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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Simon Wardell

The Killer to Planet of the Apes: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

Michael Fassbender in The Killer.
Strict routine … Michael Fassbender in The Killer. Photograph: Courtesy of Netflix

Pick of the week

The Killer

David Fincher’s new film, a cool hitman procedural, basks in the clinical pleasures of its genre. From the paraphernalia of the job – sniper rifles, fake passports, lock-ups in every city – and voiceover by Michael Fassbender’s (otherwise monosyllabic) protagonist to the skills that come in handy when his latest hit goes wrong, it’s a thriller where the messy stuff of life is always threatening to break through his strict routine. Stabs of emotion appear when the killer’s Dominican housekeeper is attacked, while his work soundtrack of Smiths songs (This Charming Man, I Know It’s Over) adds an amusing, ironic edge to proceedings. A gripping tale well done. S
Out now, Netflix

* * *

Planet of the Apes

Maurice Evans and Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes.
Bullish … Maurice Evans and Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes. Photograph: 20th Century Fox/Sportsphoto/Allstar

Featuring one of the greatest endings in all sci-fi cinema, Franklin J Schaffner’s 1968 film works both as a parable of human (and animal) rights and a rollicking, kid-friendly action adventure. Charlton Heston is astronaut Taylor, who crash-lands on a world where our simian cousins have evolved beyond humans and now rule, brutally. He quickly becomes the focus of the resistance, aided by chimps Zira (Kim Hunter) and Cornelius (Roddy McDowall). The excellent makeup quickly makes us forget the oddity of talking apes, while Heston is a bullish lead.
Saturday 11 November, 2.50pm, BBC Two

* * *

Drive My Car

From left: Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura.
real treat … (from left) Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura. Photograph: AP

This is a real treat – two recent works by Japanese film-maker Ryûsuke Hamaguchi. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is on Thursday, preceded by this meditative, moving adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story. After a personal tragedy, Hidetoshi Nishijima’s Tokyo actor-director Yūsuke heads to Hiroshima to stage a multilingual version of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. The power of telling and listening to stories plays out as he is driven to and from rehearsals by a young woman, Misaki (Tōko Miura), who shares his sense of loss and unresolved guilt. SW
Wednesday 15 November, 10.50pm, Film4

* * *


Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin.
His moment … Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin. Photograph: David Lee/AP

He is somewhat forgotten in the history of the fight for Black civil rights in the US, but Bayard Rustin finally gets his moment in George C Wolfe’s terrific biopic. As played by Coleman Domingo, Rustin is an exuberant life-of-the-party kind of guy, great at organising and rousing his volunteers after he conceives the idea of a march on Washington in 1963 – the one that culminated in his friend Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. He is also gay and a former communist, leading to tension within and without the movement. A stirring story of pluck and passion. SW
Friday 17 November, Netflix

* * *

Mafia Mamma

Toni Collette in Mafia Mamma.
Murderous intent … Toni Collette in Mafia Mamma. Photograph: cdpa/PR

Toni Collette is eminently watchable in pretty much anything she turns her hand to. This broad comedy about unappreciated American wife Kristin, who discovers she is the heir to an Italian mob operation, relies on her ability to be either pathetic or forceful as the plot dictates. Despite their murderous intent, these are not the wiseguys of The Godfather (though the characters reference the film a lot) – and the newly empowered Kristin’s perils prove to be partly of a romantic nature. SW
Friday 17 November, Prime Video

* * *


Nicolas Cage and Nicholas Hoult in Renfield.
Breezy vampire comedy … Nicolas Cage and Nicholas Hoult in Renfield. Photograph: Michele K Short/AP

AKA Dracula Meets the Self-Help Movement. Actually, it’s his longtime familiar Robert Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) who is in the therapy group, one for “co-dependents”; in the opinion of the count (a reliably over-the-top Nicolas Cage) they’re merely dinner. Chris McKay’s breezy comedy ladles on the gore – dismemberment is a favourite – as Robert finally attempts to get out from under the vampire’s bloody thumb, helped by Awkwafina’s incorruptible cop, and prevent his master’s hook-up with Shohreh Aghdashloo’s mob clan. SW
Friday 17 November, 12.10pm, 8pm, Sky Cinema Premiere

* * *

Dead Man’s Shoes

Toby Kebbell and Paddy Considine in Dead Man’s Shoes.
Chilling … Toby Kebbell and Paddy Considine in Dead Man’s Shoes. Photograph: Filmfour/Sportsphoto/Allstar

Recently rereleased in cinemas, Shane Meadows’s 2004 western-style revenge drama retains its cutting edge. Paddy Considine (who co-wrote) is chillingly implacable as squaddie Richard, who returns to his Derbyshire home town to seek vengeance on a local group of criminals for what they did to his brother (Toby Kebbell), who has learning disabilities. Led by Gary Stretch’s Sonny, they are an occasionally comic bunch – 2CV-driving, Pot Noodle-eating – but Meadows never loses sight of Richard’s trauma as the film gets darker and darker. SW
Friday 17 November, 10.50pm, Film4

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