Shoplifters to Isle of Dogs: the seven best films to watch on TV

Pick of the week


The poet laureate of the unconventional family, Hirokazu Kore-eda, brings his compassionate gaze to bear on another atypical household. Lily Franky twinkles as Osamu, an amiable Fagin-like father figure to a boy, Shota (Kairi Jyo), whom he has trained in the art of shoplifting. One cold night they come upon a neglected five-year-old girl, Yuri (Miyu Sasaki), and take her back to the cramped home they share with Osamu’s partner Nobuyo, plus the old widow who owns it and a younger woman. As Yuri is drawn into their precarious lives, questions of Osamu and Nobuyo’s motives and history – and what constitutes the ideal family – filter through this touching drama.
Thursday 19 January, 2.20am, Channel 4


Hugh, are you? … Images.
Disturbing … Images.

An outlier in Robert Altman’s career of mostly socially minded dramas, this 1972 film is a tight, tense psychological horror. Susannah York is children’s author Cathryn, who starts hearing voices and seeing people who aren’t there. To regain her sanity, she and her photographer husband Hugh (René Auberjonois) head off to their rural holiday home. It’s a tranquil place but visions of a dead lover mingle with the real presence of a former fling to fragment her sense of reality and identity – in convincingly disturbing ways.
Saturday 14 January, 11.30pm, Talking Pictures TV

This Is Spinal Tap

Mock’n’roll … This Is Spinal Tap.
Mock’n’roll … This Is Spinal Tap. Photograph: Andre Csillag/Rex Features

With a very belated sequel in the works, here’s a chance to swot up on the lyrics and lines from one of the greatest comedies ever made. Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer are the long-running British heavy metal band chronicled by Rob Reiner’s documentarian on a US tour that goes disastrously, hilariously wrong. From ill-fated drummers and unusual amps to irony-free songs and badly measured stage sets, the film is a slew of smart observations about ageing rockers.
Saturday 14 January, 11.55pm, BBC One

John Wick

Terrific … John Wick.
Terrific … John Wick. Photograph: 87ELEVEN/Allstar

Whether it’s a concept deserving of three (and counting) sequels is debatable, but the first outing for Keanu Reeves’s relentless retired assassin is terrific, action-packed stuff. The theft of his 69 Ford Mustang and murder of the puppy left to him by his dead wife sets Wick on a path of revenge against his former employer, Russian mobster Viggo (Michael Nyqvist), and his feckless son Iosef (a wonderfully wretched Alfie Allen). Reeves is suavely deadpan as the hitman feared by all other hitpeople, amid finely choreographed gunplay and fisticuffs.
Sunday 15 January, 10.15pm, ITV1

Isle of Dogs

Exquisite … Isle of Dogs.
Exquisite … Isle of Dogs. Photograph: 20th Century Fox

Wes Anderson returned to the stop-motion animation form used to fine effect in Fantastic Mr Fox for this typically arch adventure. It’s set in a Japanese region where all dogs have been banished to an offshore rubbish dump due to disease. The scheming mayor’s young ward, Atari, flies to the island in search of his pet, and falls in with a canine pack voiced by the likes of Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton and Bill Murray. Influenced by Japanese art, it’s exquisitely rendered and wryly comic.
Monday 16 January, 6.55pm, Film4


Paranoid android … Jung_E. Photograph: Netflix

Yeon Sang-ho, creator of Train to Busan and Netflix hit Hellbound, ponders the nature of existence while smashing things up in this dystopian sci-fi tale. The brain of comatose war hero Jung Yi (Kim Hyun-joo) is uploaded 40 years later into a series of experimental combat robots, RoboCop-style, as a war between Earth and space colonists rages. Her daughter, Seo-Hyun (Kang Soo-yeon), is the lead researcher but becomes concerned about how her mother’s body is being exploited by the corporation that owns it. The android-on-android action arrives late in the day, but it’s worth it.
Friday 20 January, Netflix


Hitting new heists … Margot Robbie in Dreamland.
Hitting new heists … Margot Robbie in Dreamland. Photograph: Ursula Coyote/AP

Margot Robbie, always worthy of your time, shines as a bank robber on the run in Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s Great Depression crime drama. After a heist goes wrong, Allison (Robbie) hides out on a failing small-town farm in Texas, where she persuades teenager Eugene (Finn Cole) into helping her evade capture. He is drawn to her newness and vivacity, and also the possibility of escape she offers from his dead-end future. It’s a film of dust, drought and desperation with daunting widescreen landscapes that owe an obvious debt to Terrence Malick.
Friday 20 January, 9pm, Film4

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