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A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box for Sunday 24 December 2017

No shortage of Christmas flicks on Christmas Eve – including everyone’s favourite dreadfully sentimental rom-com, thankfully screening late-ish (Love, Actually, 10pm TCM) but the pick of the bunch are probably two of the oldest (Miracle on 34th Street, 1.30pm AMC; The Ten Commandments, 5.15pm FoxClas).

Today’s Number One Film:

*Steve Jobs, 5.29pm HBO Signature BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked Locke, The Big Short or The Social Network. The only great mystery about Steve Jobs is how Michael Fassbender could be denied the Best Lead Actor Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe, particularly in a year when Johnny Depp was NOT nominated for Black Mass – and Matt Firetrucking Damon was, for The Martian! Fassbender, easily the best white male actor since Sean Penn, is nothing short of superb. Watch this film repeatedly and his performance only gets better – every look away, every twitch of a lip, is imbued with deep meaning. Amazing stuff. Kate Winslett deservedly won the Best Supporting Actress BAFTA and Golden Globe for her role as the real life Jobs’ right hand man/conscience. This is spellbinding cinema from one of the world’s greatest living directors and ought not to be missed, even by the kind of Microsoft diehards who actually bought a Zune. If someone classified this film as a thriller, BC on TV would make no objection. Directed by Danny Boyle/ 2015/ USA/ Bio-Drama/ 122 mins/ Rated R for language.

Also watch:

What We Do in the Shadows, 5.31pm ISat. Watch this if you liked This is Spinal Tap, the English version of the TV series The Office or the HBO series Flight of the Conchords. The creators of the deadpan hilarious half-hour sitcom, Flight of the Conchords, take that brand of incisive sendup of the perils of modern life from the music biz to the vampire world, and to feature film length, without missing a beat, a laugh or an opportunity to mock what we think of as set-in-stone perspectives.This story of four vampire flatmates trying to get by with the mundanities of modern life – paying the rent, deciding who will wash the dishes, getting some human blood – will have the thinking person wetting themselves with laughter.It is done so well, people who do not pay attention will probably take it seriously, as documentary. A real treat for the real cinefile. Directed by Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi/ 2014/ New Zealand-USA/ Comedy-Horror/ 86 mins/ Rated R for bloody violent content, some sexual material and language.

Frost/Nixon, 9.40am HBO Signature. Watch this if you liked All the President’s Men, Charlie Wilson’s War or Good Night, and Good Luck. BC on TV is normally contemptuous of“docu-dramas” – make up your mind: either make a documentary or a drama – and usually wary of Ron Howard’s sentimental streak, his great weakness as a director; but the docu-drama form works exceedingly well in this case, delivering a passionate, if not necessarily completely historically accurate, story of one of modern media’s great moments, the 1977 David Frost interviews of President Nixon that underscored and echoed one of modern history’s worst moments, the Watergate scandal orchestrated by Nixon.Directed by Ron Howard/ 2008/ USA-UK-France/ Drama-History-Biography/ 122 mins/ R for some language.

Just Nosed Out:

Before Sunset (Indy-Drama), 7.35pm Max; **Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Drama), 3.11pm HBO2; Spartacus (Adventure, 10.05am FoxClas; Mad Max: Fury Road (Action-Sci-fi-Thriller), 9pm HBOP, Spielberg (Doc), 7.32m HBOS; What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp indy drama), 6.40pm Sund.

Also Ran:

Action/Adventure: Spartacus (Classic-Adventure-Epic), 10.05am Fox Clas.

Animated/Family: Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 10.25am FoxFam.

Arthouse/Independent/Cult: Lost in Translation, 8.55pm ISat.

Biography/Documentary: The Aviator (Martin Scorsese biodrama), 8.20am MaxP.

Classic: White Christmas (Bing Crosby musical), 3.45pm AMC.

Comedy: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (Rom-Com), 9pm Max.

Drama: Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood-Crime), 7.40am HBOS.

Horror: Prom Night, 7.25pm MaxP.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: The Hunger Games (Action-Adventure-Thriller), 4.36pm Max.

Thriller: The Illusionist (Mystery-Thriller), 9.10pm Prmt.

War: Atonement (Literary drama), 1pm HBO2.

Western: The Tall T, 8.45am 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.