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Sixteen films for the week ahead to help take your mind off Covid

16 films on TV this week to help you ignore that darkening sky

Movie Guru Ronan O'Meara gives his picks of the week

Ronan O'Meara has been scouring the TV schedules (free-to-air channels only) to find films to watch over the next week – here are 16 to choose from.

Hopefully you'll find something to hit the spot and maybe you'll even be introduced to a future favourite.

Jackie Brown: Saturday, Dave @ 9pm

An air hostess arrested for smuggling money finds herself caught between a drug dealer and the law and decides to make things work for herself. Arguably Quentin Tarantino's most accomplished and mature film to date.This lacks the blood & fireworks of his earlier films but makes up for it with glorious dialogue and acting and a super cast including Pam Grier as Jackie with Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda & Robert De Niro in fine supporting form.

In Her Shoes: Saturday, TG4 @ 9.20pm

Maggie and Rose are sisters but they couldn't be any more different if they tried. A drunken indiscretion finally rips them apart but could an address and a name from the past be the thing that finally unites them? This humane, honest and very watchable comedy drama nails the sibling relationship in a way few others do and that's down to two pitch perfect performances (wicked alliteration there) from Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz.

In The Heat Of The Night: Sunday, BBC2 @ 12.10am

Mr Corbett has been killed. Mr Tibbs arrives to investigate his murder. Mr Corbett died in the Deep South. Mr Tibbs is Black. The Deep South doesn't like Mr Tibbs. This is a classic that lives up to the name. Draped in a sweltering atmosphere this crime drama will hook you from the off with 2 stunning turns from Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger. Sadly it's still a very topical watch that will enrage you as much as it entertains you.

The Natural: Sunday, Sony Movies @ 3am

Using a bat he created out of a tree struck by lightning a young man appears out of nowhere to take the world of baseball by storm in the depression struck 1930's. A magical paean to one of the famous American sports led by a first rate turn from Robert Redford. You don't have to like baseball to enjoy this one. Just lay back and let it and that famous soundtrack wash over you. Oh and wait til you see that supporting cast. 

Detroit: Sunday, BBC2 @ 10pm

Detroit, Michigan. The Algiers motel. 1967. A group of teenagers get caught up in the aftermath of a race riot and have the misfortune to come into contact with a group of police officers. Based on real life this Kathryn Bigelow drama is a harsh, tense look at race relations in the US of A. John Boyega and a very unsettling Will Poulter lead a cast full of faces you'll recognise. Not a film you could enjoy but an important one.

The Desperate Hours: Sunday, Talking Pictures TV @ Midnight

Three scumbags are on the run following a prison break and they hold up in a house belonging to the Hilliard family while they wait for the next part of their plan to arrive. This film is 65 years old and it's still a nail bitingly suspenseful watch due to a hateful and unpredictable turn from a sweaty and nervous Humphrey Bogart. A movie that will leave you thinking about what you'd do for your family in the same situation. So much better than the 90's remake.

The Ladykillers: Monday, Film4 @ 4.55pm

A motley crew of criminals pretend to be musicians so they can kill a little old lady and rob a bank. Things do not go to plan. Not one bit. Another classic from Ealing studios and one of the funniest English films ever made. This is a film that will make you laugh, proper big belly laughs. It's so much fun and with a killer cast to boot. Alec Guinness in the lead just nails it, and why wouldn't he be with top notch support from Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom.

Double Jeopardy: Monday, TG4 @ 10.05pm

Libby and Nick have the ideal life until one day Nick disappears from their boat and a blood covered Libby is blamed for his murder. But all is not what it seems. It never is, is it. A splash of Hitchcock, a touch of film noir and a whole load of b-movie pulp mix well together and the result is this movie. Its a predictable enough watch but two nicely judged showings from Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones help things to chug along well.

Been So Long: Tuesday, Film4 @ 9pm

Simone doesn't get out much these days. Her daughter is sick and she's a caring mother. But a rare night out with friends sounds promising and gets better when she meets Raymond. But might he be trouble? Michaela Cole who was amazing recently in I May Destroy You is a charming & well drawn lead in this likable London set musical drama. A subplot about a dangerous young man feels wedged in but the main story is so good you won't care.

I Am Not Your Negro: Tuesday, BBC4 @ 11.05pm

A documentary about the history of racism in the United States and what it means to be born Black in a country that hates you. It's tough going and contains some very upsetting archival footage but it's a necessary watch because there's still such a way to go over there in terms of race politics. Narrator Samuel. L. Jackson conveys writer James Baldwin's words superbly. The most important thing you'll watch this week.

Beau Geste: Wednesday, TCM @ 1.45am

3 adopted brothers who live in high society London finds themselves in the French foreign legion after a priceless family heirloom goes missing. Gary Cooper, Ray Milland and Robert Preston play the siblings and all hit the spot. A big epic film about the meaning of brotherhood. The story is compelling, the characters are great and as it was shot on location in the desert it looks fantastic too. A quintessential rainy day film that's showing at silly o'clock

Carlito's Way: Wednesday, ITV4 @ 10.30pm

Carlito Brigante is out of jail and he's staying out. But for a man raised on the streets of Spanish Harlem that's a lot easier said than done. Brian De Palma's 1993 crime drama is a masterpiece, at once exciting, suspenseful, brutal and seeped in a sense of sadness about what could have been. Al Pacino is at the top of his game here and gets excellent back up from Luis Guzman, Penelope Ann Miller and a venal Sean Penn.

Quadrophenia: Thursday, TCM @ 11.05pm

Jimmy hates his life and is only happy when he's on his scooter and surrounded by his mod friends. One day they take a faithful trip to the South coast of England and his life changes forever. A true classic from an age when youth subcultures were still very much a thing. A look at life's high peaks and deep deep valleys led by an angry and raw Phil Daniels. Sting as Ace Face is flawless as disappointment personified.

Tin Star: Thursday, Film4 @ 12.50pm

A bounty hunter arrives into a town on the edge of falling into a violent abyss. The sheriff's been killed and a trainee is in his place. The young man needs help badly but will the jaded, cynical bounty hunter do the right thing? You can always count on an Anthony Mann western to get the job done and this one does in spades. Tense, intelligent, filled with proper characters and sadly mostly forgotten these days. Henry Fonda and Anthony Perkins do well leading a cast of genre faces you'll recognise.

Unless: Friday, RTÉ2 @ 10pm

In snowy Toronto a well off family's life is thrown into upheaval when they discover their daughter has dropped out of college and is now living in a shelter and spending her days sitting on the streets. Irish director Alan Gilsenan's 2016 film is a heartfelt tale that's prone to pretension in places but a stunner of a turn from the always brilliant Catherine Keener as a heartbroken mam will keep you watching until the end.

Get On Up: Friday, BBC2 @ 11.30pm

The story of  James Brown, told in a fractured narrative, from his poverty stricken childhood in the 1930's through his successful 60's and 70's to his trouble filled later years. Lead actor Chadwick Boseman sadly died in August and here we get to see how good he could be when he wasn't obscured by masks or CGI. This is a fine watch, filled with some wicked tunes that thankfully is afraid of showing all the sides of the man it's about.


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