Chadwick Boseman in Get On Up Photo: Universal Pictures
Get On Up, Film4, Tuesday, September 1, 11.15pm and on Netflix
This James Brown biopic has its weak points but Chadwick Boseman, who died all too soon at 43 last week, is definitely not one of them. He captures the volatile brilliance of the funk singer-songwriter right from his teenage years to his dotage (if such a term could ever be applied to Brown), without missing a beat. He'd already taken on an American icon when he played baseball star Jackie Robinson in 42 the previous year, an here it feels as though he's unfurling before us in all of Brown's erratic but compelling glory - this isn't impersonation, it's embodiment. Read our full review.
The Martian, Film4, Saturday, September 5, 9pm
Andy Weir's book is a poster child for the way that, just occasionally, a self-published novel can go the whole way to global fame and Drew Goddard's adaptation brings it faithfully to life. With Ridley Scott at the helm, it could be argued the space stuff would always be in good hands, as the story of an astronaut stranded on a mission to Mars unfolds - but he's helped enormously by Matt Damon's sympathetic central performance. What marks his Mark Watney out from a lot of other stranded souls in cinema is his sheer ingenuity and resourcefulness with which he goes about his task - not to mention a large amount of humour, such as the lament that "it's been seven days since I ran out of ketchup". Being lost in space has rarely been more exhilarating or fun. Read our full review.
Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution, My5.tv
With civil rights and Black Lives Matter making headlines around the globe, Stanley Nelson's documentary is an excellent primer on the complex history of the Black Panther movement which emerged in the Sixties. He leaves viewers to draw their own parallels - not exactly a tough manoeuvre in the current climate - as he charts the emergence of this group of activists who had become tired of the slow face of change against a backdrop of poverty and police brutality. Featuring a wealth of archive footage coupled with interviews from ex-members of the Black Panthers, it is important as a document of a movement but also makes a wider point about the way that political resistance can be repressed by an establishment bent on maintaining the status quo. Read our full review.
Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, Netflix
It's no wonder that the zany, borderline creepy chocolate factory owner Willy Wonka gets top billing in this film title, rather than Charlie whose name graces the cover of the Roald Dahl book - because this is Gene Wilder's film through and through. He grabs Wonka by the scruff of his bright purple lapels once we get to the factory, while Mel Stuart's film combines the bright colours of The Wizard Of Oz with Dahl's particular brand of gleeful darkness. The Oompah Loompas serve up a chorus of weirdness and horrible children meet deliciously sticky ends as Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) and his Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson, also on fine form) have the time of their lives. This is the golden ticket you want, not the messy Tim Burton adaptation. Fans of Wilder, might want to check outthis interview with him, at about minute nine, he talks about how he came up with the acrobatic cane piece of business that introduces his character in the film and establishes his ambuiguity. Read our full review.
Cat People, BBC iPlayer
This 1942 film about a woman (Simone Simon) who fears that so much as kissing her husband (Kent Smith) will awaken an ancient curse that will turn her into a man-eating cat, is worth watching for its beautifully constructed visuals alone. More noir than horror in nature - especially for a modern audience - cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca's use of shadows to evoke fear and ambiguity is masterfully done. A scene in a swimming pool, which relies on sound design and the eerie reflections of the water upon the world to generate atmosphere, is particularly worthy of note. Beyond the look, Jacques Torneur's exploration of the immigrant experience in America, though embedded within the film's genre trappings, is also subtly moving. You can also catch the sequel The Curse Of The Cat People on iPlayer. Read our full review.
Lincoln, Channel 4, Tuesday, September 1, 1am
Confined to the middle of the night on Channel 4 - where most of its good films get relegated - Steven Spielberg brings his usual class to this presidential biopic. Daniel Day-Lewis - who won an Oscar for his trouble - steps into the shoes of Abraham Lincoln during the sunset of his term, with the nation set against itself in Civil War. Against this backdrop, scriptwriter Tony Kushner captures the backroom battle to abolish slavery. There's an immersive quality to the action, which gives a history lesson almost by stealth, while Kushner's control of the vast array of characters is a lesson in the craft. Read what Bill Raymond, who plays Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax told us about the film and our full review.
Dracula, Horror Channel (Freeview Channel 70), Tuesday, September 1, 1.45am
Asked to conjure up a picture of Dracula in your mind, there's a good chance that he'll look a lot like Christopher Lee - who put his stamp on the character back in this 1958 Hammer film. Jimmy Sangster takes quite a few liberties with Bram Stoker's work but its dark, Gothic heart remains as Dr Van Helsing (Peter Cushing, who else?) locks horns with the Count. Lee doesn't have a lot of dialogue but delivers plenty of dread and Cushing's Van Helsing is also, arguably, the doctor's most memorable incarnation. Read our full review.
For our short film this year, we're staying in 1958, for this experimental number from Shirley Clarke - Bridges-Go-Round, which illustrates how just how much a score can influence the 'feel' of a film.