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A Trifecta of Today’s Best Films on the Box

If it had been on a little later, one of the great spaghetti Westerns would surely have been picked (Once Upon a Time in the West, 7.30am FoxClas).

Today’s number one film:

Winter Sleep (aka Kis Uykusu) (Nuri Bilge Ceylan/ 2014/ Drama/ Turkey/ 196 mins/ PG-13 for some language and zombie violence), 8pm Cinemax. Watch this if you liked Timbuktu, Room or Two Days, One Night. The Turkish name, Kis Uykusu, translates as “hibernation” but neither that nor the English title convey the claustrophobic tension of the interior scenes in this excellent film. That inside tension reflects the inner tension of each character, and the tension between the three main ones; and genuinely breathtaking exterior shots make the interior scenes that much more foreboding. A minimalist plot still makes for unexpected twists that add to the real meat of the film: strong human beings revealing their own weaknesses as time passes and the odds against them mount. Not an edge-of-the-seat film at all but one that will have you pondering its meaning, and your own, for a long time. Even though English subtitles may not be available, the film is beautiful enough to simply watch. A real masterpiece but not for the Vin Diesel Fan Club; particularly at three hours-plus.

Also watch:

*The Sunset Limited (Tommy Lee Jones/ 2011/ USA/ Drama/ 91 mins/ Unrated but unsuitable for preadolescents ) 8.55pm HBO Signature. Watch this if you liked God on Trial, The Road or God Grew Tired of Us. Even if the screenplay was by a complete moron, a two-hander featuring Samuel L Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones would be worthwhile; but add a script from his own stage play by Cormack “No Country for Old Men” McCormac and you’ve got the best hour-and-a-half you’ll spend this year contemplating life’s great miseries and small mercies. Hard to say which actor is better, or whether they can surpass the script itself. It’s amazing that philosophy can be packaged in such a gripping way. When entertainment and excellence align like this, you call it Art.



Mad Max (George Miller/ 1979/ Australia/ Sci-Fi-Thriller / 88 mins/ R), 6.15pm Turner Classic Movies. Watch this if you liked any of the other Mad Max films, any of the Terminator films or Waterworld. An Australian upstart of an action movie and one of the great cult films of all time, anywhere, more than makes up with imagination and attitude for all it might lack in budget and production values. Set in a fuel-starved, post-nuclear Apocalypse world, it made a star of one Mel Gibson but even that can be forgiven. By a stroke of luck, the entire trilogy also shows today on Space, with the first film starting at 9.22am, followed by The Road Warrior at 11am and Beyond Thunderdome at 12.38 midday.

JUST NOSED OUT:

**2001: A Space Odyssey BEST FILM OF THE DAY 7.10am Max; **Locke, 6.30pm MaxP; Trading Places, 9.05am FoxMov; **LOTR1 Ext Vrsn 6.35am HBOP; Despicable Me (Animated-Family), 12.50 midday FoxMov; *Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, 10.30pm HBOS; Foxcatcher (Drama) 5.40pm Max

ALSO RAN:

Action/Adventure: MI: Rogue Nation, 7.15 & 9.15pm F+1

Art House/Independent: *Stranger Than Fiction (Fantasy), 1.30pm MaxU; Dirty Pretty Things (Crime-Thriller), 9pm Prmt

Children/Family: Shark Tale, 9.50am TNT; Where the Wild Things Are, 2.50pm ISat; Ace Ventura II, 10am FoxCom

Classic: The Big Country (Drama), 9.20am FoxClas

Comedy: Clerks 7.25pm FoxClas

Drama: Michael Clayton (Bio-Thriller), 10.05am FoxAct; The Descendants, 3.13pm HBOF; Night Train to Lisbon, 3.35pm FoxCin

Foreign: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Kung fu), 1.25pm Sund

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: The Hobbit 3 Ext Vrsn 5pm CnCl;

Thriller: Get Shorty (Crime-Comedy), 9pm DTV; Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, (Crime) 12.25midday MaxP; Munich (Political drama) 3.40pm Prmt;

War: Fury, 5.45pm HBOC; Black Hawk Down, 6.24pm Edge

Western: Back to the Future III, 1.55pm Max

*Starred films have been chosen in the last two years. ** Double-starred films have been chosen in the last two months.

Scheduled Internet times often vary on the day, particularly around month-end.