Recommended films on TV


Jackie Brown (1997) is the Quentin Tarantino film for people who don’t much care for Tarantino’s films. Instead of the usual overload of verbal tricks and popular culture riffing, coupled with comic-book violence, this one has a real plot and characters you can relate to. Adapted from Elmore Leonard’s 1992 novel Rum Punch – the only book Tarantino has taken as source material –  it features Pam Grier in the title role as a flight attendant and low-level money courier who becomes involved in a complicated plot that will either make her a fortune or end her life. Samuel L. Jackson is the co-star and there are smaller roles for Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton and Bridget Fonda. The film was controversial for its use of the “n-word” 38 times, but the choice was defended by Jackson, who said it reflected the attitudes of the time. Jackie Brown is on Dave on Saturday (17/10) at 21:00.

World Cinema

Three World Cinema films on Saturday (17/10). At 00:45 and subsequently on iPlayer, BBC2 has François Ozon’s typically tricksy The New Girlfriend (2014). When a young woman dies, her best friend finds out something unexpected about her widower. Based on a novel by Ruth Rendell. At 1:10 Film4 has The Handmaiden (2016), which CFS showed in 2017/18. In Korea during the 1930s Japanese occupation, a young girl is hired by a Japanese heiress as a handmaiden. Little does the heiress know, the girl is secretly in the employ of a criminal aiming to seduce her and make off with her fortune. Then the handmaiden and the heiress discover a mutual attraction and the plot goes awry. Chan-wook Park’s film drew criticism for its explicit depiction of lesbian sex. The third World Cinema film on Saturday is The Great Wall (2016), on Film4 at 21:00. This is a weird one. Directed by the esteemed Yimou Zhang, it tells of a group of European mercenaries, including Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe, hired to protect the Great Wall against, er, some alien monsters.  On Wednesday (21/10), Channel 4 has the latest in its Indian series, Naal, a heartwarming film about an eight-year-old boy in a remote village in Maharashtra. It is apparently based on an episode in the childhood of Krishna.

Stephen Ilott’s picks

On Sunday (18/10), Stephen has picked In the Heat of the Night (1967) on BBC2 at 00:10, and subsequently on iPlayer, the excellent Deep South drama starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger as two ill-matched cops from across the racial divide. At 14:35 on the same day and the same channel, and subsequently on iPlayer, he has picked John Ford’s Western She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), with John Wayne, of course. On Monday (19/10) at 12:25 on Talking Pictures he has picked Hitchcock’s Sabotage (1936), one of the last films he made in Britain before moving to Hollywood. On Thursday (22/10) at 10:10, Sony Action has Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), with Burt Lancaster and Karl Malden. Finally, on Friday (23/10) at 03:10, Sony Movies has The Remains of the Day with peerless Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson as butler and housekeeper in the service of an aristocrat with secrets. Also at 18:20.

Other modern films of interest

On Saturday (17/10) at 19:00, Sky Arts is showing Hitsville: The Making of Motown, a worthwhile documentary about the Sound of Young America from its birth in 1958 until its departure for Los Angeles in the 1970s.

On Sunday (18/10) at 15:50, Sony Movies has The Theory of Everything (2014), with Eddie Redmayne impressive as Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones as his wife. At 22:00 the same day, and subsequently on iPlayer, BBC2 has Detroit (2017), a fact-based drama set during the 1967 riots. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Finally for Sunday, at 23:05, ITV4 has Hot Fuzz (2007), Simon Pegg’s comedy about a London cop transferred to a sleepy town.

On Tuesday (20/10) at 23:05, and subsequently on iPlayer, BBC4 has I Am Not Your Negro (2016), an impressive documentary about the writer James Baldwin.

Locke (2013) is effectively a one-man play starring Tom Hardy and an off-screen cast of voices. Innovative and tense. That’s on Channel 4 on Thursday (22/10) at 02:50. The same day, at 21:00, Film4 has Hidden Figures (2016), the fact-based story of a team of black women mathematicians who played a vital part in NASA’s space programme.

On Friday (23/10) at 22:00 and subsequently on iPlayer, BBC4 has another fine music documentary, Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes (2018), about the pioneering jazz label of the 1950s and 1960s. Finally for Friday, Channel 4 has Get on Up (2014), the biopic of the funk superstar James Brown. That’s at 23:30.


The D-Day epic The Longest Day (1962) is on Film4 on Saturday (17/10) at 14:35 and then again on Thursday (22/10) at 14:45. Also on Saturday, at 21:15, BBC2 has Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Subsequently on iPlayer.

On Sunday (18/10) at 18:50, Paramount is showing Shenandoah (1965) a James Stewart Civil War story.

The Alec Guinness version of The Ladykillers (1955) is on Film4 on Monday (19/10) at 16:55. Later the same day, at 21:00, Sony Movies has The Game (1997), a twisty thriller with Michael Douglas as a banker lured into a frightening conundrum.

On Wednesday (21/10) at 11:00, Film4 has Ride Lonesome (1959), a Randolph Scott Western. Later the same day, at 22:30, ITV4 has Al Pacino and Sean Penn in Carlito’s Way.

On Thursday (22/10) at 12:50, Film4 has The Tin Star (1957), a Western with Henry Fonda and Anthony Perkins.

Finally, on Friday (23/10) at 16:05, Sony Action takes to the skies with The Blue Max (1966).

Stephen Ilott and John Morrish