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Top films to watch on TV this week

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Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally (Friday, BBC1, 10.40p.m.)

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally (Friday, BBC1, 10.40p.m.)

Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason in Borg vs McEnroe (Saturday) BBC2, 10.30p.m.

Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason in Borg vs McEnroe (Saturday) BBC2, 10.30p.m.

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Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally (Friday, BBC1, 10.40p.m.)

WEDNESDAY

Honey Boy (2019) Film4, 11.20p.m.

Music video director Alma Har’el makes her narrative feature debut with a coming-of-age story based on actor and writer Shia LaBeouf’s turbulent childhood memories. Film star Otis (Lucas Hedges) crashes his car under the influence of alcohol and exchanges harsh words with police attending the scene.

He avoids a prison sentence by agreeing to stint in rehab under the care of Dr Moreno (Laura San Giacomo). She recognises the symptoms of PTSD and encourages Otis to seek answers in his past. He’s initially reluctant to open deep psychological wounds but recalls his years as a child star (played by Noah Jupe) and his fractious relationship with his father James (LaBeouf).

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The old man, a former rodeo clown, verbally and physically abuses his son when he isn’t chaperoning him to and from film sets. By confronting the demons of those early years, Otis edges towards long-overdue healing.

THURSDAY

The African Queen (1951) BBC4, 9p.m.

John Huston’s classic adventure, based on the book by CS Forester, is as wonderful as it was on its cinema release 70 years ago. Humphrey Bogart won the Best Actor Oscar for his role as irascible Charlie Allnut, captain of the river boat African Queen. He is working in Eastern Africa in 1914 when war breaks out and German troops attack a local mission, resulting in the death of Reverend Samuel Sayer (Robert Morley).

The holy man’s sister Rose (Katharine Hepburn) charters Charlie to take her away from the anguish, and the sparks of attraction between them are evident from their first day on the water.

En route, Rose persuades Charlie to help her attack a German warship using the African Queen – a daredevil manoeuvre that will take the enemy completely by surprise.

FRIDAY

When Harry Met Sally (1989) BBC1, 10.40p.m.

Director Rob Reiner, writer Nora Ephron and stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are all at the top of their game in this wonderful romantic comedy. Harry and Sally first meet as recent college graduates who share the drive from Chicago to New York – and fail to hit it off.

After a couple more chance encounters, they become friends in their thirties when they are both recently out of relationships, but will they take a chance on being more than just mates?

The “I’ll have what she’s having” scene became an instant classic, but this film has plenty more memorable, quotable moments, some of them supplied by Carrie Fisher, who is on fine form as Marie, Sally’s best friend.

SATURDAY

Borg vs McEnroe (2017) BBC2, 10.30p.m.

Reigning Wimbledon men’s champion Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) arrives in London with his gruff coach Lennart Bergelin (Stellan Skarsgard) and the burden of expectation on his shoulders.

In stark contrast, hot-headed challenger John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf) takes a laid-back approach to the championship. A patchwork of flashbacks draws parallels between the players’ formative years, building to a final showdown on Saturday July 5, 1980, on Centre Court.

Borg Vs McEnroe immortalises one of the greatest matches played on the hallowed turf of SW19. The film bottles emotions beneath a pristine exterior and some briskly edited tennis sequences, although Danish film-maker Janus Metz Pedersen’s assured dramatisation weights affection and sympathy heavily in favour of the champion.

SUNDAY

Monsters, Inc (2001) BBC1, 2.55p.m.

Pixar’s inventive animated adventure introduces us to monsters James P Sullivan, aka Sulley (voiced by John Goodman), and best friend Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), who are employed in the child-scaring business.

Working out of Monsters, Inc, the largest scream-processing factory in Monstropolis, the fun-loving double-act scare countless unsuspecting moppets by leaping out of wardrobes. Monstropolis is powered by human screams, so it is imperative that Sulley and his colleagues meet their daily targets.

Alas, 21st-century children are increasingly difficult to spook, so the city is in the grip of a fuel crisis. Humans are also forbidden in the monster world, so when Sulley accidentally brings a little girl named Boo into Monstropolis, all hell breaks loose.

MONDAY

Glass (2019) Film4, 9p.m.

Dr Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) is a psychiatrist who specialises in a specific delusion of grandeur: individuals who believe they are superheroes. Working out of Raven Hill Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia, she oversees the treatment of three intriguing individuals: zoo employee Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) aka The Beast, security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) aka The Overseer, who can unmask sins through touch, and Elijah Price (Samuel L Jackson) aka Mr Glass, whose brilliant mind is condemned to a painfully fragile body. Glass is a mind-bending thriller, which orchestrates a head-on collision of characters from writer-director M Night Shyamalan’s earlier features, Unbreakable and Split, and features some splashy set pieces, including two brutal, bone-crunching showdowns between McAvoy and Willis.

TUESDAY

Deadpool (2016) Film4, 9p.m.

Former Special Forces operative Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a low-rent assassin who discovers he has inoperable cancer. A recruiter (Jed Rees) from an experimental program known as WeaponX invites Wade to undergo a radical procedure, which aggressively attacks the cancerous cells.

Sadistic program director Ajax (Ed Skrein) and henchwoman Angel Dust (Gina Carano) torture Wade, transforming him into a hideously deformed mutant with the power of self-healing. Reborn as Deadpool, Wade sets out to wreak revenge on Ajax and his underlings.

Deadpool is a relentlessly lurid and unapologetically foul-mouthed treat, crammed to bursting with zinging one-liners. It all hinges on Reynolds’ ability to charm us and he barrels through every frame with a cocksure swagger that is impossible to resist.


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