Best Films on TV: 27 May to 2 June

The best free-to-air films on television every day this week, as chosen by Fast and Furious series convert and  site editor, James Diamond.

He’s too busy trying to watch the new Arrested Development season 4 and packing for a holiday to spend much time on his recommendations this week. It’s probably for the best.

unforgivenMonday 27th May – Unforgiven (TCM, 9pm)

The Oscar-winning western that laid to rest Clint Eastwood’s legendary career in the genre. Great performances from Eastwood, Gene Hackman, and Morgan Freeman elevate the film to classic status.

Tuesday 28th May – Green Zone (Film4, 9pm)

Today’s film sees Matt Damon reteam with Bourne Ultimatum and Bourne Supremacy director Paul Greengrass. Based on the non-fiction book ‘Imperial Life in the Emerald City’, it explores the US involvement in the restructuring of Iraq after the second Gulf War in 2003, as well as the search for WMD. For those who want a late night fright, the utterly wonderful Let the Right One In is on Film4 at 1.25am. My review from last year is here.

Wednesday 29th May – The Italian Job (Film4, 7pm)

Michael Caine at his cheeky chappy best. He plays Charlie Croker, a con recently released from prison who plans the heist to end all heists right under the nose of the mafia. Cue Mini Coopers racing around Turin, Noel Coward orchestrating events from prison, and “you’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off”.

Thursday 30th May – Forrest Gump (Film4, 9pm)

Beginning to be a bit of a Film4 love-in here, but there’s really no competition today. Tom Hanks in a career-defining role that isn’t as schmaltzy as you might remember. A stunning achievement in cinema (although Pulp Fiction should still have won the Best Picture Oscar that year).

Friday 31st May – The Man Who Haunted Himself (Horror Channel, 4pm)

There’s not a huge choice today, so I’m just going to recommend a film that our very own Owen Hughes recently wrote about in his Decade in Film piece for 1970:

“1970 was an almost “inbetween” year for Roger Moore. By the time this film was released, he was already a household name. Not because he was Bond, James Bond; he was still yet to play 007 for another 3 years! But because of his role in one of the highest rated British TV shows of the 60s, The Saint. Wanting to show he was more than just a camp heroic adventurer, he collaborated with British director Basil Dearden and showcased a rather more serious side to his acting ability.

I’m not much of a Bond fan. When I was younger, I preferred Sean Connery (much to my dads disapproval) although as I’ve gotten older, I have come to appreciate and prefer Moore’s take on Ian Flemming’s iconic character. But it’s here, and not in the world of secret spy espionage, that I think I have found my favourite film of Moore’s.

Shot like a mystery thriller with elements of the film noir genre about it, copiously straddling various different answers to its myriad of questions before finally drawing the curtain back and revealing what has been going on all along – it plays on the concepts of identity theft, of schizophrenia and psychosis. It spends time developing the story, enhancing the mystery element and finally in getting the best out of and then delivering an exquisite performance from its star actor. Combined with a fantastically early 70s look, a late 60s swing and a very catchy theme tune by Michael J Lewis (that even now creeps into my subconscious every so often and loops around my head all morning) the effort that has gone into it definitely paid off.”

Saturday 1st June – A Few Good Men (Watch, 10pm)

Another day, another film review I can steal from one of my colleagues. This time it’s Kate Diamond’s Decade in Film for 1992:

“In a court house of the United States government, one man will stop at nothing to keep his honour, one will stop at nothing to find the truth, and Kevin Bacon has the most remarkable haircut you ever did see. Aaron Sorkin wrote the oft-quoted screenplay after hearing about a similar case in Guantanamo Bay, on which his sister was a military attorney. The Sorkin trademark ‘walk & talk’ also originated in this movie.

Despite winning precisely nothing at the Oscars, critics and the box office deemed it a hit, and it went on to be the most commercially successful work of hero director Rob Reiner. A veritable all-star cast, including Tom Cruise at his preppy nineties peak, Jack Nicholson chugging on cigars and shouting ‘I’m gonna rip the eyes out of your head and piss into your dead skull!’, Demi Moore, Kevin Pollak, Kiefer Sutherland and plenty of others. A Few Good Men is a largely court room based tale of honour, loyalty and Code Reds. It’s also a pretty great advert for never joining the Marines.”

Sunday 2nd June – The Karate Kid (Watch, 12.30pm)

I’ve not seen it for years, but I cannot imagine this film being anything less than the superlative film about learning to stand up to bullies that I remember from my youth. Ralph Macchio (last seen in this year’s Hitchcock) is ‘Daniel San’, or at least that’s what the mystical Mr Miyagi keeps calling him. Through the power of household chores, Daniel San becomes a bit of a karate legend, and has to face down his tormentors in competition. Someone sweeps the leg, someone does a ‘crane kick’ and we all get down to Joe Espostio’s ‘You’re the Best Around’

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