2022 – Vera Drake to Ex Machina: The Seven Best Movies to Watch on TV This Week | Movie

Choose the week

Vera Drake

Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake. Photo: Film Council / Allstar

With Roe v Wade threatening in the US, Mike Leigh’s heartbreaking 2004 drama premiere comes just in time. Imelda Staunton stars as Vera, a working-class, community-oriented mother in 1950s London who cleans the homes of the rich, looks after her neighbors and performs illegal abortions on Fridays. She does the latter for free to help women in need – but it’s a dangerous procedure that she hides from her family. Amid the copious teacups and veils of many Leigh’s regulars, the film is an indictment of the criminalization of women’s choices and a reminder that the law is not equal for all strata of society.
Thursday, June 2, 9 p.m. AMC


ex machine

Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina. Photo: Movie 4 / Allstar

Alex Garland pushes the boundaries of modern technology and sees what’s cracking, in black mirror style, in the 2015 sci-fi thriller. Domhnall Gleeson plays Caleb, a young programmer who is invited to his remote mountain home by his billionaire big-tech boss Nathan (Oscar Isaac). He’s there to test Nathan’s AI-created Ava (Alicia Vikander) to see if she can pass as a human. Thought battles emotions as Caleb is drawn to a beautiful, seemingly vulnerable robot while an ethic of creating (and destroying) conscious life is highlighted.
Saturday, May 28, 11:20 PM, Movie 4


Jeremiah Johnson

Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson.
Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson. Photo: TCD / Alamy

This beautifully edited 1972 Western movie might remind you of little more than Alejandro Iñárritu’s The Revenant. Wannabe hunter/fisherman Robert Redford struggles to survive in the Rockies as he learns his trade, eccentric Helmen and Native American tribes (friendly and hostile) as he faces death in its many forms. Sidney Pollack’s compelling film contains comedic moments (Johnson finds himself by chance with an Aboriginal bride), but also acknowledges the harshness and loneliness of his chosen life.
Sunday, May 29, 12:45 PM, TCM Movies


Interstellar

Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar.
Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar. Photo: Legendary Images / Allstar

Ambition is always a laudable adjective in a movie, and astrophysicist science fiction Christopher Nolan packs a punch. Matthew McConaughey plays an American astronaut turned farmer on a doomed near-future Earth who is chosen for a perilous mission through an unexplained wormhole to a galaxy where a habitable home for humanity can be found. It’s mind-absorbing existential stuff – especially at the end – but through a series of astonishing and time-changing props, the simple, if cosmic power of love prevails.
Wednesday, 9 pm, Sky Cinema Greats


cat lovers

Simon Simon in Cat People.
Simon Simon in Cat People. Photo: TCD / Alamy

From director/producer to the team of Jacques Tourneur and Val Luton, this seductive 1942 RKO horror film is featured here with their other collaboration, I Walked With a Zombie. Oliver von Kent Smith marries Serbian Irina (Cat Simon Simon), but she refuses to consummate the marriage, believing legend that she will turn into a tiger when she is raised. The film is more suggestive than the drawing, and it gets goosebumps from what our minds create from the play of light and dark.
Thursday, June 2, 9:35 pm, BBC Four


Brooklyn

Domhnall Gleeson and Sawyers Ronan in Brooklyn.
Domhnall Gleeson and Sawyers Ronan in Brooklyn. Photo: Lionsgate/Allstar

John Crowley’s adaptation of Colm Toibin’s novel focuses on Saoirse Ronan’s accepted portrayal of Ellis, a young woman in Ireland in 1951 who emigrate to New York. She leaves her silly small town to seize the opportunities that America offers – from work and college to romance with Italian-American plumber Tony (Emory Cohen). But the lure of the old homeland remains, and when tragedy brings her home, she feels emotionally compelled to stay longer. The differences between the US and Ireland are clear but never cliched as we watch Ellis struggle to live her life on her own terms.
Thursday, June 2 at 11.40pm, BBC One


Resurrection Matrix

Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss in The Matrix Resurrections.
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss in The Matrix Resurrections. Photo: Picture Lux/Hollywood Archives/Alamy

Whether this sequel to the classic trilogy was necessary is debatable. But the return of Lana Wachowksi offers a nostalgic reboot of the philosophies, characters, and even scenes from previous influential films like Thomas (Keanu Reeves) and Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) — or are they really Neo and Trinity? Knowing what is hypothetically real and what is real. Everything is dead relentlessly, with Reeves following Ted’s aging in the latest Bill & Ted update and enjoying playing another former hero contemplating his own death.
Friday, June 3, 10:00 a.m., 8:00 p.m. Sky Cinema premiere