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.
Wind River (2017)
Film4, Saturday 15th, 21:00
Two of the Marvel Universe’s fringe actors take centre-stage in this thriller, as Jeremy Renner’s expert tracker teams up with Elizabeth Olsen’s FBI Agent to investigate the death of a young girl found frozen in the middle of a Wyoming Indian Reservation in the dead of winter. After run-ins with the local Native Americans, their inquiries eventually lead to a bloody showdown at a nearby oil drilling site. Director Taylor Sheridan follows up the excellent Hell or High Water with another look at the modern American frontier, this time focusing on the many crimes against Native Americans that are never solved. While the story is as bleak as the environment it is set in, it’s also gripping and shockingly violent at times, while both Renner and Olsen show off acting skills that you’d never see in their Avengers roles.
Con Air (1997)
ITV, Saturday 15th, 22:50
It’s rare that a Nicolas Cage film is good enough to make our weekly top five, but this one certainly fits the bill. Cage plays the role of a parolee on a flight home with a plane full of America’s worst criminals, and when they inevitably hijack the plane it falls to him to use his ex-Army Ranger heroism to save the day. John Malkovich and Steve Buscemi are the pick of the bad bunch of convicts, while John Cusack and Colm Meaney play their part as law enforcement on the ground. Quite how the makers of this film managed to assemble such a great cast when the plot is so ridiculous is a mystery, but somehow it works in a late 90s classic with all the outrageous action you’d expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer production.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
ITV, Sunday 16th, 19:30
Five years after the Harry Potter movie saga concluded, J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World returned with a brand new story set in the 1920s. Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a socially-awkward wizard who arrives in New York with a magical suitcase full of mysterious creatures, looking to complete research for his book. After a mishap that sees several of his beasts escape, he becomes involved in a much bigger and darker story with members of the American Wizarding community. Catering for the fact that the core audience of the Potter films is now five years older, this a far more grown-up tale with adult-oriented characters, glorious production design and superb performances from Redmayne and especially Dan Fogler as the ‘no-maj’ who is unwittingly exposed to the magical world. It’s a brilliant start to a new franchise whose only real disappointment is the titular beasts, who are ironically quite unspectacular for the most part.
The Blues Brothers (1980)
ITV4, Thursday 20th, 21:00
Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi teamed up with director John Landis for the big screen debut of their Saturday Night Live characters, Jake and Elwood Blues. The brothers reunite their band to play one big gig, trying to raise the money to save the orphanage where they grew up, but attract all the wrong kind of attention as they follow their ‘mission from God.’ The two leads are great, but they are ably assisted by a fabulous supporting cast including a memorable appearance by Carrie Fisher and a veritable who’s who of legendary Soul and Blues musicians. While the plot is pretty thin, the film succeeds anyway with a mix of anarchic comedy, wonderful musical performances and some of the most ludicrous and destructive car chases ever committed to film.
Attack the Block (2011)
Film4, Friday 21st, 21:00
Alien invaders find more resistance than they bargained for in this British Sci-Fi thriller when they land in an inner-city London council estate and find a gang of resourceful Chavs ready to take them on. A moderate budget is used to great effect with the aliens mostly keeping to the shadows, while the almost-entirely teenage cast is probably better than director Joe Cornish could have hoped for when the film was conceived. The standout performer is John Boyega as Moses, in a breakout role that showed the talent that we’ve since enjoyed in the new Star Wars films. A unique setting, witty dialogue and some gloriously violent action sequences involving the glowing-mouthed aliens made this one of the most pleasant cinematic surprises in recent years, and the film is destined to become a cult classic.