A list of the top 5 films being screened on UK TV channels during the 2015 Christmas and New Year period, in order of when they are being screened.
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Murder On the Orient Express (1974)
Showing on ITV3 Saturday 19 December 2:10pm and Tuesday 22 December, 3:30.
A sublime and supremely classy train of entertainment.
Yes, the acting becomes increasingly theatrical as the cast attempt to out ham each other, but the production is immaculate, the outrageously pretty music leaps about like an impish, gazelle and the conclusion is a corker.
For those who haven’t seen this delightful cake of a movie, check it.
See full review.
A Man For All Seasons (1966)
Showing on BBC2 Sunday 27 December 8:15am
You won’t have to scratch your head to follow the events of Sir Thomas More’s downfall as the dialogue beautifully and lucidly explains all in this velvet-smooth adaptation, but Robert Bolt, of the Robert Bolt play.
It’s strong on performances too, with Paul Schofield easily scooping the Best Actor Oscar for his wise and witty, but stubborn and obstinate portrayal of Thomas More, closely matched by a stellar star cast, such as Wendy Hiller and a young Susannah York as, respectively, his wife and daughter.
Showing on Sky Comedy Sunday 27 December 8:00pm
Here’s a lovely, big, undemanding and frothy blancmange of a movie.
The unabashed, crazy vibrancy of the colour spectrum almost overwhelms the eyes: electric, candy-floss pinks, pulsing purples and muted ‘eighties’ browns and oranges.
Ralph Fiennes is a delightfully lubricious lead as the sexually dodgy concierge, thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to panto it up and Toni Revolori as his trainee is a remarkably confident foil. The rest of the cast are a starry roll call of cameos, either full on support turns.
Showing on Sky Select Monday 28 December 4:50pm.
Eddie Redmayne scooped an easy (well, considering the Academy’s predilection for awarding the top acting prize in the movie world for physical performances about people with afflictions) for his admittedly awesome turn as Professor Stephen Hawking.
It’s a knockout performance and he gets blissful and assured support from Felicity Jones as Hawking’s first wife, an initially perky and pretty girly who grows into a woman of fortitude, practicality and forbearance. In her hands, Jane Hawking is not a suffering wife, but a strong one whose own affliction is the human frailty of being worn out by devotion.
Showing on BBC 4 Wednesday 30 December 10:00pm
If I was pushed to pick a favourite film on TV this festive season, I would plump for this throbbingly beautiful, romantic thriller from Alfred Hitchcock.
Vertigo is a swirling, head fuck maelestrom of duplicity, greed, sexual obsession, control, manipulation, mental instability and ultimately murder.
Star James Stewart rises to the challenge of portraying this dangerously nuanced man in love. His hot tempered, impetuous and pushy turn is complemented by the cool, studied recalcitrance of Novak as the icy, blank object of his obsessions.
Technically adroit (ignore the campy ‘nightmare’ sequences though) but a tad overlong, if you haven’t seen a Hitchcock film at all then make this your first. If you think Psycho is the best film he ever made, see this and think again.