Sixteen films to help you get through the mid-term break

Ronan O'Meara


Ronan O'Meara

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 as we look ahead to what should have been the mid-term break for schools

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


The Little Stranger: Saturday, Channel 4 @ 9pm

Just after the second world war a doctor is called to a crumbling country mansion to tend to a patient. It's a mansion his family has been long connected to and there's secrets lurking behind the walls of the old family home. Irish director Lenny Abrahamson's 2018 gothic chiller is a sedately paced affair but it's atmospheric twists and finely tuned performances from Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson and Will Poulter will hook you in fast.

Mulholland Drive: Saturday, TG4 @ 9.30pm

A fresh faced ingénue looking to be a star and an amnesiac woman recovering from a car crash meet and lean on each other to find answers in a sinister Hollywood. David Lynch's startling LA set drama/horror/thriller is a film you'll either love or despise but it's one that will worm it's way into your head and set up camp for days. Laura Harring and Naomi Watts lead a stunning cast. Don't watch this one while imbibing in any mind altering substances.  

The Guest: Saturday, Sony Movies @ 10.50pm

A family is totally upended when a war veteran claiming to have been a friend of their dead son turns up at the door and wiggles his way into their life. An entertaining and knowing homage to the action films and home invasion thrillers of the 90's with a little splash of horror thrown in for good measure.  Funny, nasty and totally absurd. This is a pleasing way to spend 2 hrs. Maika Monroe and Dan Stevens are both deadly.

Horns: Sunday, Film4 @ 1.10am

One morning a young man wakes up with horns growing from his head and the ability to get people to admit their darkest secrets. Daniel Radcliffe shakes off his Harry Potter persona to star in this gory and surreal tale that will upset you in places and make you snort laughing in others. A genuine oddity of a film but one that's both original and interesting. Juno Temple, James Remar & Kathleen Quinlan shine too.

A Matter Of Life And Death: Sunday, BBC2 @ 2.15pm

A WW2 fighter pilot jumps to his death from a burning plane but due to an administrative error in Heaven he gets a chance to argue for his life. This is, simply put, an outstanding film. Yeah, it sounds silly but in the hands of  Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger it becomes a really affecting piece of work. It's wondrous stuff, packed with imagination and superb acting from David Niven and Kim Hunter amongst others.

Love, Simon:  Sunday, Film4 @ 9pm

Simon is gay and no one knows. Not his family, not his friends. After he makes an online connection with a fellow classmate, a simple mistake sets in motion a choice that will change his life. This 2018 comedy romance is an enjoyable and emotive watch that will strike a chord with many young people struggling with personal issues and it's charming cast lead by Nick Robinson and Katherine Langford will keep you smiling throughout.

Edie: Sunday, BBC2 @ 10.45pm

Edie's 83 years old. Edie should be slowing down by now but nope, she wants to try something new after her husband's death so decides to climb the tallest mountain in Scotland. Did I mention Edie's 83? Sheila Hancock is great as a woman who's chosen to not give up on the dreams of youth quite yet. Add in nice supporting turns from Kevin Guthrie and Paul Brannigan and some glorious scenery and you get a very likable film.

Barry Lyndon: Monday, TCM @ 7.25am

The life and times of a young chancer in 18th century Ireland who is forced out of the country and has no choice but to join the British army. This is one of Stanley Kubrick's least talked about films but one of his most satisfying and humane ones. Ryan O'Neal plays the lead, and yeah his accent is ropey in places but he gets the job done. It's a beautiful looking film too who's pace may be offputting to some but stick with it and you'll love it.

Dallas Buyers Club: Monday, TG4 @ 9.30pm

After taking a few too many risks in his personal life Ron finds out he's HIV positive and death is most likely soon. He sets out to do something about it. Then he realises he can help others too. Matthew McConaughey is in wicked form as an initially unpleasant chap who sees the error of his ways when it's just too late. A moving watch but one that finds time for a bit of humour too. Jennifer Garner and Steve Zahn do super things in support.

The Court Martial Of Billy Mitchell: Tuesday, Film4 @ 2.50pm

Based on a true story, this film is about the trial of an army general, who when disillusioned by his superiors lack of belief in aerial warfare decided to question the system. An absorbing film about standing up for what you believe in from Otto Preminger led by an quality showing from Gary Cooper in the title role. Rod Steiger as a lawyer facing off against him steals the show though with a blistering performance.

The Hitch-Hiker: Tuesday, Talking Picture TV @ Midnight

From the pen and directorial gaze of the mighty Ida Lupino comes the story of two fishermen who pick up a hitch-hiker who tells them he's going to murder them when their drive through the Californian desert comes to an end. This one's a cracker, a menacing, tension packed slice of film noir (first one ever directed by a woman btw) that moves like a train and leads to a very well earned finish. Edmond O'Brien, Frank Lovejoy and William Talman all play their parts effectively.

Beautiful Thing: Wednesday, Film4 @ 11.20pm

Jamie and Steven are classmates living side by side in the concrete hell of a south London housing complex. They are also in love with each other but 1990's London is rather intimidating for young men who felt different. This one is a nice watch, sensitive and touching but with plenty of room for fun too. Glen Barry and Scott Neal do well as the lads but it's Linda Henry as Jamie's mam Sandra who really shines.

Rudderless: Thursday, Channel 4 @ 1am

In the aftermath of an all too topical tragedy a father uses his son's direction and influence to give his life some meaning again. William H. Macy directs this lovely little story and does it well, deftly balancing light and dark moments. It's an upsetting but ultimately uplifting watch and has a excellent cast with Billy Crudup in the lead supported well by Felicity Huffman, Laurence Fishburne, Anton Yelchin & Macy himself.

Stan & Ollie: Friday, BBC1 @ 8.25pm

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have reached the twilight of their comedy career together and head across the Atlantic to try and revive their career. It's a trip that stirs up a lot of emotion. This is fantastic, a film for everyone. A universal tale of lifelong friendship and the stresses that can arrive along the way but also a beautifully told slice of cinematic history with Steve Coogan and John C.Reilly playing their parts wonderfully. Nina Arianda as the formidable Ida Laurel nails her part too.

Don't Go: Friday, RTÉ2 @ 9.30pm

Ben and Hazel have moved to Ireland to restart their lives after the death of their daughter. Lately Ben has started to have strange dreams. Dreams that are having a huge effect on his waking life. This one is an odd watch that most definitely won't appeal to everyone but some startling imagery from the mind of Irish director David Gleeson and compelling turns from Stephen Dorff and Melissa George make it worth your time. 

Witness: Friday, BBC1 @ 11.35pm

In a Philadelphia train station a young Amish boy witnesses a murder and now the killers are out for his blood. To protect him a cop goes undercover in the Amish community and in doing so learns their way of life. A fine, slowburn thriller from director Peter Weir that gives us a look at a way of life rarely seen onscreen, while hitting all the beats you'd expect a crime drama to hit. Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis work well together.

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