OTB’s Top 5 Films on TV This Week (26/11/12 – 2/12/12)

This may read as a press release for Film4’s schedules but to be honest with a line-up this good, we simply overlooked everything else. Film4 has such an impressive roster of films, and this week’s selection features classic ‘70s New Hollywood, DeNiro and Pacino mulling over some coffee in a cat-and-mouse thriller, and a modern British horror with more than a touch of The Wicker Man.

The Passenger: Monday 26 November 10:55pm, Film4

Film4’s Jack Nicholson season continues apace, with Michelangelo Antonioni’s drama about a disillusioned journalist in post-colonia Africa who takes on the identity of a dead arms dealer. The Passenger is said to be the film that liberated Nicholson, going to Europe, working outside the Hollywood system, upon his return he turned in arguably his two best performances, in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1976) and The Shining (1980).

Punch-Drunk Love: Wednesday 28 November 11:55pm, Film4

Paul Thomas Anderson’s underwhelming The Master is currently in cinemas, and on Wednesday Film4 airs his quirky 2002 romcom starring Adam Sandler in an unfamiliar straight role as psychologically troubled novelty supplier obsessed with collecting air miles. Sandler was widely praised for his role in the film, proving that beneath the bumbling veneer cultivated in brain-numbing slapstick fare, he can flourish playing serious parts too. It’s a shame he hasn’t appeared in more films that stretch his acting range, so all the more reason to watch this.

Kill List: Thursday 29 November 10:55pm, Film4

Ben Wheatley (whose latest film Sightseers is soon in UK cinemas) followed up his minimalist Brighton-based gangster effort Down Terrace with last year’s brilliant Kill List, a horror of mindfucking proportions. Nearly a year after a botched job, a hitman takes on a new assignment which leads him into an unremitting heart of darkness.

Don’t Look Now: Friday 30 November 12:55am, Film4

Nicolas Roeg’s greatest film sees a married couple decamp to Venice as they grieve over the recent death of their little daughter, encountering two elderly sisters, one of whom is a psychic. Symbolism ahoy, this is one of the all-time classic horror films.

Heat: Friday 30 November 9pm, Film4

Michael Mann’s 1995 cop thriller finally saw Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino spend screen time together. Pacino is a good cop on the trail of De Niro and his gang of armed robbers. Watching it, you really sense the film’s influence on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.