Luck to The Evil Dead: the seven best films to watch on TV this week | Television & radio


Pick of the week

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This enchanting family animation from Peggy Holmes follows 18-year-old orphan Sam (voiced by Eva Noblezada), who has a sunny disposition but is comically, almost supernaturally accident-prone. Then she meets Bob, a talking black cat (Simon Pegg), and is transported to his magical land where good and bad luck are created – but humans aren’t allowed. The plot really kicks in when Sam loses Bob’s lucky penny and must pose as a giant leprechaun to find it, in a world of German unicorns and bunnies in hazmat suits. There are echoes of Pixar’s Inside Out here as the movie makes child-friendly points about fortune, family and friendship in the guise of a colorful adventure.
Out now, Apple TV+


barbarella

Major laser… Jane Fonda in Barbarella.
Major laser… Jane Fonda in Barbarella. Photograph: Paramount/Allstar

This fantasy – derived from a French erotic sci-fi comic that was a product of the sexual liberation of the 1960s – has become a solid cult hit. However, its sex-obsessed tale of space agent Barbarella (a game Jane Fonda) searching for a missing scientist named Durand-Durand is so absurd that its creator, Roger Vadim (Fonda’s then husband), surely intended it for camp classic status from the off. With killer dolls, a blind angel and the orgasm-inducing Excessive Machine, every scene revels in glorious psychedelic excess.
Saturday 6 August, 7.30am, Sky Cinema Cult Classics


Blue Steel

A fair cop… Jamie Lee Curtis in Blue Steel.
A fair cop… Jamie Lee Curtis in Blue Steel. Photograph: Vestron Pictures/Allstar

Kathryn Bigelow has always had an interest in exploring traditionally male domains. In this twisted 1990 thriller she focuses on two: the police and Wall Street. This time, the cop is a woman – Jamie Lee Curtis’s rookie Megan – who shoots an armed robber on her first day in uniform and is suspended when his gun can’t be found. But that’s because a witness, cocksure financial trader Eugene (Ron Silver), has taken it. Unaware of who he is, Megan starts dating him and a powerplay with a fetishistic core develops between them as his latent psychopathic side surfaces.
Saturday 6 August, 11.05pm, Movie4


Midnight Special

Midnight Special.
All you can ET… Midnight Special. Photograph: Ben Rothstein/EPA

This 2016 indie road movie cum sci-fi thriller yields its secrets slowly, and is all the more enjoyable for it. Michael Shannon’s Roy, along with buddy Lucas (Joel Edgerton), has abducted his son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher). But Alton is no ordinary boy and their destination may not even be of this world. Writer-director Jeff Nichols, who has a short but impressive pedigree (Loving, Mud, Take Shelter), riffs on Close Encounters but adds more peril via a murderous religious cult and government agencies led by a thoughtful NSA boffin, played by Adam Driver.
Sunday 7 August, 11.30pm, BBC One


The English Patient

Feeling Fiennes… The English Patient.
Feeling Fiennes… The English Patient. Photograph: Cinetext/Miramax/Allstar

A sweeping wartime romance in the style of David Lean, Anthony Minghella’s Oscar-laden drama oozes quality. A fateful love affair in 1930s Egypt between Ralph Fiennes’s cartographer Almásy and Kristin Scott Thomas’s married Katharine, told in flashback, is the main treat but the cover story – the badly burned, distressed Almásy is nursed by Hana (Juliette Binoche) and interrogated by Willem Dafoe’s Canadian agent – ​​is equally involving.
Tuesda August 9, 3.05pm, Sky Cinema Greats


Paris, Texas

Track record… Harry Dean Stanton in Paris, Texas.
Track record… Harry Dean Stanton in Paris, Texas. Photograph: Ronald Grant

Wim Wenders is currently having a bit of a moment, with restored films back in the cinema and Film4 doing its bit, too. The German director’s 1984 drama is a haunting tale of lost lives and redemption, his interest in America’s faded glory to the fore. Harry Dean Stanton’s Travis wanders in out of the desert after vanishing for four years and reconnects with his brother Walt (Dean Stockwell), seven-year-old son Hunter (Hunter Carson) and wife Jane (a brilliant cameo from Nastassja Kinski). Robby Müller’s sweeping camerawork and Ry Cooder’s plaintive score contribute to a film touched by greatness.
Wednesday 10 August, 1.10am, Movie4


The Evil Dead

Gore blimey... Bruce Campbell as Ash in The Evil Dead.
Gore blimey… Bruce Campbell as Ash in The Evil Dead. Photograph: New Line Cinema/Mike Ditz/Allstar

Sam Raimi’s 1981 calling card to the movie world is a triumph of imagination and wit over budget. One of the first cabin-in-the-woods horror films, it follows a group of doomed students, including Bruce Campbell’s soon-to-be-iconic Ash, to an isolated shack in Tennessee. There they find a book of spells that can summon demons – and all hell breaks loose (or parts of it, at least). Amid the gouging and decapitating – and rapid flurries of camera movement – ​​there runs a vein of cathartic slapstick that Raimi’s many imitators down the years have failed to improve upon.
Thursday 11 August, 9pm, Sky Sci-Fi

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