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.
Eddie the Eagle (2016)
Film4, Saturday 21st, 21:00
From a young age, Michael “Eddie” Edwards dreamed of being an Olympian. After trying a variety of sports and failing to qualify for the British Olympic skiing team, his dream seemed to be over, until he came up with the idea of becoming Britain’s first Olympic ski jumper for over 60 years. Taron Egerton stars as Eddie, who achieves his goal with the help of a disgraced former ski jumping champion, played by Hugh Jackman. We all know the story, which is a classic British tale of celebrating underachievement, but this biopic turns it into a funny, heart-warming feelgood movie. Both Egerton and Jackman are excellent and even if the story isn’t entirely true, it is still a hugely entertaining film showing that sometimes it’s good enough just to take part.
ITV2, Tuesday 24th, 21:00
Having negotiated a zombie apocalypse and defeated a sinister neighbourhood watch in their UK films, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost relocated to America to put their unique spin on the Sci-Fi genre. The two star as a pair of nerds on a cross-country road trip whose wildest dreams are fulfilled when they meet Paul, an extra-terrestrial on the run from the Government, voiced by Seth Rogen. Agreeing to help him return home, they embark on an action-packed and fun-filled journey whilst being pursued by shady agents. A larger budget than the pair’s British offerings allows for more spectacular effects and bigger production values, but the tone is otherwise much the same, making this a quirky comedy that is unashamedly influenced by The X-Files and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Stand by Me (1986)
Sony Movies, Tuesday 24th, 21:00
On a hot summer weekend in the late 1950s, four boys from the sleepy town of Castle Rock set out to find the body of a boy that has recently been reported missing. On their journey they get into a variety of dangerous situations, share their problems and begin their journey to adulthood. This coming of age film is based on the Stephen King novella The Body, and in terms of adaptations the writer’s work it is second only to The Shawshank Redemption, which came from the same anthology. It works as both a comedy and drama thanks to some brilliant performances from a young cast that would all go on to be major stars, and a carefree spirit that will remind you of simpler days spent in the outdoors with friends.
They Live (1988)
Horror, Wednesday 25th, 22:55
Arguably John Carpenter’s last truly enjoyable film, They Live stars the late Roddy Piper as a man that discovers the world is being overtaken by aliens that have infiltrated society. This deception can only be seen by the use of special sunglasses, which reveal the aliens’ true faces and the subliminal messages they are using to subdue humanity. Piper does a decent job in a role that was probably intended for Kurt Russell, and his pro wrestling background brings extra realism to a brilliant fight scene with co-star Keith David. The movie is far from perfect, but offers enjoyable Sci-Fi action with a touch of satire, and also features one of the most quotable movie lines of all time.
The Martian (2015)
Film4, Friday 27th, 21:00
In the year 2035, a manned mission on the surface of Mars is hit by an unexpected storm and must evacuate the planet early, but in the ensuing chaos the team’s botanist Mark Watney is left behind, assumed dead. Marooned with no immediate chance of rescue, he must use his wits and creativity to sustain himself and contact NASA so they can attempt to get him home. The story is wildly implausible but Matt Damon’s performance as Watney is brilliant, and regardless of what you think of him in general, you’ll be rooting him to survive in the hostile environment created for him by director Ridley Scott in this gripping drama.