We’ve torn through the Radio Times bumper edition and selected some of the movies to watch, in between festive merriment!
A round-up of the top five movies to watch on UK TV this Christmas and New Year, with star ratings, reviews and details of where and when they will be screened.
Death on the Nile (1978) Christmas Eve, 1:45pm, BBC2.
Spoiled heiress Lois Chiles upsets a lot of people and she enjoys it. But the smile is soon wiped from her pretty face when most of them join her on a honeymoon cruise down the titular river.
This being an Agatha Christie based thriller, she ends up dead – but whodunnit from the roll call of cinema legends in need of a paycheck?
The fun here is not so much guessing that, but scoring the ham of their performance.
See the full review for who gets my votes.
Moana (2016) Christmas Day, 12:55pm, BBC1.
Formerly known as ‘The Rock’, actor Dwayne Johnson is not just a hulking muscle man – he has hidden talents and surprising depth.
In this beautiful Disney animation he proves to have a very good singing voice, lending a sonorous realism to his title character, a show-off, vain and comically macho Polynesian god.
For more, read the full review.
The Queen (2006), New Year’s Eve, 12:45pm, ITV
Such a shame that, just for laughs, this movie isn’t being screened on TV just before or just after the real Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas speech.
Helen Mirren curtseyed her way to a Best Actress Oscar for her genial portrayal of ‘Her Maj’, effortlessly making the monarch sympathetic and less remote, helped by Peter Morgan’s incisive yet slightly intrusive script,
The Big Country (1958), New Year’s Eve, 1:30pm, BBC2
The BBC are treating us to a rare screening of William Wyler’s epic, highly sexual western classic.
Gregory Peck is impeccably upright and principled as the gentleman from the east who comes to the ‘big country’ of Texas to marry spirited Carroll Baker…and finds himself up against glowering, jealous Charlton Heston.
Turns out he’s better suited to pretty but tough teacher Jean Simmons, who is herself lusted after by repulsive, rapacious Chuck Connors whose greasy father Burl Ives wants to get his hands on ‘big muddy’, a watering hole on her land.
Big people, big themes, big movie and one to spend a big afternoon watch.
The Towering Inferno (1974). New Year’s Day, 4pm, ITV4
One of the finest of the glut of disaster dramas that peppered movie screens in the 1970’s (it was Oscar nominated for Best Picture) sees the world’s tallest skyscraper catch fire during its dedication ceremony, trapping hundreds of guests in the penthouse dining room.
Steve McQueen – as the fire chief – and Paul Newman – as the building’s understandably embarrassed architect – join forces to rescue them.
The special effects of conflagration and destruction are still impressive nearly half a century after its release.
For more, see the full review.