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.
Back to the Future Part III (1990)
Film4, Saturday 26th, 18:40
The final part of the best trilogy ever made takes the heroes back to the Old West, where they face new challenges along with a lot of familiar faces. The shift to a new setting allows for a plethora of new jokes as well as nods to classic Western films, and the story continues in the same vein as the previous episodes but with new twists. Michael J. Fox is excellent once again, but this is most definitely Christopher Lloyd’s film as Doc Brown’s romance with Clara Clayton becomes the focus of the tale. At the end, you’ll be sad that the story is over, but happy at witnessing closure to one of cinema’s most fantastic tales.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Sony Movies, Saturday 26th, 21:00
Groundhog Day meets Gears of War in this thriller as Tom Cruise plays an Army Major with no combat experience who is pitched into battle against a vicious army of alien invaders. Minutes into his first encounter he’s killed, but finds himself reliving the battle over and over again, making more progress against the enemy each time but still eventually being killed. He soon catches the attention of a fierce veteran of the war (Emily Blunt) who has previously been stuck in a similar time loop, and she helps him improve his skills with the ultimate aim of destroying their foes for good. It’s a smart action film with a rich vein of humour, and Cruise does a fine job, though in this instance it is Blunt who makes the biggest impression as an uncompromising bad-ass.
American Pie (1999)
ITV2, Monday 28th, 01:20 (Sunday night)
The coming-of-age high school comedy got the gross-out treatment with this tale of four friends determined to lose their virginity before graduating. Plenty of films have done it before and since, but none got the balance quite as right as this one, with the disgusting moments being counteracted by more heartwarming ones. Typifying this approach are the two best characters, representing opposite ends of the scale – the outlandish Stifler (Seann William Scott) and the bumbling but well–meaning Jim’s Dad, played by Eugene Levy. With likeable characters, plenty of memorable gags and a surprisingly satisfying ending, American Pie has everything that its many clones from the following years lacked.
War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)
Film4, Tuesday 29th, 21:00
The third and (so far) final instalment in the Planet of the Apes origin series sees the future of the human race under threat again as the virus that wiped many of them out in the earlier films has mutated into something even more worrying. Meanwhile the apes led by Caesar are threatened by a maniacal Colonel whose troops are hellbent on wiping out the simian population, and confrontation is inevitable. As with the previous films the CG effects are so astounding that the idea that these are computer-generated apes won’t even cross your mind, while a smart, if sometimes predictable story brings this saga to a satisfying end. For me, it’s not quite as enjoyable as its predecessors, but as our recent boxset review said, overall this has been the best franchise reboot in cinema history.
The Imitation Game (2014)
More4, Wednesday 30th, 21:00
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.