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A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box for Sunday 9 September 2018

Last round of appy-polly-logies this week, with the geophysical blocking from which I’ve been suffering Europe about to end – and it’s nothing to do with my digestive tract, just prevents access to the film channel schedules.The best BC on TV could do for the last three weeks is recommend three films on HBO – but, this week, I know certain they will screen at the same time on the same channels because I’ve once more had the assistance of the ultra-reliable Rachael at DIRECTV.

Today’s Number One Film:

Dunkirk, 6pm HBO. Watch this if you liked United 93, Saving Private Ryan or The Revenant. The director of Inception, Memento and the Dark Knight films returns, splendidly, to the form that had vanished in Interstellar.From the very first frame, he captures the strange mix of horror, excitement, violence and boredom that make up a war – as well as the true story of one of the great humanitarian actions in modern history, the rescue from the beach at Dunkirk of 338K-plus Allied soldiers by a ragtag fleet of over 800 boats, most of them small, privately-owned boats skippered by English civilians.A genuine masterpiece on all fronts. Directed by Christopher Nolan/ 2017/ UK-Netherlands-Francd-USA/ Action-Drama-History-Thriller-War/ 106 mins/ Rated PG-13 for intense war experience and some language.

Also watch:

Seven Psychopaths, approx. 3.45pm Cinemax. Watch this if you liked Pulp Fiction, Horrible Bosses or In Bruges. The second film from the Londoner who, with In Bruges, made the greatest splash on the other side of the Atlantic since Guy Ritchie wooed Madonna across the pond, is what you’d expect from a gifted young man with a bigger budget: bigger stars (including Christopher Walken); higher production values; and, understandably, a bit more self-indulgence – the pacing lags in the dessert scenes, where the cleverness is trotted out for admiration. It still turns out to be one of the most intelligent films shot in LA this century. Violent, funny, disturbing and touching in turns, it’s hard to beat – but if you just didn’t see what all that fuss about The Usual Suspects was about, don’t bother.Directed by Martin McDonagh/ 2012/ Crime-Black Comedy/ UK/ 110 mins/ R for strong violence, bloody images, pervasive language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use.

Paranormal Activity 9pm Studio Universal. Watch this if you liked The Blair Witch Project, Insidious or Poltergeist. This is an edgy, tense horror of the haunted house genre, with its huge atmosphere created by the handheld camera, faux documentary style made popular by The Blair Witch Project. There are far more jump-out-of-your-seat moments than in far gorier films and the whole thing is done with the bizarre kind of love and professionalism that contradicts the subject-matter in a way only the horror genre can. It’s a pity that, having made a genuinely inimitable film, the allure of sequel cash persuaded the writer-director to imitate himself to far lesser effect. This first one, though, is just terrific. Directed by Oren Pell/ 2007/ USA/ Horror/ 86 mins/ R for language.