Foxcatcher, BBC One, 12.30am

Philanthropist John Eleuthere du Pont (Steve Carell) establishes a world-class wrestling facility at his Foxcatcher Farm on the outskirts of Philadelphia and recruits Olympic champion Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) to spearhead his stable of talented athletes. At first, the relationship between du Pont and Schultz is strong, but fissures eventually appear, especially after the millionaire hires Schultz’s brother, fellow Olympic champion Dave (Mark Ruffalo). Foxcatcher is a dark and unsettling dramatisation of a real-life crime in which the American dream turns rancid and a mentally unstable man with money becomes a wrecking ball in the lives of unsuspecting bystanders. Carell is impressive, replete with facial prosthetics, but arguably the more compelling performances come from Tatum and Ruffalo.


Mississippi Grind, BBC Two, 10.30pm

Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is a loveless and luckless real estate agent in Dubuque, Iowa, who has borrowed thousands of dollars from a loan shark (Alfre Woodard) to finance his gambling habit. Debts are spiralling and Gerry desperately needs one big win to keep the wolves from his door. At a card game, he meets bourbon connoisseur Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), whose carefree attitude has a positive effect on Gerry’s fortunes and the gambler proposes that they join forces and head to New Orleans for a high-profile poker tournament. Mississippi Grind is a coolly assured character study that achieves its modest ambitions with style and artistry, vividly sketching a modern-day bromance that threatens to come apart at the booze-soaked seams.


Benjamin, Film 4, 11.05pm

Stand-up comedian and author Simon Amstell pilfers from personal experience for this 2018 feature, his second in the director’s chair, which contrives a bittersweet romantic comedy on the streets of London. Benjamin (Colin Morgan) enjoyed critical success with his debut film but he is plagued with self-doubt as he prepares to unveil a follow-up, No Self, at the London Film Festival. Socially awkward best friend Stephen (Joel Fry), who is failing to make waves on the stand-up comedy circuit, pledges his support as the film’s premiere approaches. During a night out to escape his insecurities, Benjamin becomes transfixed by handsome musician Noah (Phenix Brossard) and sparks of romance kindle something deeper. Alas, Benjamin’s self-destructive streak threatens to undermine the relationship before it has begun.


The Boss, Film 4, 11.20pm

Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) becomes America’s 47th richest woman until her dubious ethics result in a five-year prison sentence for insider trading. She emerges without any friends to greet her. Her bodyguard Tito (Cedric Yarbrough) has abandoned her and long-suffering personal assistant Claire Rawlings (Kristen Bell) has a daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson) to nurture. In desperation, Michelle turns up on Claire’s doorstep and takes up temporary residence on her sofa bed. From this low-rent headquarters, Michelle sets out to rebuild her empire. The Boss is a pleasant, fleeting diversion that fulfils the most basic requirement of a comedy: it makes you laugh. McCarthy barrels through every frame with gusto and Bell dutifully plays the straight woman caught in the eye of the tornado.


Victoria & Abdul, BBC Four, 9pm

In 1887 Agra, two lowly men – Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) and Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar) – are chosen by British authorities to present Queen Victoria (Judi Dench, reprising her role from Mrs Brown) with a ceremonial gold coin. Abdul catches Victoria’s eye and the visitor is rapidly promoted to the monarch’s spiritual adviser or "Munshi". A relationship of mutual appreciation blossoms between Victoria and Abdul, to the consternation of her son Bertie (Eddie Izzard), private secretary Sir Henry Ponsonby (Tim Pigott-Smith) and Prime Minister Lord Salisbury (Michael Gambon). Serious discourse about the impact of the British empire in India is conveniently swept under the palaces’ Persian rugs, but Victoria & Abdul remains a bittersweet and irresistibly charming tale.


All The President’s Men, BBC Four, 9pm

Made in 1976, only four years after the events which it depicts took place, All The President’s Men won four Oscars, including Best Screenplay for William Goldman, the man who also wrote Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and Marathon Man. The stars of those two films, Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, take the leads as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein respectively, reporters on the Washington Post. The pair were assigned to investigate a break-in at the Watergate Hotel but ended up unearthing scandal and corruption at the White House which resulted in President Richard Nixon’s resignation. Shot by director Alan J Pakula as an edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s the third in his so-called ‘Paranoia Trilogy’, the other two being 1971’s Klute and The Parallax View, from 1974, a political conspiracy thriller starring Warren Beatty and fictionalising the assassination of a Robert Kennedy-type figure. A timely screening, coming as it does the day after Donald Trump leaves office.


Interview With The Vampire, Friday, BBC One, 11.30pm

Before Stephenie Meyer’s erotically-charged Twilight novels and the subsequent film franchise there was Anne Rice’s erotically-charged Vampire Chronicles, the first of which, Interview With The Vampire, was published in 1976. Two decades on, Irish director Neil Jordan returned to the stylish gothic horror genre in which he had made his name with The Company Of Wolves and turned out this star-studded 1994 adaptation. Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas and Christian Slater all feature, as do a young Thandie Newton and an even younger Kirsten Dunst. She was only 12 at the time of release.

Cruise, very much playing against type at this point, is Lestat, an 18th century French nobleman and the oldest in a trio of vampires which also includes Louis (Pitt), a former Louisiana plantation owner, and Claudia (Dunst), daughter of a New Orleans plague victim. Lestat turns Louis after his wife and daughter die and he slips into a life of dissolution, and he turns Claudia after Louis feeds off her when he finds her sitting by her mother’s dead body. Fast forward to 1870 and the three have relocated to Paris, then on the cusp of great social and political upheaval, where they meet vampires Armand (Banderas) and Santiago (regular Jordan collaborator Stephen Rea). Another jump forward will find Louis, cursed and tormented, travelling solo.

Slater plays journalist Daniel Molloy, whose interrogation of Louis in modern-day San Francisco gives the film its neat framing mechanism: this really is an interview with a vampire, and Jordan sets the scene in a long opening sequence which swoops in over a night-time cityscape to the bare third story corner room in which the pony-tailed and besuited Louis is preparing to talk to the chain-smoking Molloy.

The film isn’t without its problems. Rice adapted her own novel for the screenplay, which is a blessing, but although he brings star quality and undoubted charisma to the role, Cruise never quite convinces as the ageless anti-hero Lestat. Something of the malevolence, nihilism and world-weary cynicism John Malkovich brought to the role of Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons, another 18th century romp, would have added an extra dimension. And it’s a little hard to believe that Molloy’s scepticism about Louis’ claims would be so easily assuaged. Still, this is a film about blood-sucking vampires so a willing suspension of disbelief kind of comes with the territory. And what a cast!

And one to stream …

Farewell Amor, MUBI

An under-stated gem of a film marked by stellar performances from its leads, this debut feature from Ekwa Msangi wowed last year’s Sundance film festival and is based on her own family experience. It tells the story of Walter (actor, playwright and fellow film-maker Ntare Mwine), an Angolan who has lived alone in New York for 17 years having been separated from his wife Esther (Zainab Jah) and teenage daughter Sylvia (Jayme Lawson) by civil war and immigration red tape. Sylvia was a baby when Walter left Angola, and in the long years since Esther has found God, Walter has found a lover – Linda (Nana Mensah) – and Sylvia has grown up with a distant father she doesn’t know and who rarely telephones. In the film’s opening scene, however, everything is turned on its head: Walter is at the airport to pick up Esther and Sylvia who have, finally, been allowed to come to American from Tanzania, where they fled to escape the Angolan civil war.

We return three times to this starting point and to the action which follows, each time for a chapter in which we see events through the eyes of a different character. And so we learn that Sylvia loves to dance, that Linda was living with Walter until recently and met him through their shared love of dance, and that Esther is sending large amounts of money to an evangelical church in Dar es Salaam even as Walter works double shifts as a taxi driver. We see Walter at work, Sylvia on her first day at a Brooklyn high school, and Esther being taken shopping by free-spirited neighbour Nzingha (Joie Lee, sister of Spike and a regular in his early films such as She’s Gotta Have It and Do The Right Thing).

What’s great about Farewell Amor is that Msangi avoids making political points, she sidesteps some cliches about immigrant stories while subverting others, and she spins a potent domestic drama out of something as simple as a young girl’s desire to dance and the father-daughter bond that a shared interest can create. Conflicts, when they come, may be faced with stoicism but they are resolved through acceptance and personal change. Great stuff.