12 Angry Men
Welcome to this week's telly and streaming highlights for the next seven days. If you're looking for more inspiration, why not got down to the woods with our latest Streaming Spotlight?
12 Angry Men, 2.50pm, Film4, Monday September 27
This classic court drama is largely set, not in the courtroom itself, but in the claustrophobic stew of the jury room, where the men of the title are debating whether to give a man on trial the death penalty "on the hottest day of the year". Originally made as a live television drama, it was beefed up three years later by screenwriter Reginald Rose and shot with intensity by Sidney Lumet as we watch the characters sweat and shuffle their allegiances as their prejudices also begin to leak out. The cast is a who's who of the Hollywood greats at the time, including Henry Fonda, whose Juror No 8 is unwilling to jump to a decision, to Lee J Cobb and a very young Jack Klugman in one of his early film roles. This gripping film doesn't just interrogate the jury's motives but our assumptions too. Read our full review.
I Am Not Your Negro, 11.35pm, BBC2, Sunday, October 3
Anne-Katrin Titze writes: James Baldwin writes to his literary agent in June of 1979 that he wants to tell the story of America through the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Samuel L Jackson's voice is our guide in this Oscar-nominated film: "History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history. If we pretend otherwise we literally are criminals." The writer's clarity cuts through the confused, entangled narrative of race in America. Raoul Peck's choice of images, film clips, interviews adds to the important messages. Baldwin wrote: "The summer has scarcely begun and I feel already that it's almost over. I am about to undertake the journey and this is a journey to tell you the truth which I always knew that I would have to make. I am saying that a journey is called that because you cannot know what you will discover on the journey. What you will do with what you find or what you find will do to you." At a Cambridge University debate in 1965, James Baldwin gives his personal account of the impact films had on him as a young man. "It comes as a great shock around the age of five or six or seven to discover that Gary Cooper killing off the Indians - when you were rooting for Gary Cooper- that the Indians were you. It comes as a great shock to discover the country which is your birthplace and to which you owe your life and your identity has not in its whole system of reality evolved any place for you." Gay Talese shared his personal memories of James Baldwin with us, talking about his "beautifully moving" style and offering his insight on the "major man of letters". Read our full review.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 9pm, BBC4, Thursday, 30 September
This is a superior adaptation of John Le Carre's novel about a spy trying to root out a civil service mole filled with the sort of tension that creeps up on you in stockinged feet until it's suddenly almost unbearable. Tomas Alfredson may have followed it up with the critically panned The Snowman but here he crafts a coolly intellectual tale of ethical cut and thrust as the inscrutable George Smiley (Gary Oldman imbuing his character with a jaded melancholy) goes about his business while betrayal hangs in the air like cigar smoke. Read our full review.
Monos, Film4, 11.25pm, Thursday 30 Sept
This riff on Lord Of The Flies boasts some breathtaking, not to mention highly dangerous looking cinematography by.Jasper Wolf and a score to die for from Mica Levi. The story of eight child soldiers leading a feral existence with their captive in a remote part of Latin America sees Alejandro Landes generate a nightmarish mood from the start, which feeds off the unpredictability of the youngsters as the group begins to fragment. Landes' film not only has a cow with the wonderfully surreal name of Shakira but also a deliberately chaotic, gripping energy that proves addictive. Read our full review.
Rocketman, Channel4, 9pm, Saturday, October 2
Given that Elton John's stage persona was so flamboyant and endlessly creative it's fitting that Dexter Fletcher's biopic (written by Lee Hall) takes its cue from the man itself, fabulously flinging itself into the story of the star's life, complete with his addiction - explored in a framing story set in rehab. The 'musical' form allows freedom to break away from naturalism, running more on emotions, so that, for example, we see John floating with joy at a key moment. The song arrangements are used inventively, often carved into duets or manipulated in other ways in order to help the story move along at pace. Like a piano counterpoint, we're able to see John's public persona contrasted with his offstage feelings and if Taron Egerton is not a carbon copy of John in terms of looks, he captures the essence of the star - "We wanted to tell a human story," said Egerton in Cannes, "That's why you see the peaks and the troughs". The end result glitters, not just with rhinestones, but with emotion. Read our full review.
Inside Job, Netflix from Friday
Although this film from Charles Ferguson is specifically a response to the global financial meltdown of 2008, it arguably still has plenty of relevance in the way it shows how the scaling back of regulation and oversight can create a breeding ground for corruption. The documentary sets the crash in full historical context with narration from Matt Damon taking us back to the Wall Street Crash of 1929 to show how attitudes formed then continue to have an impact. In addition to outlining the problems within the banking institutions themselves, the film also highlights the frequent conflict of interest between economists and the banks they are supposed to be scrutinising. A thoroughly researched and accessible eye-opener. Read our full review.
Thelma, 1.05am, Sunday, October 3
With its broody themes of adolescence and religion recalling Seventies classics like The Omen and Carrie, Joachim Trier's slowburn psychological chiller is a worthy descendant. Eili Harboe is magnetic in the lead role as a young woman from a strict religious background who finds herself struggling to control both her faith and her feelings for her new friend Anja (Kaya Wilkins) after going to university. Trier and his writing partner Eskil Vogt let ambiguity flow through the veins of the film as Thelma discovers she has telekinetic abilities and darker undercurrents come to the fore. Read our full review. Read our full review.
We're taking a trip back in time for this week's short selection, all the way back to 1897 when George Albert Smith's The X-Rays got under the skin of a courting couple.