THE WEEK’S BEST FILMS
SATURDAY Apollo 13 (1995) (STV, 1.20pm) Allied (2016) (Channel 4, 9pm)
Ron Howard’s film tells the incredible true story of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, which launched in 1970, bound for the moon. However, disaster struck in the form of an on-board explosion, which left astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) and his team facing a dwindling oxygen supply, while back on Earth the ground grew in Houston frantically searched for a way to get them home safely. Just because history tells us exactly how the mission ended, it doesn’t make this movie any less tense. In fact, younger viewers may find it particularly nerve-wracking as they see just how primitive some of that space age technology looks.
Wing commander Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), a Canadian intelligence officer posted to London during the Second World War, parachutes behind enemy lines to assassinate a German ambassador. He joins forces with glamorous French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), who is already embedded in Casablanca. Sparks fly as a faux romance kindles deep desire. The couple reunite in London, where they marry, but as the Allied war effort gathers pace Max is ushered into a covert meeting where military officials present damning evidence that Marianne is a spy working for the Germans.
SUNDAY Everest (2015) (Film4, 6.35pm)
Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) lead competing expeditions on Everest, racing against one another and the elements to ensure their clients safely reach the peak. Unlike his rival, Rob takes a fastidious and cautious approach to each ascent with his company Adventure Consultants, promising his pregnant wife Jan (Keira Knightley) that he will return for the birth of their daughter. During an ill-fated May 1996 expedition, a fierce storm rumbles nearby, threatening to trap the climbers on the rock face. Based on true events, Everest is a slickly orchestrated recreation of an ill-fated ascent.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014) (Channel 5, 9pm)
A hive-like alien race called the Mimics has overrun Europe and the United Defence Force is preparing to storm the continent from multiple angles. General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) orders military PR man Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) to the front line to capture this glorious moment on film for generations to come. A subsequent skirmish on the beaches of France is a bloodbath and Cage perishes in the throes of annihilating an alien. Exposure to the creature’s blood miraculously allows Cage to reset time and relive the ill-fated day, dying again and again as he attempts to identify a weakness in the Mimics’ defences. Edge of Tomorrow is an entertaining thriller, which establishes its Groundhog Day-style premise and cleverly engineers ways to keep us enthralled as Cage repeats fatal mistakes.
MONDAY American History X (1998) (ITV4, 11.05pm)
An Oscar-nominated Edward Norton gives one of his best performances in this violent drama as a neo-Nazi who is sent to prison for the brutal murder