Best Films on TV: 12 – 18 August

Our intrepid editor James Diamond returns with his pick of the best films on free-to-air television this week. A huge thanks to Owen Hughes for covering the last few weeks, but this blog is going to be a JCVD and zombie-free zone.

In fact, in order to make up for lost time James is desperate to gorge on some films he hasn’t seen. As such, each recommendation this week is being offered on blind faith, with a touch of educated optimism.

Side By SideMonday 12th August – Side By Side (Film4, 10.50pm)

An acclaimed documentary that explores the evolution of film-making from celluloid to digital, with contributions from Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, and David Lynch. The most surprising element being that it is produced and presented by Keanu Reeves. Great write-ups for this film, and sure to entertain anyone interested in the cinematic process.

Tuesday 13th August – Kiki’s Delivery Service (Film4, 2.45pm)

The long-awaited and constantly postponed Studio Ghibli induction into the Failed Critics podcast Corridor of Praise is getting beyond a joke now. The problem is, I signed the idea off when I had only seen two of their films, and so each time I spot the opportunity to watch another one I end up moving the podcast to a later date. Here’s another one which has passed me by until now, but the premise of a witch who sets up a delivery service with the aid of her magic broom is too good to resist.

Wednesday 14th August – Magnum Force (ITV4, 9pm)

This is just one of those films I really should have seen by now. The follow-up to the excellent Dirty Harry, it features Clint Eastwood returning as the maverick cop Harry Callaghan. The plot this time focuses on a vigilante killer offing gangsters, and is apparently more of a straight-up action film than its predecessor.

Thursday 15th August – A Town Called Panic (Film4, 11am)

I’m still not entirely sold on stop-motion films, or rather; I don’t have the innate love for them that some people have. Beyond a few exceptions (Fantastic Mr Fox, ParaNorman) they strike me as the kind of self-congratulatory films that people who comment on Guardian articles fawn over. This sounds promising though. Based on a Belgian/French kids TV show, it tells the story of three plastic toys called Cowboy, Indian, and Horse, and how their plans for a surprise birthday party go haywire after they receive 50 million bricks, rather than the 50 they ordered. I’m in.

Friday 16th August – Flightplan (Sky One, 12.45am)

I’ll be honest here, I’m not actually going to watch this as my good wife has already pretty much told me the entire plot after she watched it one night and I thought she was describing the film Red Eye. That said, she seemed to think it was a decent late-night thriller for the most part, but pretty much falling apart at the seams towards the end. Still not sure if Sean Bean was a good guy or a bad guy either.

Saturday 17th August – Two Days in Paris (BBC2, 12.25am)

As a recent convert to the Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy-starring ‘Before…’ series, I am very much looking forward to delving into the Delpy-written/directed ‘” Two Days in…’ series, which appears to be a more caustic and cynical counterpoint to Richard Linklater’s wonderfully romantic films. This is the first of the series (followed up in 2011 by Two Days in New York) co-starring Adam Goldberg as Delpy’s boyfriend. Together they spend the titular two days with Delpy’s parents (played by her real-life mum and dad).

Sunday 18th August – Frost/Nixon (BBC2, 10.30pm)

I’ve had this on bluray for over a year, and still haven’t gotten around to watching it despite it starring two actors I love (Michael Sheen and Frank Langella) reprising their stage roles. Add some Sam Rockwell, Toby Jones, and Rebecca Hall, plus Ron Howard directing and I’m at a loss as to why I have taken this long to watch it. I’ll probably still find some way to put it off.

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2 thoughts on “Best Films on TV: 12 – 18 August”

  1. For some reason I thought you’d already seen Frost/Nixon. It will be right up your street. It’s an excellent film with great performances too.

    A Town Called Panic is pretty funny too but given your problems with stop motion I’m not sure you’ll like that one as much.

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