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A Trifecta of Today’s Best Films on the Box

Today’s number one film:

Pleasantville, 12 midday MaxU. Watch this if you liked The Truman Show, Groundhog Day or Stranger Than Fiction. An excellent film on all levels, starting with an outstanding script and backed by flawless direction and magnificent performances. Technically it is not only sound but ground-breaking, with the medium of cinema itself being used to make the film’s points, via colour taking over the black & white screen as the spirit of rebellion and free thinking spreads.

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A Trifecta of Today’s Best Films on the Box

If BC on TV could be sure of English subtitles, the Hungarian thriller/horror, White God, would have been today’s number one pick; though it is probably not today’s “best” film, it is almost certainly the most original – even with Locke, The Lobster, Slumdog Millionaire, Stranger Than Fiction and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind all screening.

Today’s number one film:

Slumdog Millionaire, 10am Fox Movies. Watch this if you liked any of Bride & Prejudice, Monsoon Wedding, Mississippi Masala AND Life is Beautiful, American Beauty or The Departed. Danny Boyle’s exuberant direction makes the stark poverty of inner-city India bearable long enough for his deeply compassionate and sympathetic story of young love to take hold; worth it just for the clever flashing back from the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" Read more

A Trifecta of Today’s Best Films on the Box

For the music lovers, the DirecTV Channel screens the Nobel Peace Prize Concert at 2.30pm and 10.30pm.

Today’s number one film:

In Bruges, 9pm Sundance Channel. Watch this if you liked Inglorious Basterds, The Hangover or Intermission. A very dark, very funny comedy from the writer-director of Seven Psychopaths about two hitmen relaxing in the medieval Belgian city between assassination jobs. It features a terrific script and – if you can believe it – Colin Farrell keeps up dramatically with Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes. The comedy is hard-edged hilarious but there are several moments of very real and quite disturbing violence that might distress the sensitive. (Martin McDonagh/ 2008/ UK-USA/ Black comedy-Thriller/ 107 mins/ R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language and some drug content)

Also watch:

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A Trifecta of Today’s Best Films on the Box

Like last weekend, posting on Saturday because of early screening times on Sunday. And, like last Sunday, AMC runs all of season one of the seminal TV series, M.A.S.H. from pre-dawn.

Today’s number one film:

Locke, 8.40pm Cinemax BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked Unfriended, Snowpiercer or the original Michael Caine/Laurence Olivier Sleuth. The best film comparison to represent Steven “Eastern Promises” Knight’s wonderful, and wonderfully tense, film is probably 12 Angry Men, the classic film of conflict set in a murder trial jury room. Locke is even more claustrophobic: apart from a very few establishing shots, the entire film takes place in the interior of a BMW driving from Birmingham to London. The full cast numbers 12 – like the Angry Men – but you see only Tom Hardy as the titular Locke at the wheel of the Bima; all the others are just voices coming in on the car’s mobile phone. Out of that ultraminimalist setup, Steven Knight – and Tom Hardy and the 11 voice co-stars – craft a superbly watchable film that will have you on edge for almost all its runtime; and nothing really happens. Simply wonderful. One of the best films ever shot, but clearly not for the Fast & Furious crowd, who would just consider it a waste of a firetrucking BMW…(Steven Knight/ 2013/ Drama-Thriller/ UK-USA/ 85 mins/ R for language throughout)

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A Trifecta of Best Films on the Box For Sunday 1 January 2017

It will be hard to top New Year’s Day for wide-ranging film choice in 2017. All four foreign films bolded in the Also Ran section, e.g., could have taken today’s top slot. The DirecTV Channel establishes its musical dominance on day one of the new year with Linkin Park (11.30am), Joan Jett (1pm), James Blunt (3.30pm), Alanis Morissette (4.30pm), Cyndi Lauper (8.30pm), Snoop Dogg (9.30pm) and Sam Smith (11pm) all ONSTAGE for an hour apiece, plus 90-minute sets of the Isle of Wight Festival (10am), Muse Live at the Mayan (2pm) and Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators (5.30pm). In response, cable can only muster Bon Jovi Live in London (2.01pm TCM).

Today’s number one film:

Star Wars Rogue One:

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