TV FILMS of the week
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN Today, ITV2, 5.20pm
When the sorcerer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) escapes from prison, the wizarding authorities fear he’s heading straight to Hogwarts to get his hands on Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe, pictured). In a bid to keep the teenager safe, the powers-that-be recruit the terrifying Dementors to guard the school, but Harry finds them almost as frightening as the prospect of being snatched by a dangerous fugitive. At least new teacher Remus Lupin (David Thewlis) wants to help the teenager – but is he all he seems? This film finds the franchise moving into darker territory and director Alfonso Cuaron manages the tone beautifully.
Tomorrow, Channel 4, 5.55pm
This glorious musical follows 1950s teenagers Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia NewtonJohn), left, who meet at high school following a summer romance. The songs are catchy, Travolta and Newton-John make a very cute couple, Stockard Channing steals scenes as bad girl Rizzo and the whole film has so much good-natured energy, it’s impossible not to be swept along.
ALPHA Monday, Film4, 2.55pm
Man and beast join forces to survive the elements in director Albert Hughes’s adventure set 20,000 years ago during the Ice Age. Keda (Kodi SmitMcPhee, pictured) is poised for manhood. To prove himself as a hunter, Keda joins in to bring down a herd of bison, but the animals stampede and the boy is thrown off a cliff. Keda just survives and begins the slow journey back home.
ROBIN HOOD Tuesday, ITV4, 9pm
Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) heads back to England after Richard the Lionheart is slain. To secure a safe passage home, Robin poses as slain knight Sir Robert Loxley and continues the ruse with the dead man’s wife, Marion (Cate Blanchett). Ridley Scott takes a darker turn with this medieval adventure which also stars Mark Strong, William Hurt and Oscar Isaac.
RULES DON’T APPLY Wednesday Film4, 11.20pm
Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins, left) arrives in Hollywood with mother Lucy (Annette Bening) as the latest star of RKO film studios run by Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty). Chauffeur Frank (Alden Ehrenreich) is smitten with Marla, but fraternising with the talent is forbidden. Frank struggles to contain his desire. As Hughes’ mental state deteriorates, Frank is ushered into the inner circle.
THE ELEPHANT MAN Thursday BBC4, 9pm
Freed from an East End freak show by London surgeon Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), the severely disfigured John Merrick (John Hurt, pictured) becomes the subject of medical experiments and the obsession of 19th century high society. Directed by David Lynch, Hurt is on superb form as the title character in what is a deeply moving film.
WAR OF THE WORLDS Friday BBC1, 11.35pm
Steven Spielberg’s take on HG Wells’ sci-fi classic is told on an epic scale, as seen through the eyes of a dockworker (Tom Cruise, left) as he fights to get his children and ex-wife to safety when aliens descend on Earth. They find themselves being chased by giant tripods through New York while alien vessels open fire on the retreating crowd.