Every week Mat Corne scours the TV Guide for the best movies showing on UK free-to-air TV. So for those of you that refuse to pay for Sky Movies, Amazon Prime or Netflix, here are five of the best freeview movies for the coming week. If you’re looking for more free movie options then you can also check out our guide to Freeview Movies On Demand.
Star Trek (2009)
Channel 4, Saturday 20th, 18:35
The venerable franchise was reborn with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto leading an exciting young cast as Kirk and Spock, in a story that takes place in an alternate timeline to the original incarnation. Early parts of the film cover their respective journeys to the USS Enterprise, where they must ultimately pit themselves against a renegade Romulan, menacingly played by Eric Bana. Just as he later did with Star Wars, J.J. Abrams masterfully blends a respect for the original saga with all the thrills, action and spectacular visual effects of a modern Hollywood blockbuster. The result is a film that appeals to a broader audience than the source material and yet still has something for long-time fans. If you’ve sworn never to watch Star Trek due to its inherent geekiness, this may be the film that changes your opinion!
You’re Next (2011)
Horror, Sunday 21st, 00:55 (Saturday night)
This home invasion thriller starts like any other – a family and their significant others get together at a secluded house, and just as they’re sitting down to dinner they are attacked by masked assailants with powerful weapons and a variety of fiendish traps. What they didn’t count on is that one of the intended victims is rather more resourceful than the invaders bargained for, and she is not going to make it easy for them! There are further twists that are a little predictable, but seeing the bad guys get their comeuppance in a variety of ingenious ways more than makes up for any shortcomings. Packed with decent acting, black humour and death scenes that will make you scream with glee, this is one of the most enjoyable horror films in years and is sure to become a cult classic.
The African Queen (1951)
Sony Movies Classic, Saturday 20th & Friday 26th, 18:50
John Huston’s classic film takes place at the dawn of the First World War as the sister of a British missionary in an African village is stranded when her brother dies following a German invasion. Joining up with the roguish captain of a creaking old steam boat, the two embark on a perilous journey down a seemingly impenetrable river to try and sabotage an enemy battleship. It may be 70 years old this year but The African Queen has lost none of its appeal, with humour and action in equal measure. There are fantastic performances from Humphrey Bogart and especially Katharine Hepburn, whose role as a feisty and resourceful female character would have been particularly notable back then. A few overlong scenes affect the pacing, but the finale is wonderful and caps off one of the greatest odd couple action adventure films of all time.
Jurassic Park (1993)
ITV, Sunday 21st, 14:10
One of many Steven Spielberg-helmed blockbusters, this one is based on Michael Crichton’s story about a theme park populated with genetically-recreated dinosaurs that run amok after an unexpected power cut. The story is enjoyable enough with a number of dramatic scenes, and actors such as Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum do an admirable job, but the real stars of the movie are the park’s residents. From the initial childlike wonder of seeing Brontosauruses and Triceratops, to the terror of the T-Rex attack, to the suspense of the Velociraptor hunt, the special effects are incredibly convincing. More than 25 years on they still compare favourably with modern CGI effects, which is the best praise you can give to the ground-breaking work done by Phil Tippett and ILM.
Shallow Grave (1994)
Film4, Tuesday 23rd, 21:00
Three professional twentysomethings are seeking a fourth flatmate for their Edinburgh apartment and after interviewing and dismissing many applicants, settle on a mysterious older man called Hugo. Just days after moving in they find him dead in his room with a suitcase containing a huge amount of cash and decide to dispose of the body and keep the money. With the police and two far more dangerous men on Hugo’s trail, paranoia and tension fractures the relationship between the three flatmates with increasingly more serious consequences. Danny Boyle’s debut film is tense, witty and dark as they come, with Ewan McGregor and Christopher Ecclestone both showing early examples of the talent that would lead them to bigger things.