Top films to watch on TV this week
Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) 5*, 11.05p.m. A female assassin decides to quit the profession, get married and raise a family – only to be shot on her wedding day and left for dead.
Four years later, she wakes up from a coma intent on revenge and sets off to wipe out her former colleagues. Her old boss Bill is her main target, but in the meantime she’ll make do with a couple of other hit-women.
Uma Thurman is on terrific form here in a role created especially for her by Quentin Tarantino – he reportedly gave her the script for her 30th birthday and delayed production when she became pregnant.
The director also does her proud with some great fight scenes, keeping the violence nicely stylised. However, it’s a bit of a shame he had to chop his own movie in two – the ending is a bit of an anti-climax.
The Girl on the Train (2016) Film4, 9p.m.
Following an acrimonious divorce from her cheating husband Tom (Justin Theroux), Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) takes regular train journeys past her old house where he is now settled with his mistress Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and their baby.
One morning, Rachel stares blearyeyed out of the train window and glimpses Tom’s neighbour Megan (Haley Bennett) in a clinch with another man. Megan subsequently vanishes and Detective Sergeant Riley (Allison Janney) becomes interested in Rachel’s hazy recollection. Psychiatrist Dr Kamal Abdic (Edgar Ramirez) might be able to help Rachel unlock her subconscious but she will soon realise that some memories are best forgotten.
Adapted from Paula Hawkins’ novel, The Girl on the Train is a smart psychological potboiler anchored by a strong performance from Blunt.
John Wick (2014) Channel 5, 10p.m. Infamous hit-man John Wick (Keanu Reeves) holsters his weapons for good to marry Helen (Bridget Moynahan). Shortly after terminal illness upends the fairy tale, John receives a present from his late wife: an adorable beagle puppy called Daisy.
One night, Russian playboy Iosef Taras
ov (Alfie Allen) and his underlings break into John’s home, beat him to a pulp and kill Daisy. This act of senseless brutality fuels John’s lust for revenge and he hunts down Iosef, ignoring the fact his target is the son of powerful mob boss Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist).
John Wick is a blood-soaked action thriller laced with macabre humour, and Reeves is well-equipped for the physical demands of the balletic fight sequences.
Deadpool (2016) Channel 4, 9p.m. Former Special Forces operative Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a low-rent assassin who discovers he has inoperable cancer. A recruiter (Jed Rees) from an experimental program known as WeaponX invites Wade to undergo a radical procedure, which aggressively attacks the cancerous cells.
Sadistic program director Ajax (Ed Skrein) and henchwoman Angel Dust (Gina Carano) torture Wade, transforming him into a hideously deformed mutant with the power of self-healing. Reborn as Deadpool, Wade sets out to wreak revenge on Ajax and his underlings.
Deadpool is a relentlessly lurid and unapologetically foul-mouthed treat, crammed to bursting with zinging one-liners. It all hinges on Reynolds’ ability to charm us and he barrels through every frame with a cocksure swagger that is impossible to resist.
The Fault in Our Stars (2014) Channel 4, 10.55p.m.
Sixteen-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) was diagnosed with cancer at an early age. An experimental drug trial has slowed the spread of the disease, but Hazel is resigned to her grim fate. She reluctantly attends a cancer patients’ support group at the behest of her mum (Laura Dern).
During one session, Hazel meets acerbic survivor Gus (Ansel Elgort), who lost his leg to halt the spread of his cancer. As the relationship intensifies, Hazel attempts to keep Gus at arm’s length, warning that she is a ‘grenade’, destined to obliterate everyone around her.
The Fault in Our Stars is a beautifully sketched portrait of adolescence, adapted from John Green’s bestselling novel, which deftly plucks heartstrings to the point that a trickle of tears threatens to become a torrent.
Stalag 17 (1953) Film4, 11a.m.
The US inmates of a German Prisoner of War camp stage an escape, but when it goes wrong, they conclude that one of their number must have betrayed them to the Nazis. A
s far as most of the prisoners are concerned, there’s only one candidate – cynical wheeler-dealer Sgt Sefton ( William Holden), who seems happy to strike deals with their captors if it gets him a few extra home comforts. He realises the only way he’s going to clear his name is by finding the real mole.
It’s not every director who could find humour in a PoW camp, but Billy Wilder manages it with style. The result is a blackly funny satirical drama, which boasts great performances from an Oscar-winning Holden and Otto Preminger as the sneering camp commandant.