North By Northwest
Welcome to this week's selection of films to catch on TV and demand. You can read last week's selection here and, if you're looking for extra inspiration, our spotlight on San Sebastian Shell winners.
All The Money In The World, Film4 on Demand, until Wednesday, September 23
You might say 16-year-old John Paul Getty III was a victim of circumstance - kidnapped in Rome and with a grandfather who, despite being the richest man in the world, refused to pay the ransom. Ridley Scott's film also found itself in trouble not of its own making when Kevin Spacey - who was playing the billionnaire - became embroiled in sexual assault allegations just as the film was nearly finished. Scott made the decisive move of recasting and reshooting the relevant scenes with Christopher Plummer - a $10 million gamble that paid off as Plummer brings a charm to the miserly patriarch that stops him becoming a cartoon villain and netted himself BAFTA, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations in the process. The rest of the film, as you would expect from Scott, delights in the details, but it's Plummer who remains the biggest draw, his portrayal as rich as his character. Read our full review.
Mandy, Talking Pictures TV (Freeview Channel 81), Friday, September 25
Not to be confused with the blood-drenched Nic Cage-starrer from Panos Cosmatos, this Alexander Mackendrick drama is an all together more gentle affair. It may not be as well known (or perhaps quite as timeless) as his earlier films Whisky Galore! and The Man In The White Suit but this drama about a teacher trying to help a deaf youngster to communicate is worth catching for Jack Hawkins' central performance, alongside young star Mandy Miller. A gentle and ultimately moving drama - that also works now as a snapshot of the post-war era - and which shows there are none so deaf as those who will not hear. Read our full review.
The Midwife, BBC2, Saturday, September 26, 12.45am
Although the plot of French director Martin Provost's film is a little underpowered, it's worth catching for the twin performances of Catherine Frot and Catherine Deneuve as a seriously minded midwife and the old flame of her father's, who blasts into her life. Deneuve is a delight as the impetuous Beatrice, while Frot, in the harder to calibrate role, manages to convey her character Claire's low key approach to life without making her a damp squib. Read our full review.
North By Northwest, BBC2, Sunday, September 27, 4.50pm
If you caught Vertigo as part of last week's Streaming Spotlight, you can continue a chronological watch of Alfred Hitchcock's back catalogue with this pacy thriller starring Cary Grant as an innocent man on the run. Much less sympathetic than your average fugitive, Grant nevertheless ends up making him likeable through the course of the film that grips from its first moments to the last and takes in plenty of American landmarks on the way - from Grand Central Station to Mount Rushmore. Energetic and packed with memorable moments, like that crop duster plane chase, this is among Hitch's finest. Read our full review.
Snowpiercer, Film4, Sunday, September 27, 9pm and on Netflix
Bong Joon-ho's future dystopia set on a train took an awful long time to arrive for UK audiences - despite a clamour for a cinema release from existing fans, it finally made it to rental services in 2018, five years after its original release elsewhere. It was worth the wait, as this grimy tale shows how the last survivors on Earth are separated by carriages according to a class system, that lets the elite travel up front in luxury, while the poor are crammed into the rear. As a resistance forms a man (Chris Evans) begins to fight his way to the front of the train, revealing unpleasant truths as he goes. This is an action film at heart, bolstered by an excellent cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Octvia Spencer, Jamie Bell and the much-missed John Hurt. Read our interview with the director and Hurt, plus our full review.
Wild, Film4, Thursday, September 24, 1am
The true story of Cheryl Strayed's decision to hike the 1,100 mile Pacific Crest Trail i retold in Jean-Marc Vallée's film, which hinges on the intense central performance from Reese Witherspoon. She carries you with Strayed, as she moves from highly inexperienced hiker to a woman determined to overcome both the challenge in front of her and the aspects of her life that led her to make the walk in the first place. Vallée incorporates the flashback elements of the film so that you feel their emotional heat and there is strong support from Laura Dern as Strayed's mother. Read our full review.
John Wick, Friday, September 25, 10pm
Keanu Reeves is back on cinema screens this week in the latest Bill and Ted outing but this thriller from Chad Stahelski and David Leitch is a reminder he can also turn his hand to serious roles. Wick is a retired assassin, who finds himself out for vengeance after the death of... his dog. Yes, it might not seem like the most believable set-up but it proves the perfect springboard for a slick action film that is particularly well-served by co-director Stahelski, whose stunt background comes to the fore when shooting the well-choreographed fight sequences. Read our full review.
Our short this week is an animation based on the old riddle of carrying a fox, rabbit and cabbage across the river. The characters in Take Rabbit may be rowing over water, but writer/director Peter Peake's comedy is bone dry. It also boasts an all-star cast, including Stephen Graham and Steve Pemberton. You can watch it on My5.tv here.