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. If you’re looking for more free movie options then you can also check out our guide to Freeview Movies On Demand.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Channel 4, Saturday 16th, 18:30
The man with the hat is back in his third adventure, this time on the trail of a religious artefact that could provide immortality, and it’s no surprise that the Nazis are also seeking it. There’s no denying that the film is thematically similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the addition of Sean Connery as Indy’s father adds a new dynamic to the adventure, with much of the film’s humour stemming from their relationship. There’s also plenty of action, including a thrilling showdown between Indy and a tank in the Arabian desert. Over the years this has become my favourite film in the franchise and seemed to be a fitting end to the Indy saga, until the 2008 release of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull sullied it somewhat.
Escape from New York (1981)
Film4, Saturday 16th, 23:05
John Carpenter’s second of five collaborations with Kurt Russell resulted in the creation of one of action cinema’s coolest characters, Snake Plissken. The eye-patch wearing anti-hero is about to be imprisoned in the City of New York, which has been sealed off in a dystopian future and used to house the worst of the world’s criminals. Fate intervenes however when the President’s plane crashes in the city and Snake is sent in to rescue him. Gritty and violent action sequences follow, along with interactions with the city’s diverse and dangerous residents, not least Isaac Hayes as the extravagant Duke of New York. With Carpenter’s trademark visual style and electronic score, thrilling set-pieces and solid acting from much of the cast, this is one of the finest examples of the genre.
ITV4, Sunday 17th, 00:25 (Saturday night) & Wednesday 20th, 00:05 (Tuesday night)
This post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi thriller stars Tom Cruise as one half of a team manning an outpost on an Earth decimated by an alien invasion. Plagued by visions of a former life, he discovers a woman that he feels connected to, and embarks on a journey that reveals that his current life is not quite as he thought. The story is a little generic at time but does have a few interesting twists, while the visuals and production design are excellent. It’s also one of Cruise’s better acting performances of recent years, more understated than you might expect, and there are good supporting turns from Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman. The movie underperformed a little at the box office but if you’re a fan of Sci-Fi with a bit of drama then you shouldn’t be disappointed.
ITV4, Monday 18th, 23:45
Long before the popular TV show, Fargo began life as a film starring William H. Macy as an under-pressure car salesman who decides to resolve his financial issues by staging the kidnapping of his wife, hoping that his rich father-in-law will pay the ransom. Unfortunately his simple plan is unravelled by the unhinged duo he pays to perform the act and the smart, dogged female police chief of the small town where the crime takes place. The Coen Brothers are well renowned for quirky crime thrillers, and Fargo is undoubtedly the pinnacle of the sub-genre they created for themselves – a comical, violent masterpiece with wonderful performances from the entire cast, brilliant cinematography and Carter Burwell’s fantastic score. One of the best films of all time? You’re darn tootin’!
Wind River (2017)
Film4, Friday 22nd, 21:00
Two of the Marvel Universe’s fringe actors take centre-stage in this thriller, as Jeremy Renner’s expert tracker teams up with Elizabeth Olsen’s FBI Agent to investigate the death of a young girl found frozen in the middle of a Wyoming Indian Reservation in the dead of winter. After run-ins with the local Native Americans, their inquiries eventually lead to a bloody showdown at a nearby oil drilling site. Director Taylor Sheridan follows up the excellent Hell or High Water with another look at the modern American frontier, this time focussing on the many crimes against Native Americans that are never solved. While the story is as bleak as the environment it is set in, it’s also gripping and shockingly violent at times, while both Renner and Olsen show off acting skills that you’d never see in their Avengers roles.