Recommended films on TV

FILM OF THE WEEK

If you like gangster films, and you have plenty of time on your hands, don’t miss Casino (1995). Directed by Martin Scorsese and co-written by Nick Pileggi (who also collaborated with Scorsese on Goodfellas), it offers a kaleidoscopic account of mob activity in Las Vegas during the 1970s, capturing the city’s tawdry glamour and simmering undercurrent of violence. The film’s main characters are all based on real people, including Robert De Niro’s Sam Rothstein, a mafia casino manager, and Sharon Stone’s Ginger McKenna, a dancer and former prostitute who becomes Sam’s love interest.

The film runs to just two minutes short of three hours, which, with ads, will make for a long night. Record it. That’s on Dave on Saturday (3/10) at 21:00. 

World Cinema

On Sunday (4/10) at 15:35 and again on Friday (9/10) at 15:30, Film4 brings us Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), the epic account of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a noble attempt to show the event from both sides, with the American sequences directed by Richard Fleischer and the Japanese sequences directed by Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasuku.

I Am Not a Witch (2017) is one of three films this week shown by CFS  in 2018/19. It is a strange, somewhat surreal tale about a young girl in Zambia denounced as a witch and sent to live among similar outcasts. That’s on Channel 4 on Monday at 00:15. The same night, at 01:35, Film4 has Jallikattu (2019), also known as Jellykettu, about an escaped buffalo terrorising an Indian village. Finally for Monday, Sony Action has Django The Last Killer (1967), another in its strand of spaghetti Westerns. That’s at 06:00. 

On Tuesday (6/10) at 02:40, Film4 has My Life as a Courgette (2016), the delightful stop-motion animation about life in a children’s home which we showed very successfully. Funny and sad with a unique look. 

On Wednesday (7/10) at 01:30, Channel 4 has the latest in its series of Indian films. Article 15 (2019) is a thriller about a cop battling against caste-based violence and discrimination. A score of 8.2 on IMDB suggests it is worth a look. 

Many people were put off by the relentless bleakness of Loveless (2017) when we showed it, but it is a great film. Set in contemporary Russia, it tells of a couple in a bitter divorce whose son goes missing. Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, who brought us the equally grim Leviathan three years earlier. Loveless is on Film4 on Thursday (8/10) at 01:10. Also on Thursday, at 13:05, Sony Action has Boot Hill (1969), another plateful of spaghetti. 

On Friday (9/10) at 01:25, Film4 has Beauty and the Dogs (2017). A young female student in Tunisia is terrorised by corrupt police officers. It was Tunisia’s entry for the foreign film category in the 2019 Oscars.

Stephen Ilott’s picks

One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942) is a wartime Powell & Pressburger classic about the crew of a downed British bomber who are rescued by Dutch civilians. That’s on Talking Pictures on Saturday (3/10) at 15:25 and again on Friday (9/10) at 14:30. At 23:10 the same day, Film4 has 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016). Very little to do with the original Cloverfield, a found-footage monster movie, this tense drama has a woman locked in a bunker with two men while chemical or nuclear fallout has supposedly polluted the air outside. But Michelle’s “rescuer”, played by John Goodman, proves to be nothing of the kind. On Tuesday (6/10) at 22:00, Stephen has picked the cheerful British musical That’ll Be the Day (1973), featuring David Essex. That’s on Talking Pictures. Finally, on Friday (9/10) at 23:10, Film4 has the blood-drenched High School horror Carrie (1976), directed by Brian De Palma from the novel by Stephen King. It features Sissy Spacek. 

Modern films of interest

On Sunday (4/10) at 17:25, ITV2 has Peter Jackson’s take on King Kong (2005), with Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody. 

On Wednesday (7/10) at 19:05, Film4 has The Two Faces of January (2014), a thriller set in Greece and Turkey, based on a novel from the twisted pen of Patricia Highsmith, who gave us the Ripley series and Strangers on a Train. 

On Thursday (8/10) at 21:00, Film4 brings us Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), directed by the multi-talented Martin McDonagh and starring the excellent Frances McDormand as a mother seeking answers about the murder of her daughter.

Oldies

Rambo: First Blood (1982), the first and apparently the best of the increasingly risible Sylvester Stallone franchise, is on ITV4 on Saturday (3/10) at 21:00, and again on Monday (5/10) at the same time. Also on Saturday, at 21:05, Talking Pictures has John Schlesinger’s dark and grisly Hollywood satire The Day of the Locust (1975). It can also be seen on Thursday (8/10) at 22:00. 

A ripe crop of Oldies on Sunday (4/10), beginning with the evergreen A Hard Day’s Night (1964), featuring the talented mop-tops. That’s on BBC2 at 00:20, again on BBC4 on Friday (9/10) at 20:00, and will be available on iPlayer. At 14:50, Sony Action has Von Ryan’s Express (1965), in which Frank Sinatra saves a group of British POWs. A likely story. At 16:05, BBC2 has John Ford’s The Searchers (1956), a Western classic with John Wayne. At 17:30, Horror Channel has Dracula (1931), with Bela Lugosi. Taking Pictures has Teacher’s Pet (1958), a Clark Gable and Doris Day romcom, at 18:10. It can also be seen on Thursday (8/10) at 09:25. Back to the Horror Channel for The Mummy (1932), featuring Boris Karloff, at 19:00. Finally for Sunday, ITV4 has In the Line of Fire (1993), with Clint Eastwood, at 21:00. 

On Monday (5/10) at 17:05, Sony Action has Dead Reckoning (1947), a noir thriller with Humphrey Bogart and Lizabeth Scott. 

On Wednesday (7/10) at 17:10, Film4 has Last Train from Gun Hill (1959), a Western with Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn. 

On Thursday (8/10) at 09:40, Sony Action has The Body Snatcher (1945), another vintage horror, this time with both Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. 

Finally for this week, on Friday (9/10) at 07:40, Sony Action has Marlon Brando as the leader of a motorcycle gang in The Wild One (1952). “Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?” “Whadda you got?” 

Stephen Ilott and John Morrish