A Trifecta of What’s Best on the Box for Sunday 31 December 2017

For those who have never seen it and want to start at the top, the strongest contender for Best Series That Isn’t the Sopranos starts at S1E1 (Breaking Bad, 3pm AMC).Music-lovers aren’t likely to change from the DIRECTV Channel for the rest of the firetrucking year, given a lineup of top artists from a range of genres beginning with rock guitar-god, Slash, at 10am and including acts as varied as the Jacksons (without MJ, 2015 concert, 11.30am), the Rolling Stones (Havana Moon Live, 3pm), Carole King (1pm), the Latino superstar J Balvin Bruuttal leading a host of Medellin concert (5pm) and Placido Domingo (6.30pm) before ending with the John Lennon 75th birthday concert at 10pm!

Today’s Number One Film:

Inception, 8.55am HBO BEST FILM OF THE DAY. Watch this if you liked Shutter Island, The Matrix or Pan’s Labyrinth. With Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing & Mixing Oscars and Best Director, Screenplay, Music, Special Effects & Best Sci-Fi Film Saturns, the most imaginative American film since Adaptation manages to mix visceral, pulse-racing action & tension with real cerebral satisfaction. Even if you don’t understand it – and, once you pay attention, you will, and will love it – the action and effects alone could blow your mind. Simply excellent. Perhaps the best American film made so far this century (even if by a Brit director).Amazingly, it has never been picked by BC on TV before, an oversight along the lines of assuming the office itself would somehow make Donald J-for-Jackass Trump become presidential. Directed by Christopher Nolan/ 2010/ UK-USA / Action-Sci-fi-Thriller/ 148 mins/ PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout.

Also watch:

**The Truman Show, 11am Fox Family. Watch this if you liked Pleasantville, Forrest Gump or Groundhog Day.One of the very few films starring Jim Carrey that played to his considerable dramatic talent instead of his tremendous double-jointedness, this was his best role until Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The less said about the plot, the better, since to give even the briefest of outlines would detract from the pleasure of viewers lucky enough never to have seen it before, but it is a real treat for all ages. (The “PG” in the 1998 rating might evaporate into a plain G today; most modern kiddie video games contain more troubling elements.) For everyone who loves film, but not for anyone who refuses to watch “them stupid old black-and-white pictures like Casablanca and Citizen Kane”.Directed by Peter Weir/ 1998/ USA/ Comedy-Drama/ 103 mins/ B&W/Rated PG for thematic elements and mild language.

The Matrix, 7.34pm Turner Classic Movies. Watch this if you liked Inception, Memento or Avatar. By far the best of the Matrix films – it would be unkind to say the superficial premise was too thin to spread farther than one coat – the first of the Wachowski Bros/Sisters effects-riddled movies has just enough sense in the plot to carry it, and the willing audience, to heights of enjoyment – even with Keanu Reeves in the lead; a real tour de force that, in this superficial age, genuinely could and does prompt deeper thought about life and meaning; just don’t over-scrutinize the material itself. Directed by the Wachowski Siblings/ 1999/ USA-Australia/ Action-Sci-fi-Adventure/ 136’/R for sci-fi violence and brief language.

Just Nosed Out:

Back to the Future (Action-Adventure-Family-Sci-fi-Thriller) I, 7.05am; II 9.05am HBOP; III, 11am HBOP; Landfill Harmonic (Doc-Music), 8.50am HBOS; *The Lobster (Fantasy-Sci-fi), 2.25pm Max; Miles Ahead (Biodrama-Music), 9pm Max; Inside Man (Mystery-Thriller), 12.30 midday FoxAct; Creed (Action-Drama-Sports), 6.15pm HBOS; Chi-Raq (Spike Lee Dark Comedy), 6.50pm Max.

Also Ran:

Action/Adventure: Jurassic Park, 9.55am MaxP.

Animated/Family: Kubo and the Two Strings, 11.59am HBOF.

Arthouse/Independent/Cult: Trading Places (Comedy), 6.35pm Stun.

Biography/Documentary: The Beatles: Eight Days a Week (Music), 7.10pm FoxMov; Suffragette, 12.35 midday Max.

Classic: Von Ryan’s Express (Drama-War), 12.45 midday FoxClas.

Comedy: Shrek Forever After (Animated), 12.45 midday FoxFam.

Drama: 45 Years, 4.30pm Max.

Horror: The Shallows (Creature), 5.30pm HBOC.

Sci-fi/Fantasy: Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix, 10.25am HBOC.

Thriller: Keanu (Action-Comedy), 7.15pm HBOP.

War: Jarhead, 8.45am FoxAct; Midway, 9am FoxClas; War Horse, 6.55am Max.

Western: The Tin Star, 9pm FoxClas.

*Starred films have been picked in the last year.**Double-starred films have been picked in the last two months.***Triple-starred films were picked last week.

Particularly strong Also Ran films are bolded.

Please verify times.Advance Internet scheduled times can be wrong, especially at month-end.