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A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box for Sunday 17 December 2017

If you want to understand what all that fuss over a short-man dressed al in purple with big hair was about, check out Prince: Sign O’ the Times (1pm DirecTV Channel).

Today’s Number One Film:

Arrival, 2.40pm HBO Caribbean BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Ex Machina or Inception. The French Canadian director who made us all sit up and take notice in 2010 with his first feature film, Incendies, and then rocked us back in our chairs in 2013 with Prisoners, and then bowled us right firetrucking over in 2015 with Sicario returned in 2016 to make us do all three in the same film – just much more slowly.It is perhaps not a film for everyone – and people who require an explosion, a car crash or a murder every ten minutes to keep their attention hooked shouldn’t even bother.For the patitent lover of deeply immersive cinema, however, few films offer this kind of reward.This is a film that has to be watched painstakingly closely to be understood; and then rewatched several times, for its depth and mastery to be appreciated.Exceptional.Recommended like the best Test match you’ve ever watched.Directed by Denis Villeneuve/ 2016/ USA/ Drama-Mystery-Sci-fi-Thriller/ 116 mins/ Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.

Also watch:

Best in Show, 3.41pm ISat.Watch this if you liked A Mighty Wind, This Is Spinal Tap or Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Closer to the gentle parody of the first film than the savage satire or manic comedy of the next two, this spoof of an American pedigree dog competition remains a real treat for those who can take the time to appreciate subtlety nowadays.Done in the mockumentary style established by Monty Python’s Eric Idle in Meet the Rutles (which Rob Reiner effectively remade better and with a bigger budet as This Is Spinal Tap), this is tongue in cheek at, or very near, its best.Directed by Christopher Guest/ 2000/ USA/ Comedy/ 90 mins/PG-13.

King Kong, 2.20pm Fox Movies.Watch this if you liked Jurassic Park, Gangs of New York or Rise of the Planet of the Apes.Not a film for young children at all – some of the faces are scarier than the orcs in The Lord of the Rings and there is tremendous excitement in it, even for grownups. Some – perhaps many – may say it’s too long and Peter Jackson obviously had leftover creatures after the last LOTR flick – but his remake is loving and faithful – and the relationship between Watts and her CGI gorilla is amazing. Thoroughly escapist, beautifully made and deeply satisfying – and, unusually, on early enough that you can take it all in even after a morning at the beach. Recommended with vigour and two bags of popcorn.Directed by Peter Jackson/ 2005/ New Zealand-USA/ Fantasy-Adventure-Sci-fi/ 187 mins/ Rated PG-13 for frightening adventure violence and some disturbing images.

Just Nosed Out:

**Manchester by the Sea (Drama), 4.35pm Max; *45 Years (Drama), 11.10am Max; Foxcatcher, 11.50am & 4.40pm MaxP; Made in Dagenham (Biodrama), 12.48midday ISat; Layer Cake (Crime-Thriller), 2.30pm Prmt; Finding Nemo (Animated-Family), 12.24 midday Max; Finding Dory (Animated-Family), 1.05pm HBO.

Also Ran:

Action/Adventure: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, 6.40pm HBOC.

Animated/Family: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, 9.20am CnCl.

Arthouse/Independent/Cult: Easy Rider, 7.26am HBOS; Sixteen Candles (Young Adult-Rom-Com), 2.15pm MaxU.

Biography/Documentary: Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued (Music), 4.20pm Sund.

Classic: LOTR2: The Return of the King (Adventure-Fantasy), 4.23pm TCM.

Comedy: Hail Caesar! (Coen Bros), 9.20am Max; Notting Hill (Rom-Com), 2.10pm FoxCom.

Drama: Casino (Crime), 10pm TCM.

Horror: Ouija, 10pm TNT.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: The Hunger Games, 4.09pm Max; The Hobbit 3, 5.50pm CnCl.

Thriller: The Bourne Identity, 8.25am HBOC.

War: Patton (Biodrama), 1.50pm FoxClas; USS Indianapolis, 6.55pm FoxAct.

Western: Last Train from Gun Hill, 10.25pm 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.