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Top films to watch on TV this week


Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game (Thursday, BBC4, 9p.m.)

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game (Thursday, BBC4, 9p.m.)

Robert Loggia and Tom Hanks in Big (Sunday, ITV2, 4.40p.m.)

Robert Loggia and Tom Hanks in Big (Sunday, ITV2, 4.40p.m.)


Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game (Thursday, BBC4, 9p.m.)


Drive (2011) GREAT! movies, 11.25p.m.

Driver (Ryan Gosling) performs death-defying stunts in big-budget films but when he’s not on a set, he works as a mechanic for his good friend Shannon (Bryan Cranston) – and also performs illegal jobs, which invariably involve high-speed getaways from crime scenes.

When one heist goes wrong, Driver is marked for death at the hands of hoodlums Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks, brilliantly cast against type) and Nino (Ron Perlman). There are romantic complications when Driver falls for pretty neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan), whose husband Standard Gabriel (Oscar Isaac) has just been released from prison.

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Director Nicolas Winding Refn hits the accelerator in the opening scenes and barely touches the brakes as the plot skids with sickening inevitability towards its bloody resolution.


The Imitation Game (2014) BBC4, 9p.m.

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) sits in a police interrogation room with Detective Nock (Rory Kinnear), facing a charge of indecency with a 19-year-old unemployed man. In flashback, Alan arrives at Bletchley Park where a group of the country’s keenest try to break the Enigma code.

Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), John Cairncross (Allen Leech) and Peter Hilton (Matthew Beard) work alongside Turing, but he ploughs his own furrow and raises eyebrows by recruiting Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) to the team.

The Imitation Game is a handsomely crafted tribute to a prodigy, whose invaluable contribution to the war effort was besmirched by bigotry. Oscar-nominee Cumberbatch is mesmerising, trampling over the egos of fellow code breakers without any concern for their feelings.


Vice (2018) BBC2, 11.05p.m.

In 1963 Wyoming, a young Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) works on the power lines and drinks to excess. He is a crushing disappointment to 21-year-old sweetheart Lynne (Amy Adams), whose father also lives by the bottle.

In response, Dick secures an internment at the White House, where he assiduously aligns himself with Republican Congressman Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell). By playing the waiting game on Capitol Hill, Dick manoeuvres himself into the position of running mate to George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) during the 2000 US presidential election.

Written and directed by Adam McKay, Vice is a briskly paced and engrossing portrait of ambition, which nervously prowls the corridors of power in Washington DC to satirise a true story of malicious meddling and unabashed self-interest.


Fantastic Mr Fox (2009) Channel 4, 11.35a.m.

Hip indie director Wes Anderson (the man behind The Grand Budapest Hotel) brings his offbeat and distinctly adult sensibilities to bear on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s story, with lead voices from George Clooney and Meryl Streep.

The charming titular character (voiced by Clooney) tries to turn over a new leaf and be a responsible parent – but fails to control his impulses and returns to his farm-raiding ways, only to put his entire community in danger when his latest victims retaliate.

The visually impressive stop-motion animation brings the characters to vivid life, and makes a refreshing change from the usual CGI fare.


Big (1988) ITV2, 4.40p.m.

Twelve-year-old Josh (David Moscow) is humiliated when he’s turned away from a fairground ride for being too short and makes a wish to be big – which is granted when he wakes up the next morning in the body of a 30-year-old man (Tom Hanks).

With the help of his best mate Billy (Jared Rushton), the newly grown-up Josh moves to New York and gets a job at a toy company, where his enthusiasm impresses his boss (Robert Loggia) and cynical executive Susan (Elizabeth Perkins). But is Josh really ready for all the complexities of adult life?

Hanks, who picked up his first Oscar nomination for his performance, is absolutely pitch perfect in this funny, bittersweet fantasy.


Mad Max (1979) ITV4, 9p.m.

Mel Gibson first hit the big time in this superb futuristic action adventure from director George Miller. He plays an Australian cop who hands in his badge after growing tired of trying to impose order in a lawless society. The death of his wife and child soon see the heroic lawman drag himself out of retirement in a bid to exact a bloody revenge on those responsible.

Gibson is at his mean and moody best as the cop hell-bent on vengeance, and the chase sequences and terrific stunts are as impressive as they were when the film was released 44 years ago.

Miller proved he hadn’t lost his touch when he helmed the excellent Mad Max: Fury Road in 2015.


Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (2017) BBC2, 11.15p.m.

In the summer of 1979, jobbing actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) and Hollywood star Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) are neighbours in a London guesthouse. It is more than two decades since Gloria’s halcyon years, which included an Oscar win for The Bad and the Beautiful, but Peter is smitten.

However, when Gloria receives a devastating diagnosis, she ends the affair. Two years later, she returns to the UK for a stage role and collapses in her dressing room. In her hour of need, Gloria calls for Peter and he dutifully takes charge of her recuperation in the home he shares with his father Joe (Kenneth Cranham), mother Bella (Julie Walters) and brother Joe Jnr (Stephen Graham).

Based on a true story, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is a handsomely mounted drama, which charts a star-crossed romance across class and cultural divides.