Films to watch on the small screen

Cynon Valley - - TOPFILMS -

AS CHIL­DREN, Anna and Elsa love to play to­gether, tak­ing full ad­van­tage of Elsa’s abil­ity to cre­ate ice and snow from her fin­ger­tips. When an ac­ci­dent al­most ends in disas­ter, the king agrees to wipe Anna’s mem­ory so she for­gets about her sib­ling’s hid­den tal­ents. Elsa hides from the public gaze, fear­ful she will hurt some­one else with her pow­ers. When the king and queen are lost at sea, Elsa re­luc­tantly emerges to claim the throne. Frozen is one of the best an­i­mated fea­tures to can­ter out of the Dis­ney sta­ble in years.

BBC 1, 2.50pm, De­cem­ber 23


KER­MIT the Frog and co put their comedic spin on Dick­ens’ fes­tive fa­ble. Brian Hen­son’s ir­re­sistible pic­ture is nar­rated by au­thor Dick­ens (Gonzo The Great), who in­vites us to learn from the mis­takes of money lender Ebenezer Scrooge. The penny-pinch­ing cur­mud­geon turns his back on his nephew Fred and be­grudg­ingly agrees to let his staff in­clud­ing Bob Cratchit (Ker­mit) have Christ­mas Day off to cel­e­brate. But Scrooge’s re­cently-de­ceased busi­ness part­ners Ja­cob and Robert Mar­ley (Statler and Wal­dorf ) pay a visit to the miser and in­form Scrooge to ex­pect a ghostly visit.

Chan­nel 4, 6.30pm, Christ­mas Eve


MYS­TE­RI­OUS war hero Jay Gatsby lives in a bay-side man­sion with a menagerie of ser­vants, who help him throw the most ex­trav­a­gant par­ties for the whole of New York. Lowly stock­bro­ker Nick Car­raway, who lives next door, is drawn into Gatsby’s or­bit and falls un­der his neigh­bour’s spell. This is a vis­ually sump­tu­ous adap­ta­tion of F Scott Fitzger­ald’s clas­sic novel. BBC2, 9.30pm, Christ­mas Eve


SLAVISHLY adapted from Dis­ney’s clas­sic 1950 an­i­mated mu­si­cal, Ken­neth Branagh’s live-ac­tion ver­sion of the fairy-tale ro­mance doesn’t skimp on the magic. Ella is con­signed


to the kitchen by her vin­dic­tive step­mother Lady Tre­maine and brat­tish step-sis­ters. When the name-call­ing be­comes too fright­ful, Ella es­capes on horse­back and catches the eye of the dash­ing Prince, who must pick a bride at the be­hest of the dy­ing king. BBC1, 3.10pm, Christ­mas Day


IN 1945, Princess El­iz­a­beth, the fu­ture Queen, and her sis­ter Princess Mar­garet briefly es­caped from Buck­ing­ham Palace to cel­e­brate VE Day with the teem­ing crowds out­side the royal res­i­dence. Screen­writ­ers Trevor De Silva and Kevin Hood use this true event as the start­ing point for a heart-warm­ing com­edy of manners.

Chan­nel 5, 5.20pm, Box­ing Day


FOL­LOW­ING the death of his beloved wife, re­tired bal­loon sales­man Carl Fredrick­sen re­fuses to leave the home they built to­gether. When de­vel­op­ers threaten to bull­doze the prop­erty, Carl ties thou­sands of brightly coloured helium bal­loons to the roof and takes flight, bound for Par­adise Falls in South Amer­ica, where he and El­lie had al­ways planned to visit. Un­ex­pect­edly, a Ju­nior Wilder­ness Ex­plorer called Russell is stranded on the porch and the plucky tyke joins Carl on his ad­ven­ture. BBC1, 2.25pm, De­cem­ber 29


ON THE morn­ing of his fifth wed­ding an­niver­sary, Nick Dunne calls the po­lice to his home. There are signs of a strug­gle and his wife Amy is miss­ing. Amy’s dis­traught par­ents join Nick to front a high-pro­file me­dia cam­paign to se­cure the safe re­turn of their daugh­ter, but in the glare of the spot­light, frac­tures ap­pear in the Dunnes’ mar­riage and the public openly ques­tion Nick’s in­no­cence. BBC1, 9.15pm, De­cem­ber 29


IT COULD have seemed like a cyn­i­cal cash-in, but The Lego Movie turns out to be a hoot, as wri­ter­di­rec­tors Phil Lord and Christo­pher Miller strike a de­li­cious tone of ir­rev­er­ence through­out. The un­likely hero is Lego mini-fig­ure called Em­met, who lives in the town of Bricks­burg. Des­per­ate to fit in, Em­met fol­lows the dic­tates laid down by Pres­i­dent Busi­ness. This ne­far­i­ous tyrant se­cretly plans to de­stroy Bricks­burg us­ing an arte­fact known as The Kra­gle.

Chan­nel 5, 5pm, New Year’s Eve


KING Henry is a greedy monarch, who yearns to ex­pand his king­dom by con­quer­ing the for­est realm where fairy Maleficent holds sway. He pledges his crown to any man who can de­feat the “winged elf”. Lowly un­der­ling Ste­fan tricks the fairy and steals her wings, thereby se­cur­ing the throne. In­spired by the 1959 Dis­ney an­i­ma­tion Sleep­ing Beauty, Maleficent is a vis­ually stun­ning fan­tasy, which reimag­ines the Broth­ers Grimm through the eyes of the epony­mous vil­lain­ess.

BBC1, 5pm, New Year’s Day ■

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