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Top films to watch on TV this week


James Caan and Kathy Bates in Misery (Tuesday, Film4, 11.25p.m.)

James Caan and Kathy Bates in Misery (Tuesday, Film4, 11.25p.m.)

Peter Weller in RoboCop (Friday, ITV4, 9p.m.)

Peter Weller in RoboCop (Friday, ITV4, 9p.m.)


James Caan and Kathy Bates in Misery (Tuesday, Film4, 11.25p.m.)


The Conjuring 2 (2016) BBC3, 10p.m.

In 1976, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) go into self-imposed exile following a visit to the Amityville house. The church compels the Warrens to return to active service to investigate claims from a terrified single mother, Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor), that her house in Enfield is in the grip of a dark force.

Ed and Lorraine travel to rain-swept England to interview Peggy and her four children – and find that the youngest daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe) exhibits signs of demonic possession.

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The Conjuring 2 is a stylish sequel to the 2013 supernatural horror, which juxtaposes archive photographs and the Warrens’ taped interviews over the end credits to convince us that the spooky on-screen shenanigans are anchored in unsettling reality.


The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) Channel 5, 11p.m.

When a doctor commits suicide following allegations of sexual harassment, his devastated widow Peyton (Rebecca De Mornay), who believes she lost her unborn baby due to the stress, lays the blame firmly at the door of his accuser Claire Bartel (Annabella Sciorra).

Determined to get her revenge, Peyton applies to become Claire’s nanny and soon sets about insinuating herself into the family, making the real mother feel increasingly pushed out. But just how far will the childminder go to ruin her boss’s life?

It may not be especially original, but this thriller is certainly gripping. Director Curtis Hanson keeps things tense, but much of the credit should go to De Mornay, who is positively chilling as Peyton, but not so obviously demented that you’re left wondering why anyone would employ her.


RoboCop (1987) ITV4, 9p.m.

In the future, the city of Detroit is on the brink of collapse due to crime and financial problems. The corporation Omni Consumer Products steps in to take over the police department, with a plan to unleash their robot officers on the population.

Their first prototype isn’t up to the job, but they get a second chance when human officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is killed in the line of duty and then rebuilt as a cyborg. However, some of his old memories remain, prompting him to try to track down the criminals who killed him – and in the process, he begins to turn against his masters.

Director Paul Verhoeven’s satirical, darkly funny and very violent sci-fi thriller deserves its cult status – no wonder the 2014 remake couldn’t compete.


The Bling Ring (2013) BBC1, 11.35p.m.

Inspired by a true story, Sofia Coppola’s drama follows a group of bored, fame-hungry Los Angeles teenagers who find a way to taste the celebrity lifestyle by robbing stars’ houses. However, when the cops finally catch up with them, it seems the burglars are about to enjoy some media notoriety of their own. The premise sounds like a great starting point for a satire about our celebrity culture, so some viewers may be frustrated that Coppola largely neglects that angle in favour of a more detached, non-judgmental view. However, her approach does have its compensations – the film looks gorgeous, and Emma Watson is a revelation as a character about as far removed from Harry Potter’s Hermione as it’s possible to get.


Emma (2020) BBC1, 8.00p.m.

Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) reassures her worrywart widower father (Bill Nighy) that she has no intention of contriving her own love match. However, Emma cannot resist interfering in matters of the heart and she defies the warnings of neighbour Mr Knightley (Johnny Flynn) to mould the romantic prospects of naive new acquaintance Harriet Smith (Mia Goth). Emma is a spirited yet staunchly faithful treatment of Jane Austen’s 1815 novel. Taylor-Joy is a snug fit for the aloof, shallow and adroit heroine and catalyses gently simmering on-screen chemistry with Flynn. The most enjoyable screen adaptation of Austen’s work remains Amy Heckerling’s delicious 1995 teen comedy Clueless, but director Autumn de Wilde politely reminds us of the book’s bountiful charms.


Get Carter (1971) ITV4, 9.00p.m.

Jack Carter (Michael Caine) isn’t a happy man. He’s not the sort you should cross either. When his brother is killed in their hometown of Newcastle, Jack journeys north to take revenge. Vindictive, ruthless and determined to get his man, he investigates the area’s underworld, uncovering a complex case of lies, backhanders and double-dealings involving a series of unsavoury characters. Despite being a flop on its initial release, Get Carter is a gritty, low-budget masterpiece which continues to win new fans. It’s a must-see for newcomers, but even if you’ve seen it a thousand times, it’s still worth a look. At any rate, you’ll be quoting its best-known lines for weeks afterwards.


Misery (1990) Film4, 11.25p.m.

When author James Caan is involved in a near-fatal car accident he is pulled from the wreckage by nice Kathy Bates who, it turns out, is his number one fan. But when she discovers that Caan is planning to kill off his most famous creation, Misery Chastain, in his latest novel, Bates reveals herself to a scenery-chewing psychopath with a fondness for sledgehammers. Stephen King’s shocking thriller is ably directed by Rob Reiner with first-class performances from both stars – particularly the Oscar-winning Bates, whose mood-swinging character is quite terrifying. It also helped the late, great Caan (who was 12th in line for the role), who was in the midst of a comeback, prove he could do more than play tough guys.