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.
ITV, Saturday 17th, 22:50
Steven Spielberg pretty much invented the summer event movie with this sea-bound thriller. The event in question is of course a man-eating Great White shark terrorising the residents of a summer vacation resort, leading local sheriff Roy Scheider to team up with marine biologist Richard Dreyfuss and wily sea dog Robert Shaw to take on the beast. The shark itself may look a bit cheap these days, but with jump scares aplenty, an action-packed final showdown and John Williams’ masterful score, the film still has the ability to jangle your nerves, which is an amazing achievement after 45 years.
Casino Royale (2006)
ITV, Sunday 18th, 20:00
After a four year absence following the dismal Die Another Day, cinema’s most famous spy returned with Daniel Craig’s first outing as 007 putting a more contemporary spin on the character. His portrayal of the iconic spy is far more realistic than his predecessors, and while the cars and gadgets are still present, the story takes place in a far more plausible world, and it feels like Bond is a fallible character for the first time. With a tense storyline based on Ian Fleming’s very first novel, an enigmatic villain portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, and one of the most emotional endings of any Bond film, Casino Royale was a worthy reboot of the legendary series.
You’re Next (2011)
Horror, Monday 19th, 21:00
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 Martian (2015)
Film4, Thursday 22nd, 21:00
In the year 2035, a manned mission on the surface of Mars is hit by an unexpected storm and must evacuate the planet early, but in the ensuing chaos the team’s botanist Mark Watney is left behind, assumed dead. Marooned with no immediate chance of rescue, he must use his wits and creativity to sustain himself and contact NASA so they can attempt to get him home. The story is wildly implausible but Matt Damon’s performance as Watney is brilliant and regardless of what you think of him in general, you’ll be rooting him to survive in the hostile environment created for him by director Ridley Scott in this gripping drama.
Escape from New York (1981)
Film4, Thursday 22nd, 23:50
John Carpenter’s second of five collaborations with Kurt Russell resulted in the creation of one of action cinema’s coolest characters, Snake Plissken. The eye-patch wearing anti-hero is about to be imprisoned in the City of New York, which has been sealed off in a dystopian future and used to house the worst of the world’s criminals. Fate intervenes however when the President’s plane crashes in the city and Snake is sent in to rescue him. Gritty and violent action sequences follow, along with interactions with the city’s diverse and dangerous residents, not least Isaac Hayes as the extravagant Duke of New York. With Carpenter’s trademark visual style and electronic score, thrilling set-pieces and solid acting from much of the cast, this is one of the finest examples of the genre.