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.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
ITV4, Saturday 8th, 21:05
Roger Moore may not have been everyone’s favourite, but you can’t argue that this is one of the quintessential films in the series. Everything you could want from a James Bond film can be found here, with exotic locations, beautiful women, an evil mastermind in a utopian lair, a classic henchman in the terrifying Jaws, and of course one of the most iconic cars in the submersible Lotus Turbo Esprit. The plot is as predictable as ever, but the acting is less hammy than usual for this era, there’s great chemistry between Moore and Barbara Bach, and some pulsating action sequences. All of which make it Moore’s greatest outing as 007 and my personal favourite of all the films in the franchise.
The Imitation Game (2014)
Film4, Saturday 8th & Friday 14th, 18:45
Largely set amidst the Second World War, this film tells the story of Alan Turing, a cryptographer whose work at code-breaking headquarters Bletchley Park was instrumental in decoding messages from the Nazi Enigma machine. Turing was also highly influential in furthering computer science but was shamed due to his homosexuality, which was a criminal offence at the time he lived. Covering his work during the War and also his personal life, this aims to serve as biopic and tense wartime drama and succeeds at both, with Benedict Cumberbatch superb as the brilliant yet infuriating Turing and the story drifting between time periods without losing momentum. A gripping, triumphant and yet ultimately tragic story.
Rocky IV (1985)
ITV4, Sunday 9th, 20:05
The Rocky saga continues and just as in real life at that time, a new threat comes to American dominance from Russia in the form of gigantic challenger Ivan Drago. When the robotic, state-sponsored heavyweight kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, Balboa must travel to the frozen wastes of the USSR and face a seemingly invincible opponent on his home turf. The story is frankly ridiculous and the acting frequently laughable, but the soundtrack is a triumph of 80s pop rock, the training montages are better than ever and you can’t help but get behind Rocky in his battle against an entire nation.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
E4, Tuesday 11th, 21:00
When Average Joe’s Gym faces takeover by their bigger, more corporate neighbour Globo-Gym, its small but loyal group of members team up with the gym’s owner to try and raise $50,000 to save the business. After a couple of failed fundraising attempts, they enter an International Dodgeball tournament despite having no prior experience of the sport, with a team from Globo-Gym amongst their rivals. The plot is that of any number of sports movies that champion the underdog, but this movie is as much about slapstick comedy and sight gags as it is sporting action. The humour is pitched just about right though, only occasionally crossing the line into gross-out territory, while Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and a talented group of supporting actors play their parts well. There are moments that are sheer lunacy, but overall it’s a fun film that never outstays its welcome.
Money Monster (2016)
Sony Movies, Friday 14th, 23:05
The always reliable George Clooney stars as the flamboyant host of a TV Show that gives money-making advice, but his day is ruined when a man invades his set and takes him hostage after losing all his savings investing in a stock tip that went bad. As the two face one another live on air, behind the scenes the police are formulating a rescue plan while the TV crew begin an investigation into why the seemingly sure-fire investment tip tanked so dramatically. This film flew under the radar a little upon release but turned out to be one of the best thrillers of recent years. Nail-bitingly tense from start to finish, with clever twists and brilliant performances from the whole cast, only the rather predictable ending lets it down a little but that doesn’t stop it being a great movie.