Pick of the week
No Time to Die
Daniel Craig gets a worthy epitaph to his reign as James Bond – a movie that is reassuringly action-packed and globetrotting, and that also has prominent roles for its female characters. We even get a new 007 who’s a woman (Lashana Lynch’s no-nonsense Nomi). Bond has retired from the service and is holed up in Jamaica but, naturally, it can’t last as figures from his past intrude. If Rami Malek’s villain, Lyutsifer Safin, is less than convincing (the name doesn’t help), there is enough spy business and explosive stunt work to make up for it. And Bond’s history with the returning Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) makes for a surprisingly affecting curtain call.
New Year’s Day, 8pm, ITV
Pixar comes over all metaphysical in Pete Docter’s clever and moving animated adventure. Amy Poehler voices Joy, one of five dominant emotions inside a young girl, Riley; it’s their job to moderate her feelings. However, a house move proves unsettling, then Sadness (Phyllis Smith) accidentally sets off a chain of disastrous changes to Riley’s memories and personality. It’s a brilliantly imaginative way to explore children’s emotional development, similar to Docter’s masterwork Up in how it slips profound subject matter into highly entertaining family fare.
New Year’s Eve, 2.50pm, BBC One
If you’re staying in on the final night of the year, you can get your vicarious clubbing thrills from Justin Kerrigan’s comedy, a paean to hedonistic, youthful fun. John Simm and Shaun Parkes play best mates Jip and Koop, anticipating a big weekend out in Cardiff with their friends to wash away the stench of their McJobs and relationship worries. Drugs, sex and dance music all play their part in inventive fashion (the stoned Star Wars chat is a highlight), and as a bonus there’s a young Danny Dyer in high-octane mode as their wayward pal Moff.
New Year’s Eve, 10.55pm, Great! Movies
The first day of 2023 provides several opportunities to slump on the settee in front of very, very long films. This Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton epic, tracing the Egyptian queen’s ill-fated romance with Roman general Mark Antony, is certainly the most opulent. At the time it was the most expensive film ever made, and most of the money is there in the costumes and sets – but the real interest is watching Taylor and Burton falling in love in real life. For a more ribald look at the same topic, Carry on Cleo is on at 10.50am on ITV3.
New Year’s Day, 12.45pm, BBC Two
You Were Never Really Here
Lynne Ramsay’s intense thriller focuses on Joaquin Phoenix’s “private contractor” Joe, who retrieves abducted children or runaways, by any means necessary (a hammer comes in handy). It’s not the career to ease the mind of a traumatised army veteran, and his latest task – saving a politician’s daughter from a network of child abusers – sends him down a deep hole of paranoia and violence. The edgy score by Jonny Greenwood only makes the action even more unsettling.
Tuesday 3 January, 11.55pm, Film4
The Pale Blue Eye
Scott Cooper’s 1830s-set murder mystery packs a chill, not least from its beautifully rendered wintry setting. The scene of the crime is West Point military academy in the Hudson Valley, New York, where a cadet is found dead with his heart cut out. Christian Bale’s detective Augustus Landor is hired to investigate and joins forces with a young would-be poet named Edgar Allan Poe (Harry Melling), who is a student there. The case has a feel of The Name of the Rose in its many arcane twists, while the weary Landor and the whip-smart Poe are a nicely contrasting pair of sleuths.
Available now, Netflix
Fighting With My Family
The true story of a teenage girl from Norwich who became a WWE wrestling star has been turned into a heartwarming comedy by Stephen Merchant. Florence Pugh plays the gothy Saraya, AKA Paige, who comes from a wrestling family: comically plain-speaking dad (Nick Frost) and mum (Lena Headey) plus talented brother Zak, played by Jack Lowden. However, she’s the only one that gets selected for a pro training camp in Florida, leaving Zak at home feeling like a failure. Their twin dynamic propels a lovely story, with a star cameo from the Rock to spice things up.
Friday 6 January, 11.30pm, Channel 4
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No Time to Die to The Pale Blue Eye: the seven best films to watch on TV this week
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