28 Nov 2021

Seventeen films on TV for you to enjoy this week

17 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 17 to choose from.

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

What Richard Did: Saturday, RTÉ2 @ 10.45pm

The story of a young man and his friends and their lives leading up to a night out in Dublin that goes very very wrong. It's all about how privilege will ruin you and still protect you. A wonderfully acted film about a part of Irish society that we rarely see in film. Jack Reynor is excellent in the title role and is surrounded by a rock solid cast of familiar faces who all got their start here. My favourite Irish film of this century.

Juno: Saturday, TG4 @ 10.50pm

Juno is 16 & she's pregnant. The baby's father is a terrified 16 year old too. Juno's parents are angry but supportive. She's going to give the baby up for adoption. She thinks. Diablo Cody's 2007 comedy drama is a lovely watch. Hilarious, upsetting, warm, clever and with a killer soundtrack. Ellen Page plays Juno flawlessly and the cast of Michael Cera, Allison Janney, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner and J.K. Simmons all do splendid work.

The Ritual: Saturday, Channel 4 @ 11.45pm

A year after a terrible tragedy a group of lifelong friends go hiking into the Scandinavian wilderness and encounter something no-one should ever have to encounter. A story that starts out unsettling and ultimately ends up rather silly but one that stays gripping throughout due to well sketched characters brought to life by a nice cast that includes Sam Troughton, Arsher Ali and an effective Rafe Spall. You'll stay away from the woods for a while after this.

The Manchurian Candidate: Sunday,  BBC2 @ 12.10am

Prisoners of war return from capture in the Korean War to America. But all is not well. To say anymore might spoil this magnificent piece of neo-noir. A truly suspenseful film, intelligent, inventive, paranoid, complex and deeply layered. Fabulous acting abounds. Frank Sinatra gives one of his best performances but the star of the show is Angela Lansbury. Her character is quite the creation, you won't be able to look away from her.

Time Bandits: Sunday, Film4 @ 1.30pm

A young boy finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime when he teams up with a group of time travellers on the run from their master. A brilliant piece of fantasy from the minds behind Monty Python and a pretty much perfect family film for a rainy sunday. A dreamlike & bizarre film in places but so so much fun. And the cast is mighty, a who's who of deadly English actors. There's too many to name here so i won't bother. 

Pompeii: Sunday, Syfy @ 9pm

The year is 79AD. A slave turned gladiator in Pompeii has caught the eye of the daughter of a high born merchant. Can anything come of their love? Especially with the nearby mountain making some ominous noises. Ignore the reviews, Paul W.S. Anderson's action drama is a joy, filled with crunchy battles, some super effects and a genuinely affecting romance. Kit Harrington, Emily Browning and Kiefer Sutherland all have a whale of a time.

Don't Breathe: Monday, Channel 4 @ Midnight

Three thieves break into the house of a man they assume will be an easy target. Man oh man were they wrong. Will any of them live to see sunlight again? This 2016 horror thriller, despite a very icky and unsettling subplot, is a real nailbiter of a watch especially if you're bothered by the dark or small places. Steve Lang is a ghoulish baddie and you'll want Jane Levy to survive even though she's a thieving little fecker. 

Joy Ride: Monday, The Horror Channel @ 9pm

Three teenage friends are on a roadtrip across America. A prank involving a CB radio puts them on the radar of a murderous trucker and their trip takes a dangerous turn that sees them running for their lives. This 2001 horror is a criminally underrated one and one that gets its scares from slow burn tension and suspense instead of cheap shocks and splatter. Leelee Sobieski, Steve Zahn and the late Paul Walker all do decent work

Before Midnight: Monday, TG4 @ 9.30pm

While on a holiday in Greece a couple begin to question the decisions that brought them together and to this place in their lives. This is the third in the Before Trilogy and it's a powerful way to finish the story of Jesse & Celine. It's a sharp and very well written story that feels painfully real. Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke are outstanding as the leads and Richard Linklater's direction is the icing on the cake. If you've seen the first two films you'll get a lot more from this.

Shoplifters: Monday, Film4  @ 11.10pm

A Japanese couple are struggling to make ends meet and have taken to petty theft to keep themselves fed and clothed. One night they take in an abused neighbour child and things become rather troubled. Hirokazu Kore-eda's film about his country's societal mores and family love is a stunner, a warm look at a cold culture that will leave you rattled by it's end. Lily Franky and Miyu Sasaki are both brilliant.

The Nice Guys: Tuesday,  RTÉ2 @ 9.30pm

The death of a porn star and the case of a missing woman bring two very different private investigators together in 1970's Los Angeles. Shane Black's 2016 film is a touch overlong and a little bit muddled but it is an amusing and surprisingly violent watch held aloft by two solid performances from Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe who bounce off each other well and Crowe especially displays some hitherto unknown comedy chops.

Goodbye, Columbus: Tuesday, Talking Pictures TV @ 10pm

A man and woman meet and fall in love in late 60's New Jersey. He's an ex soldier and she's a student. Both are Jewish but they still come from very different worlds and find that social classes are very much a thing. This adaption of Philip Roth' story is a bitingly honest look at how love sometimes just isn't enough for a relationship to work. Ali McGraw does well in her debut movie but Richard Benjamin steals the show.

Happy As Lazzaro: Wednesday, Channel4 @ 2.05am

Lazzaro is an Italian farmer and he has such a decent soul that people think he's a fool they can take advantage of. He gets involved with a lively nobleman who has a cunning plan and then things take a.......well you'll just have to watch won't you. The second hour of this may enrage some but it will fill others with a sense of fun and wonder. You won't see anything else like this anytime soon. Adriano Tardiolo is a superb lead.

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll: Wednesday, BBC4 @ 10pm

A biopic of Ian Dury, a man who overcame the ravages of polio to build himself a successful music career in the hey day of the 1970's UK punk scene. Dury is played to perfection by Andy Serkis in a rare non CGI role. A wee bit livelier and entertaining than your usual musical biopic due to a welcome weird edge. The supporting cast nails it too with loads of well known UK actors like Naomie Harris, Ray Winstone and Olivia Colman.

Out Of The Furnace: Thursday, Channel 4 @ 1am

Living in America's Rust Belt is tough and two brothers dream of getting away from the misery but cruelly life always manages to get in the way of their best laid plans. Christian Bale and Casey Affleck make for a cracking pair of leads in this tough and violent thriller about a side of the American dream that rarely makes it to the big screen. Zoe Saldana and an evil Woody Harrelson round out a fine cast.

The Shallows: Friday (November 20), Film4 @ 10.50pm

While surfing by herself in a deserted Mexican cove, Nancy is attacked by a great white shark. Trapped on a tiny rocky outcrop she must use her wits to survive the encounter. This was really enjoyable stuff, scary, nerve wracking and of course spectacularly silly (do not watch this expecting anything serious) but Blake Lively as Nancy sells the fear and eventually the inner strength needed to take on mother nature at her fiercest. 

The Passenger:   Saturday (November 21), Talking Pictures TV @ Midnight

David's in Saharan Africa making a war documentary but he can't find anyone to talk about the conflict. When an acquaintance dies suddenly he decides to try a different way of getting people to open up. This film rarely gets a TV showing so now's a chance to experience Michelangelo Antonioni's surreal, unique and beautiful film. It's not for everyone but it's worth a watch. Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider do good things in the lead roles.


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