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A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box for Sunday 18 March 2018

If it screened on a real movie channel, Spielberg’s masterpiece (Schindler’s List, 9pm Stun) would have been in the running for top pick and BEST FILM OF THE DAY.Anyone curious how the same idea can give rise to one terrific and one dreadful film can find out at 9pm; thankfully, the good one screens first (*Creed, 9pm, Southpaw, 11.16pm HBOS).

Today’s Number One Film:

*Once Upon a Time in the West, 9pm Fox Classics Ch 560. BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked The Proposition, 3.10 to Yuma or The Good, the Bad & the Ugly. The great work of Sergio Leone and the meatball on top of the spaghetti Western, for BC on TV, this is as good as the Western genre gets. Henry Fonda plays one of cinema’s greatest villains, with Jason Robards and the young Charles Bronson almost eclipsing him dramatically. Ennio Morricone’s haunting score – and the mystery of the harmonica – add huge atmosphere. Leone takes ridiculous chances as a filmmaker – and every risk pays off. One of the great films of our time. Miss it only if you’re dead. Directed by Sergio Leone/ 1968/ Italy-USA / Western/ 175 mins/ Rated PG-13 for Western violence and brief sensuality.

Also watch:

Get Out, 9pm HBO2 ALMOST THE BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked The Stepford Wives, Don’t Breathe or Moonlight. The film that should have won the 2018 Best Picture and Best Director Oscar, Golden Globe, everything, is a masterwork from one of America’s funniest men; it is hard to believe it’s only his first feature, so well does he hold the balance between comic drama and genuine horror.The subject-matter may divide audiences in the US the same way the OJ verdict did but, for the rest of the world who can see truth plainly, it is a masterpiece.The great regret for Jordan Peele is that, like M Night Shyalaman, his debut is so strong, whatever comes after is likely to suffer by comparison.In time, it will prove to be seen as one of the great films of our time, even by white Americans. Directed by Jordan Peele/ 2017/ USA / Horror-Mystery-Thriller/ 144 mins/ Rated R for violence, bloody images and language including sexual references.

Fences, 10.25am Fox Cinema. Watch this if you liked Manchester by the Sea, Silence or Moonlight. A film based on a play with one set change in its whole runtime always runs the risk of failing, on screen, to be as riveting as it was on the stage.Without the real human beings acting before the audience’s eyes, what can induce rapture in person might induce yawns on celluloid.Regretfully, Fences is one of those films. Still, the original material is so very strong and the male and female leads so superb, it remains excellent without being as mindblowing as the stage play must have been.You watch it for the acting, not the effects, and are hugely rewarded – but you kind of wish the playwright could have found a way of cutting half-an-hour more out of the movie version.Directed by Denzel Washington/ 2016/ USA-Canada / Drama/ 139 mins/ Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language and some suggestive references.

Just Nosed Out:

Gangs of New York (Daniel Day-Lewis drama), 4.25pm Prmt; Marshland (Spanish crime thriller), 9pm FoxCin;Hugo (animated-family), 9.35am FoxFam; Cast Away (Tom Hanks adventure drama) 2.17pm CnCl; Silverado (Western), 6.45pm FoxClas.

Also Ran:

Action/Adventure: Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, 12.35 midday FoxClas.

Animated/Family: Shrek Forever After, 4.47pm CnCl.

Arthouse/Independent/Cult: Hail, Caesar! (Coen Bros dark comedy), 4pm MaxU.

Biography/Documentary: Miles Ahead (docudrama-music), 11.15am HBO.

Classic: **Jaws (creature horror), 10.30am FoxClas.

Comedy: Ghost Town (Ricky Gervais), 12.05 midday Prmt; Little Fockers, 4pm FoxCom.

Drama: Creed (sport), 9pm HBOS.

Foreign: Landfill Harmonic (Spanish-language Paraguyan music documentary), 9.45am Max.

Horror: The Boy, 12 midday HBOC.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: Stranger Than Fiction (drama), 4.10pm ISat.

Thriller: Sicario (action-crime), 10pm CnCl.

Western: Rio Bravo (John Wayne), 11.43am TCM.

*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.