Crimes of the Future to Bohemian Rhapsody: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

Pick of the week

Crimes of the Future

David Cronenberg returns to the body horror that made his name, and it’s every bit as twisted as you’d hope. In a dilapidated near future, Saul Tenser – Cronenberg regular Viggo Mortensen – makes performance art from the mysterious new organs his body keeps producing. In perversely erotic shows, they are surgically removed by his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux). Lurking around are Kristen Stewart’s sly organ registry official and Scott Speedman’s plastic-eating radical. It’s a netherworld of accelerated evolution, where extreme body modification has become the hot new thing. Disturbing and graphic, but also thoughtful – just the way Cronenberg likes it.
Saturday 7 January, 10.10pm, Sky Cinema Premiere

Bohemian Rhapsody

Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Photograph: Nick Delaney/New Regency Pictures/Allstar

“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” The biopic of Queen singer Freddie Mercury stays reasonably true to the facts, which contain enough drama not to need embellishing. Bookended by the band’s triumphant Live Aid concert in 1985, it follows Mercury as he joins the group and makes them all stars – while coming to terms with his sexuality and, ultimately, the hollowness of fame. Rami Malek won an Oscar for his sympathetic, tortured Freddie, and the film wisely keeps the focus on him rather than his beige bandmates. SW
Saturday 7 January, Channel 4, 9pm

Pulp Fiction

John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction.
John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction. Photograph: Miramax/Allstar

Royale with cheese. Ezekiel 25:17. That syringe. If Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 crime caper sometimes feels like a string of bravura set pieces rather than a coherent narrative, it’s still a triumph of stylish film-making. From John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson’s hitman double act and Bruce Willis’s loved-up boxer to Uma Thurman’s mob girlfriend and Harvey Keitel’s underworld fixer, Tarantino and co-writer Roger Avary have created a host of memorable characters, spouting comically profane dialogue and backed by a soundtrack of neglected gems. SW
Sunday 8 January, Channel 4, 10pm

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Photograph: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

This romantic comedy from 2004 remains director Michel Gondry, writer Charlie Kaufman and star Jim Carrey’s finest achievement. The delightfully inventive but heartfelt drama puts a time-bending sci-fi twist on lost love, as Carrey’s introvert Joel undergoes a procedure that will erase all memory of his ex-girlfriend, the outgoing Clementine (Kate Winslet), after she has the same operation for him. However, as the wipe begins, he changes his mind and struggles to keep their chequered history intact.
Sky Cinema British Icons, Wednesday 11 January, 12.40am

The Estate

Toni Collette as Macey in The Estate.
Toni Collette as Macey in The Estate. Photograph: Alyssa Moran/Signature Entertainment

The imminent death of the childless, rich Aunt Hilda brings a plague of relatives to her door in Dean Craig’s consistently cynical comedy. Sisters Macey (Toni Collette) and Savanna (Anna Faris), their sleazy cousin Dick (David Duchovny) and the hard-edged Beatrice (Rosemarie DeWitt) scheme to get into her good graces – and each plan is more desperate than the one before. With Kathleen Turner biting into every line as Hilda, it’s refreshingly unsentimental stuff.
Friday 13 January, Sky Cinema Premiere, 10am, 8pm

Gangs of New York

Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York.
Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York. Photograph: Cinematic Collection/Alamy

Martin Scorsese has brought the New York of his era to life in several classic films, but here he offers up a vivid snapshot of his home city circa the mid-1800s. The Manhattan slum of Five Points is the setting for an epic tale of warring criminal groups, nascent party democracy and long-nurtured revenge. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Irish-American orphan Amsterdam returns to the borough to kill “American Native” hoodlum Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis), the man who murdered his gang leader father, Priest. There will be blood, racial tension and riots in a heady dramatic mix.
Friday 13 January, Film4, 9pm

Paranormal Activity

Katie Featherston in Paranormal Activity.
Katie Featherston in Paranormal Activity. Photograph: Moviestore Collection Ltd/Alamy

We may have the dubious pleasure of the eighth film in the series this year, but the thrill of the 2007 original still hasn’t faded. Adopting techniques pioneered in The Blair Witch Project, Oren Peli’s horror uses handheld cameras and CCTV to depict a couple terrorised by an unseen, malevolent force in their home. It’s surprising how effective a shifting bedsheet or slamming door can still be in inducing jump-scares, as Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat’s pair use modern gadgetry to investigate a possible demonic presence – but merely succeed in antagonising it. Friday 13 January, Horror Xtra, 11.05pm

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Crimes of the Future to Bohemian Rhapsody: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

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