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.
Rocky Balboa (2006)
5Spike, Saturday 7th, 18:55 and Thursday 12th, 22:55
16 years after the frankly dreadful Rocky V, Sylvester Stallone returned to write, direct and star in this fitting conclusion to the Rocky story. Long-retired, estranged from his son and mourning the death of his wife Adrian, Rocky still feels he has unfinished business in the ring and when he is offered an exhibition fight with the current World Champion, he puts on his gloves for one last round. In many ways a retread of the earlier story, this has all the down-to-earth grittiness, sadness and drama as the Oscar-winning original in addition to the obligatory training montage and pulsating in-ring action. To bring the character back after such a long time was a risky move for Stallone, but just as the first film propelled him into the big time, Rocky Balboa helped revive a fading career and prove that sequels can be as good as the original, even so many years on.
BBC1, Sunday 8th, 00:15 (Saturday night)
Before wowing us with likes of Inception and The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan directed this dark, confusing but compelling thriller, which features Guy Pearce as an amnesiac trying to piece together the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death. His short-term memory is lost every time he goes to sleep, so every clue he finds is tattooed on his body so he can remember it the next day. The story is told both with a normal timeline and also with a series of flashbacks that piece together the missing clues that Pearce’s character has forgotten, with the two ultimately converging to solve the mystery. It’s bewildering at times but also incredibly clever, making this one of the most unique films ever made, and even if you know the conclusion, it’s worth watching again to see how many hints towards solving it you can find.
E4, Sunday 8th, 21:00
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as retired soldier John Matrix in this unashamedly cheesy action thriller, where he is forced back into action when his daughter is kidnapped by an old rival. Matrix makes his way to his adversary’s island lair to rescue her, finding a variety of inventive ways to kill the mercenaries sent to stop him, with each death usually accompanied by one of Arnie’s now-famous one-liners. Nobody would ever say this is his finest film, but there’s no denying it’s just as much fun now as it was over 30 years ago, and a perfect film to watch if you want to let off some steam!
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
ITV4, Sunday 8th, 22:10 and Friday 13th, 00:20
Chevy Chase stars as the well-intentioned but hapless Clark Griswold, who loads his family into a brand-new station wagon for a trip across the USA to the Walley World amusement park. Along the way they get into a series of mishaps that get more ridiculous the closer they get to their destination. Many comedies from this era have aged badly due to insensitive jokes that are now considered prejudiced, but this film still works thanks to the innocent, slapstick humour and remains relevant to anyone that has ever been on a family road trip they’d prefer to forget.
You’re Next (2011)
Horror, Tuesday 10th, 21:00
This home invasion thriller starts like any other – a family and their significant others get together at a secluded house, and just as they’re sitting down to dinner they are attacked by masked assailants with powerful weapons and a variety of fiendish traps. What they didn’t count on is that one of the intended victims is rather more resourceful than the invaders bargained for, and she is not going to make it easy for them! There are further twists that are a little predictable, but seeing the bad guys get their comeuppance in a variety of ingenious ways more than makes up for any shortcomings. Packed with decent acting, black humour and death scenes that will make you scream with glee, this is one of the most enjoyable horror films in years and is sure to become a cult classic.