Every week Mat Corne scours the TV Guide for the best movies showing on UK free-to-air TV. So for those of you that refuse to pay for Sky Movies, Amazon Prime or Netflix, here are five of the best freeview movies for the coming week.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
ITV2, Saturday 16th and Friday 22nd, 21:00
The team responsible for TV show Spaced made their big screen debut with this delightful Brit-rom-zom-com. Simon Pegg stars as Shaun, who along with best mate Ed (Nick Frost) must deal with the challenges of keeping his girlfriend happy, trying to get on with his stepfather and surviving a Zombie apocalypse. As all good Brits would, he heads to the safest location he can think of – the Pub! With quintessentially British humour, plenty of pop culture nods and dozens of memorable scenes, Shaun of the Dead is an absolute joy, which helped propel both stars and director Edgar Wright to international success. If you’re a fan of horror then there’s ample gore in this film, and if you’re not then the comedy is sure to entertain you, making this a treat for everyone.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
ITV2, Sunday 17th, 18:20
Ten years after the end of the hugely disappointing prequel trilogy, the Star Wars franchise came back with a bang under the stewardship of Disney and director J.J. Abrams. Episode VII takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi and sees a new group of heroes team up with old favourites like Han Solo and Chewbacca to track down the missing Luke Skywalker, whilst facing the threat of unstable Jedi Kylo Ren and The First Order. Critics would complain that the story is little more than a reboot of A New Hope, but the film features so many fantastic moments, emotional twists and lovable characters new and old that any lack of originality can be forgiven. So whether you’re a jaded 40-something or a youngster taking your first steps into the Star Wars world, just sit back and enjoy this exhilarating return to that amazing galaxy far, far away.
Film4, Friday 22nd, 21:00
In this classic Sci-Fi thriller, the crew of the space freighter Nostromo land on an inhospitable planet to investigate a mysterious transmission and have a close encounter of the worst kind with a vicious xenomorph. Whilst most notable for the alien’s unwelcome appearance from John Hurt’s chest, its real strength is in Ridley Scott masterfully building up almost unbearable tension throughout the film, which is actually more stalk and slash than Sci-Fi. Blessed with a small but stellar cast including Ian Holm, Tom Skerritt and of course Sigourney Weaver as the strong and resourceful Ripley, the film also boasts lavish production design and a spine-tingling soundtrack. Add in H.R. Giger’s terrifying antagonist and you have a film that is almost as nerve-wracking now as it ever was.
Toy Story (1995)
BBC1, Saturday 16th, 17:10
It’s hard to believe that more than two decades have passed since Pixar wowed us all with this delightful tale of toys that come to life when their owner isn’t playing with them. The computer animation may look a little dated compared to recent Pixar hits, but at the time it was completely ground-breaking, changing the world of animated movies almost overnight. More importantly, the story of friendship and teamwork remains as strong as ever, with adorable characters voiced by big name actors, fun action sequences for the kids and more subtle jokes for the adults. In every way this is a perfect family film, and never fails to entertain even after all this time.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
Film4, Saturday 16th, 23:25 and Friday 22nd, 22:55
Taking place a decade after the events of the first film, the second part of the POTA reboot trilogy sees the remnants of humanity trying to rebuild after being almost wiped out by the Simian Flu that also bestowed increased intelligence to a tribe of apes. That tribe, led by Caesar, has been living and growing peacefully in the forests near San Francisco until a group of humans cross paths with them. A fragile truce is established between the two races, but factions on both sides soon bring them to an inevitable battle with one another. More action-packed than its predecessor, but still featuring more thoughtful moments, the film features some great sequences, decent acting from the human characters and more superlative motion capture performances from Andy Serkis and friends. Another impressive offering in a series that nobody expected to be as good as it was.