked Million Dollar Baby, The Fighter or The Hurt Locker. Because it is set in the cheapest, darkest edges of the world of professional wrestling, the story has a great level of curiosity/interest for even the most anti-sport movie of anti-sport movie haters; but the film that won the Best Actor BAFTA for Mickey Rourke (he was also nominated for the Oscar) belongs to Rourke, in the end, middle and beginning. Physically, he takes a battering in performing the kind of ring jumps the world is, sadly, familiar with from the overexposure of the WWF, but the real hurt comes in the pain of the human being inside the grizzly old warrior. A tearjerker, for sure, but a fine performance nevertheless, and a wakeup call for anyone pursuing glory in the world of televised entertainment; should be compulsory viewing in every junior secondary school; directed by the auteur of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan. Directed by Darren Aronofsky/ 2008/ USA-France / Romance-Drama-Sport/ 109 mins/ Rated R for violence, sexuality/nudity, language and some drug use.

Also watch:

Avatar, 9pm Fox Family. Watch this if you liked Apocalypto, The New World or any of the Lord of the Rings films. Dismissed by cynics as “Dances With Wolves In Space”, hailed by almost everyone else as entertaining from first frame to last credit, Avatar makes up with exuberance and spectacle anything it might lack in script and depth. It would take several different films – Pacific Rim + E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial + Surrogates + Shark Tale – to replicate all its strengths. A real treat for anyone who’s not seen it before but its near-three-hour runtime might challenge the short attention span crowd. Directed by James Cameron/ 2009/ USA/ Sci-Fi-Adventure/ 162 mins/ PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.

Next, 5.20pm Fox Action. Watch this if you liked Memento, Face/Off or The Departed. Quite like the Denzel Washington thriller, Déjà Vu, except far better and far more believable, even though the premise – a man can see into his own future, but only two minutes at a time – is even more ridiculous. Seamless, boldfaced direction staves off most of the incredulity and Nicholas Cage somehow does the rest. It obviously will not do for anyone who likes their escapism to be realistic but, if you can suspend the disbelief – and, if you could for Déjà vu, it should be a walk in the park – it is a lot of fun. Utter nonsense, of course, but a very captivating version of it. Directed by Lee Tamahori/ 2007/ USA/ Action-Fantasy-Sci-Fi-Thriller/ 96 mins/ PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action and some language.

Just Nosed Out:

**Unfriended (Horror), 6.05pm MaxP; Surrogates (Action-Sci-fi-Thriller), 4.15pm HBCO; Miles Ahead (Biodrama-Music), 9pm HBOS; Suffragette (Bio-Drama-History), 9.53am HBOS; **The Shallows (Creature Horror), 7.30pm MaxP.

Also Ran:

Action/Adventure: Braveheart, 6.05pm FoxClas.

Animated/Family: Monsters, Inc., 8.45am MaxU.

Arthouse/Independent: Ashby (Rom-Com), 10.30am FoxMov.

Biography/Documentary: Phil Spector (Biodrama-Music), 8.40am HBOC.

Comedy: A Walk in the Woods (Bio), 3.40pm Max.

Drama: Gladiator (Extended Edition) (Action-Adventure-Thriller), 2.52pm TCM

Horror: One Missed Call (American version), 9.30pm MaxP; I Know What You Did Last Summer, 9.25am MaxP.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince (Horror), 5.51pm Max; V for Vendetta, 3.50pm MaxP; & the Deathly Hallows Pt I, 9pm Max.

Thriller: *Falling Down (Action-Crime), 7.56am HBOS.

War: The Dirty Dozen, 12 midday TCM.

Western: The Cimarron Kid (Audie Murphy), 9pm 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.