Best Films on TV: 22 – 28 July 2013

Two weeks in a row, the best films on TV are chosen by the podcast’s Owen Hughes. He’s trying something different this week and picking a few critically acclaimed films he *thinks* will be the best on TV. It’s hard to tell when he hasn’t actually seen them himself.

Burton and Taylor – First Photo Credit: BBC/Gustavo PapaleoMonday 22nd July – Burton and Taylor (BBC4,9pm)

Yes, that’s right. I have no first hand evidence as to whether or not this is the best film on TV given I’ve never actually seen it, but BBC4’s last ever original drama, a biopic of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor‘s last time working together in 1983 (starring Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter respectively) deserves some attention. I will certainly be recording it, if not watching.

Tuesday 23rd July – Synecdoche, New York (BBC One, 12.30am) (so.. technically Wednesday then)

Very divisive amongst those who’ve seen it, Charlie Kaufman‘s directorial debut tells the story of Philip Seymour Hoffman as a theatre director whose “life suffers when he attempts to portray stark reality”. Some people absolutely love this film for its almost horror film-eqsue drama, others hate it and call it pretentious. Colour me intrigued.

Wednesday 24th July – Serpico (Film4, 11.25pm)

Just beaten to first place in my list of favourite films of 1973 by The Exorcist, Sidney Lumet‘s biopic thriller stars Al Pacino giving one of his best performances outside of the Godfather series as New York whistle blowing cop, Frank Serpico. I have seen this one! I can categorically state that there are no better films on TV today. Unless The Exorcist is on Sky Movies or something.

Thursday 25th July – The Untouchables (Film4, 10.55pm)

No, not that French film released last year that may or may not have made it onto our Failed Critics Awards podcast. This is the Brian De Palma American period drama, set in the 20’s, with federal agents out to stop gangster Al Capone. Starring Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Emma Stone and Josh Brolin as – no wait, I’m confused again, that’s the eerily similar Gangster Squad. This actually stars Kevin Costner, Sean Connery and Robert De Niro. It’s a good one. Trust me, I’ve seen this.

Friday 26th July – Silent Running (Film4, 5.10pm)

On early afternoon to give you time to spend your evening in the cinema watching the new Wolverine movie, Silent Running is a post-apocalyptic ecological sci-fi from the 70’s starring Bruce Dern. He’s a member of a spaceship carrying the last remnants of Earth’s plant life. Massively influential on almost all sci-fi films since, it gets the Failed Critics nod for Friday’s best film on TV.

Saturday 27th July – The Kite Runner (BBC Two, 10.55pm)

Amir, a writer living in America, returns home to Afghanistan where he grew up in the 70’s with his childhood friend Hassan. Based on a wildly successful novel, the film was a critically successful film, being nominated for a Golden Globe for best foreign picture (not quite sure how given it’s an American film), it comes with some weighty recommendations behind it.

Sunday 28th July – Gorillas in the Mist (ITV3, 9pm)

Get prepared for our first female inductee to the Corridor of Praise in August with this biopic of zoologist Dian Fossey who goes to the mountains to study and save some of those damned dirty apes and their stinkin’ paws. Sigourney Weaver‘s performance in this is often cited as one of her most emotionally powerful. Just having Sigourney Weaver in it should be enough to get you watching! What are you waiting for? Go now and set up your Sky / Virgin Media / Freeview / VHS recorder.

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