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03 Dec 2021

Seventeen films on TV on the week that cinemas are reopening

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

Ronan O'Meara gives his picks of movies on TV over the next week

While cinemas will re-open on Monday, film guru Ronan O'Meara has been scouring the TV schedules to find movies to watch over the next seven days.

Here are 17 to choose from....enjoy!

The Town: Saturday, RTÉ2 @ 9.15pm

Time for a really good Boston set crime drama with Ben Affleck and Rebecca Hall. A bank robber tries to go straight but circumstance and old acquaintances won't let him. Affleck acts in and skillfully directs a story full of tense, well shot action set pieces and is ably supported by a solid cast that also includes Pete Postlethwaite, Jon Hamm, Blake Lively and Jeremy Renner. If your TV has a subtitles option turn it on because the Southie accent can be a tough one to follow.

The Secret Of Marrowbone: Saturday, Film4 @ 11.15pm

The Marrowbones have a....well they have a secret. Their mam has died and if the authorities find out they'll be separated so they cover up her death. But the big house they live in has it's own secrets too. Creepy ones. The ending may make you roll your eyes but the journey there is a lovingly crafted one. A spooky story filled with gothic overtones and beautiful scenery and the cast, including Anya Taylor-Joy, George MacKay and Mia Goth, all succeed in their parts.

24 Hour Party People: Sunday, Channel 4 @ 12.45am (midnight)

It's 1976. Tony Wilson has just had his mind blown by a Sex Pistols gig. He sets out to change to face of the music industry. And he succeeds. Kind of. Well, he'll never be forgotten anyway. Steve Coogan absolutely nails the lead role in this brilliantly silly, almost too good to be true story of the rise of the Northern music scene. You'll learn a lot, you'll laugh and you'll be appalled. Lennie James, Shirley Henderson, Paddy Considine and Sean Harris as Ian Curtis do electrifying work.

Changeling: Sunday, Virgin Media One @ 9pm

In 1930's Los Angeles, a woman's son is kidnapped and months later he's returned to her. But she doesn't recognise him and takes on the might of the LAPD to prove that she's right. A gripping tale of a mother's love and determination in the face of massive corruption and carried by a convincing performance from Angelina Jolie. This is not an enjoyable movie at all but it's one that will move you and make you righteously angry.

The Carpetbaggers: Sunday, Talking Pictures TV @ 10pm

Jonas is a rich man but he's a broken, vicious one too. Family tragedy haunts him and as a result he finds it hard to relate to those around him and them to him. This 1964 drama is kinda/sorta based on the story of Howard Hughes with a few details changed here and there and it serves up a story filled with sordid and seamy melodrama that's captivating in it's scummy view of humanity. George Peppard (yes, him) is a great lead.

Funny Cow: Monday, Channel 4 @ 12.10am (midnight)

Funny Cow had a tough life growing up in the coalpit towns of the English North and now she's using that life experience as material for her comedy sets in the working men's clubs of the 1970's. Maxine Peake is sensational in this tough but darkly humorous look at the hardships of breaking into a traditionally male arena, especially in an era where sexism was rampant. The always reliable Paddy Considine and Alun Armstrong back her up generously.

The American: Monday, TG4 @ 9.30pm 

Jack's trade is much in demand and he's a popular choice among his customers. He's reliable and he's no fuss. He's also a hitman. When his latest job ends in unwanted collateral damage he wants out. But his handler wants one final job of him. A moody and sombre watch, one who's pace might be offputting to some but stick with it for an atmospheric watch that will reel you in slowly. A very different kind of role for George Clooney but he does it with ease.

The Damned United: Monday, BBC2 @ 11.30pm

A biopic of the football manager Brian Clough covering his rather short tenure as manager of Leeds United. Even if you aren't a footie fan you'll like this. Clough makes for an extremely watchable main character, a man who's a ball of contradiction and who's always a pleasure to watch even when he's being a melt. Michael Sheen is superb in the lead role and the supporting cast is a who's who of well known British talent. Plus there's Colm Meaney who always delivers. 

The Stranger: Tuesday, Film4 @ 2.30pm

Franz Kindler has escaped to America and is hiding from the War Crimes Commission hunting him for his part in the final solution. An agent called Wilson is hot on his heels, determined to out him for all to see. Orson Welles, who also plays Kindler, directed this post war film noir and he makes a fine job of both his parts. A tense and fast moving story with Edward G. Robinson as Wilson being as watchable as always.

Odd Thomas: Wednesday, The Horror Channel @ 9pm

Thomas is a young man with a gift. Not a very nice gift. When a stranger turns up in his small town he is forced to use his unique skill to defend himself and those he cares about. A quirky and entertaining adaption of a Dean Koontz novel. It's fluff, a watch once affair but you'll have fun during it. Thomas is well played by the much missed Anton Yelchin. There's nice support from Addison Timlin and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as well.

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold: Wednesday, Talking Pictures TV @ 9.05pm

Mr Leamas has been kicked out of M16 and is totally disillusioned with the state of English politics. He's willing to sell state secrets and East German agents are interested. But is it all as it seems? Hmmm? This 1965 take on the John leCarre book is a far more absorbing and engaging film than later adaptions of his work with intrigue abounding and super performances from Richard Burton, Claire Bloom and Cyril Cusack keeping everything moving on nicely.

Precious: Thursday, Sony Movies @ 1.30am

Precious has a brutal life. Her health issues are making her a target of her classmates, her mother despises her and her father abuses her. There's no light at the end of the tunnel for her until one day she enrolls in a new type of school. There's no denying Lee Daniels's 2009 drama is a tough watch but you'll be blown away by Gabourey Sidibe who just stuns in her first ever film. An upsetting, horrifying plea for compassion. 

A Town Like Alice: Thursday, BBC4 @ 9pm

1942. Malaysia. The Japanese army has swept through the country and a captured British woman is forced on a death march. A march that will effect the rest of her life. A beautifully shot look at a portion of 20th century war history that's often overlooked combines with an affecting love story in a way that should feel cheesy but somehow doesn't thanks to stellar work from Virginia McKenna and Peter Finch.

Frances Ha: Thursday, Film4 @ 10.45pm

Frances lives in NYC but it isn't really living. She claims to be a dancer but hasn't a clue how to dance. She calls people her friend but doesn't really like them. She's a bit of a disaster to be quite frank. But she doesn't give a damn. This Greta Gerwig starring/written by film is a sparkling, giddy, likable slice of joy. On paper Frances sounds like a nightmare but Gerwig is excellent as the title character and really owns the film.

Unforgiven: Friday, TCM @ 1.30am

A woman is attacked in a small frontier town and three men are hired to kill the attacker. One of the men is a retired gunslinger who is reluctant to return to his former life. This film is a masterpiece. A story that takes apart the myths of the old west and shows them for what they really were and a fitting end to Clint Eastwood's western career (Or is it?). Clint, Morgan Freeman, Frances Fisher, Gene Hackman and Anna Thompson all play their parts magnificently.

Breakheart Pass: Friday, TG4 @ 21.30

Friday night western enjoyment with Charles Bronson as a prisoner onboard a train containing medicine for an outbreak of disease in an army fort. Chaos ensues. And we wouldn't have it any other way. Action packed stuff that easy on the eyes too courtesy of some fantastic mountainous scenery. Bronson is always good value in a western and gets solid backing from Ben Johnson, Jill Ireland and Richard Crenna.

Assassination Nation: Friday, Film4 @ 10.45pm

A phone hack has unleashed the worst secrets of a small American town. Tempers are rising, friendships are shattered and vengeance is sought. Four highschool friends team up to protect themselves and dole out justice. This dark 2018 thriller is a wild and violent ride that takes aim at everything wrong with modern day America. It's not always successful but when it works it REALLY works. Odessa Young, Hari Nef and Suki Waterhouse are an effective leading trio.

As always visit hamsandwichcinema.blogspot.com/ for more film and tv chat.

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