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 some of the best freeview movies for the coming week.
Groundhog Day (1993)
Sony Movies, Saturday 19th, 16:45
Bill Murray is in some of the finest form of his career as a grumpy TV weatherman, reluctantly sent to a small town to cover its annual ‘Groundhog Day’ festival. Upon waking the next morning, he finds himself doomed to repeat that same day over and over again, with consequences ranging from the absurd to the tragic, until he finally finds the key to escaping the time loop is changing his outlook on life and finding love with his producer, played by Andie MacDowell. Only moderately successful at the time, the film has since gained the status of a comedy classic thanks to Murray’s fabulous performance, and even the usually unbearable MacDowell plays her part well. It’s a great film, but afterwards you’ll never want to listen to Sonny and Cher’s “I’ve Got You Babe” ever again!
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
ITV, Sunday 20th, 17:20
For fans of the books I’m sure the first two Harry Potter films were more than adequate, but for more casual viewers they were somewhat lacking. Things got much better with this third episode in the series – the students of Hogwarts were growing up and the story took a darker turn, with a supposedly dangerous dark wizard on the loose and the presence of he who should not be named ever more threatening. The production design was revamped for this instalment and with whomping willows, werewolves and a fabulous time-travelling finale, Prisoner of Azkaban is enjoyable for adults and kids alike and is the most well-rounded film of the saga.
Channel 5, Sunday 20th, 23:10
Sylvester Stallone’s most famous role sees him play Rocky Balboa, a small-time Philadelphia boxer whose life is going nowhere until he gets a once in a lifetime shot at the World Heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. Later films would focus on the in-ring action and make the character a typical American hero, but the first film is more of a drama as we see Rocky building a relationship with shy pet store clerk Adrian and his will to make something better of himself. With the classic training montage scenes and accompanied by Bill Conti’s iconic score, Rocky is a fantastic, sometimes sad but ultimately uplifting story that won three Oscars from ten nominations.
Back to the Future Part III (1990)
E4, Sunday 20th, 18:40
The final part of one of the best trilogies ever made takes the heroes back to the Old West, where they face new challenges along with a lot of familiar faces. The shift to a new setting allows for a plethora of new jokes as well as nods to classic Western films, and the story continues in the same vein as the previous episodes but with new twists. Michael J. Fox is excellent once again, but this is most definitely Christopher Lloyd’s film as Doc Brown’s romance with Clara Clayton becomes the focus of the tale. At the end, you’ll be sad that the story is over, but happy at witnessing closure to one of cinema’s most fantastic stories.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Film4, Thursday 24th, 21:00
Tom Cruise takes on the role of agent Ethan Hunt for the fourth time, as he and his team are framed for the bombing of The Kremlin and disavowed by their superiors. The team must therefore work without any support to clear their name and bring down a terrorist planning to launch a Nuclear weapon. Cruise does his best to ruin it by being miserable throughout, but Incredibles director Brad Bird brings much of the humour and over the top action from his animated films to his first live-action offering, and the supporting cast is excellent.