Saturday 10/08/19

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) (Channel 5, 3.15pm)

David Lean's classic Second World War drama follows a stiff upper-lipped British officer (Alec Guinness), who is being held as a PoW, as he comes to terms with his situation and his captors. So, when they insist he and his men build a bridge to facilitate a railway line, the officer becomes obsessed with doing as good a job as possible, seeing it as a testament to British pluck. However, trouble arises in the form of a renegade American (William Holden, who has orders to blow up the bridge. Impeccable and riveting, this is one of the best wartime epics ever made. Guinness is astonishing in the leading role, while superb support comes from Holden and Sessue Hayakawa.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) (STV, 8pm)

In 1942 Norway, diabolical German officer Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) steals a Cosmic Cube belonging to Odin and charges mad scientist Dr Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) with harnessing its power. Meanwhile in America, Dr Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) spearheads a secret programme to create the ultimate soldier, transforming asthmatic weakling Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) into a muscle-bound hunk called Captain America. But instead of just posing at war rallies, Steve joins forces with playboy inventor Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) and officer Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to take on the Germans. As you'd expect, the special effects and action sequences are well handled in this superhero adventure, but there's also something rather charming about the underlying themes of self-sacrifice and valour.

Sunday 11/08/19

A Dog's Purpose (2017) (Film4, 2.45pm)

Golden retriever Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad) has a brief first life in the 1950s - he is captured by men from the local dog pound and put to sleep. In his second incarnation in 1961, he is rescued from a dangerously hot truck by eight-year old Ethan Montgomery (Bryce Gheisar) and his mother Elizabeth (Juliet Rylance). In subsequent incarnations, Bailey is a German Shepherd called Ellie and partners lonely Chicago police officer Carlos Ruiz (John Ortiz), and a Corgi called Tino, who facilitates a love match for Atlanta college student Maya (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). Based on the novel by W Bruce Cameron, A Dog's Purpose is a family drama that barks a familiar but effective tune, with a couple of daring rescues that would have made Lassie wag her tail with pride.

The Theory of Everything (2014) (ITV3, 10pm)

Stephen Hawking (an Oscar-winning Eddie Redmayne) meets Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) at a party at mid-1960s Cambridge University. Romance blossoms despite Stephen's social awkwardness, but then he takes a tumble in the university courtyard and is diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Stephen's parents initially warn Jane off their son, fearful of the emotional devastation that will be wrought if he dies within the two years predicted by doctors. But Jane raises the couple's three children and holds their marriage together. Based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity, The Theory of Everything is a deeply moving real-life romance that strikes a delicate balance between tear-stained drama and comedy, and is a fascinating insight into Hawking, who passed away earlier this month.

Monday 12/08/19

Angels & Demons (2009) (5STAR, 9.00pm)

Tom Hanks returns as professor Robert Langdon in director Ron Howard's sequel to blockbuster The Da Vinci Code. Also adapted from a best-seller by Dan Brown, it jettisons the ponderous dialogue of its predecessor in favour of a protracted game of cat and mouse around Rome as Langdon works to solve the murder of physicist Father Silvano Bentivoglio. Aided by scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), the investigation takes a deadly turn when they uncover the actions of a secret society and fall foul of a psychotic assassin who has kidnapped four cardinals and is plotting to launch a terrorist act against the Vatican.

Dead Calm (1989) (Paramount Network, 11.15pm)

Loving couple Rae (Nicole Kidman) and John Ingram (Sam Neill) take a yachting trip to help them deal with the death of their son. But instead of the gentle journey they envisaged, they stumble on a sinking ship and end up saving the one traumatised 'survivor' (Billy Zane) left on board. Sadly, they come to regret their act of heroism when he begins terrorising them. Dark and creepy, this Australian thriller is proof that you don't need big bangs to make a film deeply disturbing. Kidman is terrific in the role that helped to bring her to Hollywood's attention, while Zane has never been better than as her psycho tormentor.

Tuesday 13/08/19

Paddington (2014) (Film4, 5.05pm)

Little bear Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is raised in deepest, darkest Peru by his elderly aunt and uncle. When tragedy strikes, he's dispatched by boat to London where Mrs Brown (Sally Hawkins) and her son Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) take pity on the furry loner. They convince worrywart Mr Brown (Hugh Bonneville) and moody teenage daughter Judy (Madeleine Harris) to allow Paddington to stay, but the bear also unwittingly attracts the attention of despicable taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman). More than 50 years after Michael Bond's beloved creation first appeared in print, Paddington makes a glorious live-action film debut thanks to deft digital trickery, a strong script and Whishaw's endearing vocal performance. The sequel somehow managed to be even better.

Killing Them Softly (2012) (Film4, 11.15pm)

Low-level crook Johnny Amato (Vincent Curatola) learns that mob man Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) staged a robbery at one of his own card games in order to steal the pot. So Amato hatches a cunning plan to rob another card game and point the finger of suspicion squarely at Markie. He hires Frankie (Scoot McNairy) to pull off the heist, and he in turn foolishly recruits unreliable junkie Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) as a second gun man. Against the odds, Frankie and Russell manage to hold up the card game, and they make off with the booty. Mob go-between Driver (Richard Jenkins) calls in hit man Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) to identify the perpetrators. Based on the novel Cogan's Trade by George V Higgins, Killing Them Softly is an artfully composed, slow-burning thriller in which crime does pay and the price tag is your life.

Wednesday 14/08/19

Red (2010) (Film4, 9pm)

Former Black Ops agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) has retired from active duty and now carves out a mundane existence in suburbia, where the highlight of his day is flirting on the phone with customer services agent Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). When a gun-toting death squad razes his home, Frank goes on the run with Sarah and heads to Louisiana to reunite with old friend Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman), then on to a secret bunker to re-enlist conspiracy theorist Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich). As the body count rises, the ex-agents and Sarah add sniper Victoria (Helen Mirren) to their ranks and unravel the mystery of an old mission in Guatemala. An A-list cast and tongue-in-cheek humour enliven Robert Schwentke's explosive action comedy based on the comic series by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner.

Me Before You (2016) (Channel 5, 10.30pm)

William Traynor (Sam Claflin) is a handsome high-flyer in London, who is left paralysed after an accident. He returns to his ancestral home under the care of his parents, Steven (Charles Dance) and Camilla (Janet McTeer), and relinquishes his lust for life. In order to raise his spirits, the Traynors advertise for a companion for their son and misfit Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke) answers the call. An unlikely friendship threatens to blossom into romance but Louisa already has a fitness-obsessed boyfriend (Matthew Lewis). Adapted from the bestselling novel by Jojo Moyes, this tear-stained romance addresses the morally complex issue of assisted suicide in somewhat simplistic terms, but Clarke and Claflin kindle palpable sparks of on-screen chemistry.

Thursday 15/08/19

Splash (1984) (Film4, 12.35pm)

A lonely bachelor (Tom Hanks) is rescued from drowning by a beautiful woman (Darryl Hannah), who later tracks him down to New York. Even though she doesn't own any clothes, initially doesn't speak English and claims she can't stay for longer than six days, the pair fall in love, but what he doesn't know is that she's really a mermaid. However, an eccentric scientist (Eugene Levy) has discovered her secret... Splash has a decent script and an intriguing premise, but this romantic comedy wouldn't have been half as funny or charming if it wasn't so perfect cast. The glamorous but slightly otherworldly Hannah makes a great fish out of water, and she has convincing chemistry with the ever-likeable Hanks. There's also expert support from Levy and the scene-stealing John Candy as Hanks's uncouth brother.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) (Film4, 9pm)

In the aftermath of Black Monday, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) loses his job on Wall Street and is forced to sell penny stocks at a fly-by-night operation in Long Island. Blessed with the gift of the gab, Jordan excels and decides to open his own firm, Stratton Oakmont, with salesman Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill). The dodgy business goes from strength to strength, but its 'work hard, play harder' mantra attracts the attentions of FBI Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler), who resolves to bring Belfort down. The Wolf of Wall Street is a lurid, exhilarating and blackly funny portrait of debauchery. Director Martin Scorsese pulls no punches in his depiction of Belfort's wild excesses, and his brio, coupled with DiCaprio's twitchy lead performance, means the lengthy running time flies by.

Friday 16/08/19

American Ultra (2015) (Film4, 9pm)

American Ultra is an enjoyably bonkers mash-up of a stoner comedy, spy thriller and misfiring romance. The CIA's top-secret Ultra program is deemed a failure and the remaining assets - government-sanctioned assassins - are declassified. Their memories are wiped so they can lead normal lives with new identities. One of the agents is Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg), who works at a convenience store in West Virginia. Mike is blissfully unaware of his blood-spattered past and frets about proposing to his pretty girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart). CIA handler Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton) re-activates Mike, only for the stoner to go on the run with Phoebe.

In the Heat of the Night (1967) (BBC2, 11.35pm)

When a wealthy industrialist in found murdered in a Mississippi town, the racist local sheriff Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) is quick to accuse black newcomer Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) who has been spotted in the town, only to discover that his chief suspect is actually a decorated homicide detective from Philadelphia. Despite this disastrous start, the pair work together to find the real killer, reaching a new respect as they do so. Released in 1967 at the height of the US civil rights movement, director Norman Jewison's drama boasts great performances and at least one truly iconic line from Poitier. No wonder it won the Best Picture Oscar in a landmark year, beating The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde.