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Top films to watch on TV this week

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Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Thursday, ITV4, 11.05p.m.)

Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Thursday, ITV4, 11.05p.m.)

Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter) in Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Sunday, BBC1, 2.05p.m.)

Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter) in Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Sunday, BBC1, 2.05p.m.)

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Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Thursday, ITV4, 11.05p.m.)

WEDNESDAY

Reach for the Sky (1956) Film4, 3.30pm)

Based on the true story of Douglas Bader, the film follows the renowned Second World War hero as he battles to achieve his dream of learning to fly, despite losing both legs in a plane crash in 1931. Fitted with artificial limbs, Bader joins the RAF and excels, soon rising to the rank of squadron leader. However, further tragedy lies ahead with the outbreak of war.

Considered to be one of the most inspirational war movies of all time, it’s hard not to be moved by Bader’s determination to achieve his goals regardless of his disability. Kenneth More does a superb job in the lead role and is ably supported by a talented cast.

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THURSDAY

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) ITV4, 11.05p.m.

Having destroyed a cyborg assassin sent to kill her, and had a child with the late soldier sent to protect her, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is now locked up in a psychiatric institute. Thankfully, she is broken out by her young son John (Edward Furlong) and a reprogrammed Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). The bad news is a liquid metal killer (Robert Patrick) is out to murder them all.

Considering state-of-the-art effects have a shorter shelf-life than milk, James Cameron’s ground-breaking movie still looks amazing after 30 years. Furlong grates as John, but the stunts, editing and score are top-notch, Hamilton deserves full marks for such a committed performance and Schwarzenegger is as effective a good guy as he was an implacable villain.

FRIDAY

Scarface (1983) ITV4, 10.50p.m.

In 1932, Paul Muni starred in influential gangster movie Scarface, which left its mark on many great film-makers, including director Brian De Palma, who took charge of this remake – he was so impressed by Oliver Stone’s script he backed out of a prior agreement to helm Flashdance to make it.

Displaying levels of violence that left some queasy, it was one of the most controversial movies of 1983. However, it also features one of Al Pacino’s finest and most iconic performances. He plays Tony Montana, the Cuban villain who becomes a lieutenant for a South Florida drug lord, before aiming for the top – and the only place to go from there is down… Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robert Loggia and Steven Bauer are among the supporting cast.

SATURDAY

Host (2020) BBC3, 9.30p.m.

Haley (Haley Bishop) organises a Zoom video call with five friends, Caroline (Caroline Ward), Emma (Emma Louise Webb), Jemma (Jemma Moore), Radina (Radina Drandova) and Teddy (Edward Linard). Once pleasantries have been exhausted, Haley invites her pal Seylan (Seylan Baxter) into the chat room to conduct an online seance. Caroline is nervous but Seylan attempts to allay the group’s fears even though, in her own words, they will be “slightly less protected” by summoning spirits remotely.

Shot during the first national Covid lockdown, Host is an unsettling exercise in sustained tension that makes the most of the physical restrictions of filmmaking during an outbreak. The cast operate their own cameras and a frenetic finale engineers a couple of truly gob-smacking moments.

SUNDAY

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) BBC1, 2.05p.m.

The plucky everyman (voiced by the late Peter Sallis) and his long-suffering pet pooch pay tribute to classic Universal horror movies in their own inimitable style in this rollicking big-screen debut that sends Wallace and Gromit into battle against a giant marauding bunny and Ralph Fiennes’s wigged villain.

The Curse of The Were-Rabbit is a joyous conflation of comedy, action and pop culture references, from the Smug fridge in Wallace’s kitchen to the King Kong-inspired finale. In-jokes abound and vocal performances are the icing on the cheesecake, including Helena Bonham Carter in full plummy flow as green-fingered Lady Tottington, who is desperate to show Wallace her melons.

MONDAY

Wilde (1997) BBC4, 11 p.m.

This biopic focuses on the life of acclaimed wit Oscar Wilde (Stephen Fry), who carried out clandestine affairs with men at a time when homosexuality was illegal. Disaster strikes when he falls for the spoilt, handsome Lord Alfred Douglas (Jude Law), who doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word discreet. However, Wilde contributes to his own downfall when Douglas’s father begins making public accusations – and the writer decides to take him to court.

For a film about a celebrated wit and dandy, the drama is rather lacking in flair, but it does a good job of telling Wilde’s fascinating story. It also benefits from having a perfectly cast – and never better – Fry in the lead role, while Law makes it easy to see why Wilde might have fallen for the petulant Douglas.

TUESDAY

The Rider (2017) Film4, 11.30 p.m.

Chinese-born writer-director Emily Zhao casts a bona fide rodeo rider and his loved ones in a detailed family portrait set in present-day South Dakota. Brady Blackburn (Brady Jandreau) is slowly recovering from a fall in the rodeo ring, which resulted in his horse collapsing on top of him. He sustained head injuries, which are healing, but the incident has dented Brady’s confidence and he is nervous about getting back in the saddle despite encouragement from his buddies.

He regularly visits best friend Lane (Lane Scott), who has been hospitalised after his own accident. Brady does everything he can to support Lane during his recovery and at night, he returns home to lick his wounds in the company of heavy-drinking father Wayne (Tim Jandreau) and sister Lilly (Lilly Jandreau).


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