The Wonder to Spirited: The seven best movies to watch on TV this week – The Guardian | Episode Movies

selection of the week

The wonder

In 1862, English nurse Lib (Florence Pugh) comes to rural Ireland to spend two weeks watching over Anna (Kíla Lord Cassidy), an 11-year-old girl who has not eaten in four months but is fit and well. Anna claims she feeds on “the manna of heaven,” but is she a miracle from God, or is she turning heads? Questions of faith, rationality and storytelling trickery permeate this historical thriller, with the Irish famine of the 1840s being another touchstone. Director Sebastián Lelio, who previously explored organized religion in Disobedience, is blessed here with Pugh as the lead – a magnetic, confrontational presence that drives the drama forward.
Wednesday, November 16, Netflix

The Endless

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead in The Endless. Photo: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

From filmmaking duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, this satisfying slice of indie sci-fi weirdness beats its low budget with beautifully delayed plot reveals and unsettling corner-of-eye special effects. They also play as brothers returning to Camp Arcadia, the wilderness “UFO death cult” they left years ago. Their unresolved brotherly issues and memories of their time there intertwine with increasingly bizarre events – photos falling from the sky, unseen presences, a second moon – that portend something very dire. SW
Saturday, November 12, 1:35 a.m., Film4


Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers in Monkey Business.
Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers in Monkey Business. Credit: Landmark Media/Alamy

Comedy about animal testing might be frowned upon today, but starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers and directed by Howard Hawks, this 1952 film certainly gets a pass. It’s delightfully silly when Grant’s scientist’s quest for an elixir of youth goes awry when one of his chimpanzees doses the lab water cooler. Given the chance to play increasingly youthful versions of themselves, Grant and Rogers are brilliant – Rogers even sends up her own dancing skills – and it all comes with screwball vim. SW
Monday, November 14, 2:25 p.m., Talking Pictures TV

pitch black

Pitch black in pitch black.
Pitch black in pitch black. Photo: United Archives GmbH/Alamy

David Twohy’s 2000 suspenseful sci-fi thriller may have been the film that started a thousand Vin Diesel blockbusters, but — when Bad Boy became the (relatively) nice Riddick — he’ll have to share the limelight with Radha Share Mitchell. She brings out her inner Ripley as Fry, a pilot who takes charge after her passenger liner crashes on a planet with three suns. The inhospitable world is populated by hungry creatures that only come out during solar eclipses – and one is imminent. Two Riddick sequels have followed so far, but this is by far the best of them all. SW
Tuesday 15 November 11.25pm ​​ITV4

plateau drifter

Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifters.
Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifters. Photo: Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock

Clint Eastwood’s second attempt at directing is reminiscent of his character “Man With No Name” from the Sergio Leone westerns. A stranger (Eastwood) enters a desert settlement and agrees to help protect it from outlaws. But he has a strange modus operandi – at one point he orders the town to be painted red – and the residents have some very dark secrets. A film that becomes more and more nihilistic as time goes on, with Eastwood’s soul far from sympathetic even as it gives the townsfolk what’s to come. SW
Thursday 17 November, 9pm, ITV4


Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell in Spirited.
Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell in Spirited. Photo: Claire Folger/Apple TV+

A Christmas carol gets a hilarious remix in Sean Anders’ musical comedy. Will Ferrell plays the ghost of Christmas Present, who works in an afterlife department dedicated to redeeming evil people. He chooses tenured marketing consultant Clint (Ryan Reynolds) – “the perfect combination of Mussolini and Seacrest” – as the latest “culprit” worthy of a chilling moral lesson. The PR guy proves a tough nut to crack, however, while Present falls in love with Clint’s assistant, Kimberly (Octavia Spencer). The songs are serviceable, but it’s the verbal sparring of Ferrell and Reynolds that hits the mark. SW
Friday, November 18, Apple TV+

The Phantom of Openness

Mark Lewis Jones and Mark Rylance in The Phantom of the Open.
Mark Lewis Jones and Mark Rylance in The Phantom of the Open. Photo: Nick Wall/AP

Golf has provided cinema with several brave underdog stories (Tin Cup, Happy Gilmore), but few have featured a player as terrible as Maurice Flitcroft. This real-life story follows the Barrow shipyard worker (played with likable precision by Mark Rylance) as redundancy prompts him to ponder a career in a sport he has absolutely no talent for. His attempts to qualify for the Open are equally comical and squirming, with moments of harsh financial reality that keep the film underperforming. SW
Friday, November 18, 11:45 am, 8:00 pm, Sky Cinema premiere

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