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.
The Rundown (2003)
Sony Movies, Saturday 28th, 14:50
Whilst still marketing himself as The Rock, Dwayne Johnson teamed up with Seann William Scott in this enjoyable action comedy, also known as Welcome to the Jungle. He plays a bounty hunter tasked with tracking down his boss’s son, who is causing trouble in a South American mining town. Of course, when he gets there he finds all is not what it seems and gets involved in a dispute with the mine’s owner. It’s fairly typical action fare but is elevated above mediocrity by the chemistry between Johnson and Scott. It was a flop at the box office but if you’ve become a fan of Johnson thanks to his appearances in films such as Central Intelligence and Jumanji, it’s well worth checking out the first film that showcased the talents that have made him such a big star.
Horror, Saturday 28th, 23:15
Psycho meets 8MM in this modestly-budgeted horror flick, where Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale check into a backwater motel only to find they’re about to become the latest stars of a Snuff movie. A tense opening half hour eventually gives way to more predictable genre tropes, but the filmmakers should be praised for not resorting to an all-out gorefest, instead relying on claustrophobia and psychological torment to drive the movie to its inevitable conclusion. The cast does a reasonable job, there are a few surprises, and with a running time under 90 minutes, this is one for horror/thriller fans to check out if it has previously passed you by. Just avoid booking a remote hotel stay for a few weeks afterwards!
Jack Reacher (2012)
Channel 5, Wednesday 2nd, 22:00
The protagonist of Lee Child’s series of crime novels came to the big screen portrayed by Tom Cruise, in a story that sees him trying to save a former Army sniper from the death penalty after he is implicated in the murder of five people. In the course of his investigations he unravels a conspiracy and deals out his special brand of justice to the real perpetrators. Fans of the character may have criticised the casting of the relatively diminutive Cruise to play Reacher, who is described as a giant in the books, but the actor’s performance of the anti-hero is brilliant and surprisingly witty in a clever, thrilling and gripping movie that is far less action-packed than expected, but all the better for it.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
ITV4, Thursday 3rd, 21:00
The team responsible for TV show Spaced made their big screen debut with this delightful Brit-rom-zom-com. Simon Pegg stars as Shaun, who along with best mate Ed (Nick Frost) must deal with the challenges of keeping his girlfriend happy, trying to get on with his stepfather and surviving a Zombie apocalypse. As all good Brits would, he heads to the safest location he can think of – the Pub! With quintessentially British humour, plenty of pop culture nods and dozens of memorable scenes, Shaun of the Dead is an absolute joy, which helped propel both stars and director Edgar Wright to international success. If you’re a fan of horror then there’s ample gore in this film, and if you’re not then the comedy is sure to entertain you, making this a treat for everyone.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
ITV4, Thursday 3rd, 23:05
The team responsible for Shaun of the Dead reassembled for this action-packed comedy that revealed the sinister underbelly of life in a small country village. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost lead a cast filled to the brim with British comedy talent, not to mention some more traditionally serious stars doing their own comic turns, in a wonderfully ridiculous homage to American action movies and British sensibilities. Violence and gore comfortably sit alongside slapstick comedy and witty banter, culminating in a blood-drenched and bullet-riddled finale that is as good as any Hollywood blockbuster.