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 or Netflix, here are five of the best freeview movies for the coming week.
The Guard (2011)
Film4, Sunday 13th, 23:10
This unconventional Buddy Cop movie stars Brendan Gleeson as a loudmouthed, unprofessional Irish Sergeant. He teams up with a fastidious FBI Agent (Don Cheadle) and the odd couple unravels the threads of a case involving murder, drug dealers and police corruption, resulting in an action-packed finale. This is one of those films that you may not expect much of, but turns out to completely exceed those expectations. Laced with black humour and violence, featuring characters that are more likeable than they deserve to be and a story that is both clever and thrilling, The Guard is an unexpected pleasure and fully deserving of the acclaim it received.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
ITV2, Sunday 13th, 15:15
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.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Film4, Saturday 18th, 11:00
Unquestionably one of the best 1950s Sci-Fi offerings, this movie sees a UFO landing in Washington DC, but rather than intending to conquer the planet, the alien inside is on a mission of peace. Inevitably, the local reaction to his arrival is less than peaceful and the alien’s robotic counterpart GORT has to get involved. The effects may be shaky, but the story is still surprisingly relevant and the acting is generally decent. Far more watchable than the Keanu Reeves-led remake of recent times, the film is definitely a classic of the genre and its message is one that the human race still hasn’t heeded more than 65 years later.
Finding Nemo (2003)
ITV, Sunday 13th, 15:40
For their fifth film, Pixar took us beneath the waves for the tale of a young clownfish called Nemo who defies his over-protective father and swims out into open water, only to be caught by a scuba diver and wind up in the fish tank of a Sydney dentist. It’s down to his dad to make a perilous journey to rescue him with the help of a forgetful blue tang called Dory and a variety of other marine life. Story-wise the film isn’t as clever as the likes of Toy Story or Monsters Inc, but the underwater setting allows for some gorgeous animation and there’s some fine voice acting for both the main and supporting characters. Many Pixar fans rate this as one of the company’s finest productions – they’re wrong, but that doesn’t stop it being a very enjoyable film, especially for families.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
Film4, Thursday 17th, 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.