Sixteen films to keep you entertained over Halloween and during the week ahead

Ronan O'Meara

Reporter:

Ronan O'Meara

16 films on TV this week to help you ignore that darkening sky

Movie Guru Ronan O'Meara gives his picks of the week

Ronan O'Meara has been scouring the TV schedules (free-to-air channels only) to find films to watch over the next week – here are 16 to choose from.

Hopefully you'll find something to hit the spot and maybe you'll even be introduced to a future favourite.

Blockers: Saturday, C4 @ 9pm

Three teenage girls are off to prom and they've made a pact to lose their virginity. When their parents find out they set out to stop that happening by any means. One of 2018's biggest surprises, a film full of the crudity you'd expect but one that also manages to be very sweet and heartfelt too. Leslie Mann, John Cena, Gideon Adlon and Geraldine Viswanathan all have a whale of a time here. Watch out for the funniest eye contact scene ever.

Dark Lie The Island: Saturday, RTÉ One @ 10.30pm

The Mannions run the lakeside town of Dromord and they all hate each other. A hate that leads to all manner of nefarious goings on. A hate that leads to a dark night of the soul for many of the townspeople. This Irish comedy thriller is as black as they come, scathing, biting, nasty but also in places hilarious. It's not fully successful but it's worth your time. Peter Coonan, Pat Shortt and Tommy Tiernan all nail their parts.

Halloween: Saturday, Film4 @ 10.45pm

Michael Myers has escaped the pyschiatric hospital he's spent his life in and he's heading home to finish what he started as a child. Laurie Strode is a babysitter who's night is about to get scary. John Carpenter's best known film is still a brilliantly effective watch 42 years after it's release. There's some serious suspense and some very effective scares here but not the need to rub your face in blood and guts. Jamie Lee Curtis nails the part of Laurie, modern horror cinema's first scream queen.

Poltergeist: Saturday, BBC2 @ 11.10pm

The Freeling's are the picture of Californian perfection. It's just a pity for them that their gaff was built on a Native American burial site and the spirits below are sick of these interlopers. Tobe Hooper & Steven Spielberg's 1982 horror is a classic of the genre, terrifying, hilarious, eerie as hell and all built around a household that you'll genuinely care for. JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson and lil Heather O'Rourke make a lovely family.

Our Little Sister: Sunday BBC2 @ 1am

In the Japanese city of Kamakura three sisters live in the house where their parents abandoned them years before. One day they learn about another member of their family and invite her into their lives. A tender and humane look into the societal mores of Japanese culture and one that eschews easy melodrama and forced tension for something much more satisfying. Suzu Hirose and Haruka Ayase are excellent.

Bend Of The River: Sunday, ITV4 @ 2pm

The second collaboration between James Stewart and director Anthony Mann is a majestic watch. An oft told tale of simple homesteaders being harassed by landowners but one that's kept fresh by authentic acting, action and scenery. Plus it's always fun to see an actor with a screen persona like Stewart play someone ruthless and it all plays out in glorious Technicolor too. A nice rainy Sunday afternoon film.

Blue Velvet: Sunday, Film4 @ 10.45pm

Jeffrey makes a strange discovery one day and his investigation makes him realise that there's something very odd going on behind the white picket fences of the small town he calls home. David Lynch's deep dive into the darker side of small town life is a stunner. Packed with terrifying performances and moments that will haunt you for an age. Kyle Maclachlan, Isabella Rossellini & an unhinged Dennis Hooper are all on fire.

The Lonely Battle Of Thomas Reid: Sunday, RTE One @ 11.55pm

Thomas is a man stuck in the past and a man battling in vain against the IDA in an effort to hold on to the Kildare farmland he holds dear. This Irish documentary is a cracker, a real David & Goliath story about someone standing up for themselves against the man. Like the best of Irish productions it will make you laugh and then kick you in the balls. Well worth a watch. Pity it's on so late though.

The Children Act: Monday, BBC2 @ 9pm

Judge Fiona Maye is having a tough time of things lately. Her marriage is on the edge of a precipice and the case before her in chambers is rattling her in a way no case ever has before. What to do, what to do? The always great Emma Thompson does mighty work in this solid adaption of Ian McEwan's novel. It's a film that never fully takes off but the acting from Thompson and Fionn Whitehead is second to none and there's plenty of food for though here.

Unknown: Monday, TG4 @ 9.30pm

A man wakes from a coma after an accident. He doesn't know his name, where he is, what he's doing. He finds out he's married but his wife doesn't recognise him. What in god's name is going on? Made back in the early phase of Liam Neeson's action hero renaissance this is an enjoyably crunchy watch that takes it's high concept idea and runs with it as far as it can go. Neeson does his thing well while a cast including January Jones, Aidan Quinn and Diane Kruger supports him ably.

Brother: Tuesday: Film4 @ 1.40pm

A disgraced Yakuza member finds himself in Los Angeles and works with his brother and his friends to create a new criminal enterprise. Japanese superstar Takeshi Kitano brings his trademark laconic cool to America and it makes for a highly entertaining film. The tone may seem odd to people not used to Kitano's unique style but the scenes of gentle comedy and horrific bloodshed somehow compliment each other in a perfectly strange way. 

The Disappearance Of Alice Creed: Tuesday, The Horror Channel @ 11.45pm

Alice is being held hostage by Vic and Danny. They want her father's money. She's tied to a bed and seemingly helpless. What will she do? This 2009 British thriller is tough stuff but it's unpredictable narrative combined with a trio of worthy performances from Eddie Marsan, Gemma Atherton and Martin Compston will keep you watching til the very end. For a movie mostly set in one room it's a surprisingly layered watch.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape: Thursday, Sony Movies @ 4.30pm

Gilbert spends his time looking after his mother Bonnie and his brother Arnie, both of whom have medical issues. He's not enjoying life to say the least and he's feeling trapped in his small town. Until the day he meets Becky. A film that's so early 90's it hurts but also one that will hook you in with it's relatable issues and soulful performances from Johnny Depp and Juliette Lewis. Leonardo DiCaprio as Arnie owns the show though, this is the film that set him on the road to stardom.

Bone Tomahawk: Thursday, Film4 @ 11.50pm

A sheriff of a frontier town leads a posse of men into the desert to rescue townfolk who have been kidnapped. Quite what they have been kidnapped by is another matter. S. Craig Zahler's horror/western is a hell of a watch. But be warned, there's one scene of violence in here that will give you nightmares for weeks. The cast though well see you through. Kurt Russell, Richard Jenkins and Patrick Wilson are all in super form.

Absolute Power: Friday (November 6), RTÉ One @ 11pm

A cat burglar in the middle of a very promising job witnesses the President of the United States doing something very unpresidential. Now his life is in danger as he has knowledge that could topple a government. This Clint Eastwood led thriller is a fine watch if you can get past the nastiness of it's opening scene. Be wary, it's tough going. Gene Hackman, Ed Harris and Laura Linney head a good supporting cast.

The Homesman: Friday (November 6), BBC1 @ 11.30pm

Two people, a man and a woman escort three women in need of help across the country. A harsh and starkly realistic depiction of how life was for women during the pioneering days of the American west. This is a dark stuff, and thankfully shot through with a vein of darker comedy and carried by some powerful acting from Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones ( who also directed it ). Really worth a watch but make sure you are in the right mood for it.

Read more at hamsandwichcinema.blogspot.com/