A trifecta of the best films on DIRECTV

If it hadn’t been chosen yesterday, **The Godfather Part II BEST FILM OF THE DAY would certainly have been chosen today; as might any of the double-starred recently chosen films, all of which are better than all three of today’s picks.

Today’s Number One Film:

Picture courtesy YouTubeStar Wars VII: The Force Awakens, 12.14 midday HBO Family Ch 534. Watch this if you liked the Indiana Jones or the Lord of the Rings trilogies or any of Marvel’s Avengers movies. Rewatching the earlier Star Wars films in preparation might actually have put you off watching the new one, because you might have realised that, though you thought V, VI and VII were fantastic when you first saw them – in 19-firetrucking-77! – they really are almost as cheesy as I, II & III. Worry no more: VII is far better than any of its progenitors. The difference must be JJ Abrams. The plot borrows heavily from earlier storylines but you still have two hours-plus of superb cinema. The new robots are cooler (even if they use the same recorded message plot pivot as in A New Hope) but the old ones are still great to look at. You can measure how deep Star Wars got under your own skin by how great a rush of real affection you feel the first time you see the older versions of the characters. Directed by JJ Abrams/ 2015/ USA/ Action-Adventure-Sci-Fi-Fantasy/ 135 mins/ PG for sci-fi action violence.

Also watch:

The Karate Kid, 3pm, Paramount Ch 510. Watch this if you liked Back to the Future, Field of Dreams or E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial. The fairly standard plot – a single mother relocating to a new life and hoping to steer her young son straight – is enhanced by a surprisingly good performance from then teeny-bopper Ralph Macchio and the late Pat Morita as the wise old Asian man; far better than its Disneyesque limitations would suggest. BC on TV once hastily dismissed the whole franchise as “a kind of inferior Rocky for the pimply crowd” but that was before the Will Smith Junior travesty put the effort into perspective. III may be too much of an acceptable thing but I & II are strong, particularly given the unchallenging standards of family viewing. Both II & III follow immediately after. Directd by John G Avildsen/ 1984/ USA/ Teen-Drama-Sport/ 126 mins/ Rated PG.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 1.35pm Golden Ch 503. Watch this if you liked Wall-E, Shark Tale or Fantastic Mr Fox. By far the best animation of any animated kiddie movie BC on TV has seen and perhaps the best pacing, too, the story of a boy who invents a machine that can make food drop from the sky is far better than adults would think. One to watch, not suffer through, with your kids. In fact, this movie is so worth watching, if you don’t have small kids, borrow one from a neighbour. Very few films that get classified under “family” offer as many deeply appreciated laughs for adults as this one, almost all without the cynicism usually needed to convert kiddie flicks into adult ones, a la Shrek movies. Directed by Phil Lord-Chris Miller / 2009/ USA/Animation-Family-Comedy/ 128 mins/ PG for brief mild language.


**The Godfather Part II BEST FILM OF THE DAY, 9.50am AMC; **The Sixth Sense (Horror), 12.52 midday HBO; **Groundhog Day (Dark Comedy), 9.25am FoxClas; **The Revenant (Adventure-Western), 6.30pm FoxAct; **Seven Psychopaths (Crime-Thriller), 10.05pm MaxP; **Insidious (Horror), 10.51pm Max; Up (Animated-Family), 10.35am HBOF Spy (Comedy) 7pm FoxCom; Straight Outta Compton (Bio-Drama), 9pm MaxP; MI: Rogue Nation (Action-Thriller), 2.50pm FoxMov; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (Rom-Com), 11.25am HBOP.

BEST Pay Per View BET: Doctor Strange, Ch 402.


Action/Adventure: Deadpool (Superhero), 9pm FoxMov

Art House/Independent: Hail, Caesar! (Coen Bros), 9.20am & 6.10pm Max

Biography: Man on the Moon, 5.15pm Sund

Children/Family: Up, 10.35am HBOF

Classic: Trading Places (Comedy), 11.05am FoxClas

Comedy: Johnny English Reborn, 10.45am FoxCom

Drama: The Big Bounce (Elmore Leonard Crime), 4.47pm HBOS

Foreign: Kagemusha (Akira Kurosawa samurai epic), 6.20pm FoxClas

Horror: The Lost Boys, 12.55 midday MaxP; The Boy, 3.30pm FoxCin

Sci-fi-Fantasy: **Ex Machina, 11.10am Max

Thriller: A Most Violent Year (Crime), 8.30am FoxCin

War: Rock the Kasbah (Comedy), 12 midday HBOP

Western: The Man from Snowy River, 9pm FoxClas

*Starred films have been chosen in the last year. ** Double-starred films have been chosen in the last two months. Particularly strong Also Ran choices are bolded.

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