Monday 26 January 2015

TV movie picks (UK): Monday, January 26 - Sunday, February 1

The weather's going to be shit all week, so stay in and watch a film or 10...

TERRESTRIAL: The Visitor (tonight, 00:25, BBC1) is a cockles-warming drama starring Richard Jenkins (one of those incredibly familiar actors whose name I can never remember) as a lonely widower who discovers two illegal immigrants squatting in his apartment. You don't have to be a genius to work out that Jenkins is initially grumpy but warms to the couple before helping them fight deportation. Transamerica (Wednesday, 01:20, Channel 4) is rather better featuring as it does a stand-out performance from ex-Desperate Housewife Felicity Huffman. She plays Bree, a pre-op transsexual trying to track down the son she never knew she had in a surprisingly effective road movie. On the subject of roads(!), The Road (Friday, 23:05, BBC2) is a lighthearted comedy full of joy, laughter and giggling butterflies, adapted from Cormac McCarthy's equally rib-tickling novel*, while True Grit (Sunday, 22:00, BBC2) sees the Cohen Brothers take a stab at remaking the John Wayne classic. Alas, it isn't nearly as good as the original or their very best work.

CABLE & SATELLITE: Cancel all your plans for Friday night (yes, even those involving Jagerbombs and BDSM) because there are so many great films showing, you'll want to see as many of them as possible. Film4 boasts four great movies back to back, kicking off with excellent undead comedy Zombieland (21:00), then onto Jonathan Glazer's debut picture Sexy Beast (22:40), featuring Ray Winstone in arguably his best-ever role. The Punk Singer (00:25), a documentary about inspirational and influential Bikini Kill vocalist Kathleen Hanna, follows, before Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch Drunk Love (02:05) rounds off the evening in style... even if it does star Adam Sandler. If all that wasn't enough, revisionist fairy tale Maleficent - with a fine, scenery-chewing turn from Angelina Jolie - arrives on Sky Premiere on the same day (16:00 and 20:00, until Thursday February 5), and Sky Select is showing classy crime drama Hard Eight (22:00), the aforementioned Mr Anderson's debut feature. Before all that Syfy offers Robocop (tonight, 22:00) and Robocop 2 (tomorrow, 22:00). Whilst watching the first one, why not talk loudly and obnoxiously about how awful last year's remake was? Trust me, people will love you for it. Oh, and ITV 2 is showing Keith Lemon: The Film (22:00, Wednesday) because they are a bunch of bastards who despise humanity.

VOD: Oscar-nominated The Boxtrolls (BT TV, Sky Store, Virgin Movies) was one of my favourite kids' films of last year - right up there with Paddington and The Lego Movie in fact. It's rude, grubby and grotesque, clearly influenced by Monty Python and perhaps even the anarchic spirit of Leo Baxendale. A must-see even if you don't have children. View On Demand is proving increasingly essential for fans of foreign language cinema, and there's proof of that again this week. Virgin Movies have a slew of new subtitled films available to stream, the pick of which are Violette - an intense tale of unrequited love featuring an acclaimed performance from Emmanuelle Devos as French writer Simone de Beauvoir, and In Order of Disappearance, a Norwegian black comedy starring Stellan Skarsgard as a vengeful father tracking down the drug baron he blames for his son's death. If actors speaking foreign bring you out in a rash watch Life After Beth (BT TV, Sky Store, Virgin Movies) instead. It's about Aubrey Plaza being made into a zombie or something.

* All information about The Road was incorrect at press time.

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