Choice of the week
Clifford the big red dog
A live-action movie remake of a 60-year-old children’s book will never win awards, especially not when it features Jack Whitehall performing an American accent only intermittently. But watch closely and Clifford the Big Red Dog justifies his own existence with his incredible supporting cast. Saturday Night Live alumni Kenan Thompson and Alex Moffat work hard to keep the film self-aware, while Tony Hale turns into a perfectly judged villain. Only John Cleese appears not to have received the memo, coating his character with a nauseating flicker. Other than that, better than it has a right to be. Stuart Legacy
Saturday June 25, 12:30 p.m. & 6:05 p.m., Sky Cinema Premiere
Hearts are beating hard
A gem of an under-watched film, Hearts Beat Loud stars Nick Offerman as a widowed father trying to connect with his daughter (Kiersey Clemons) through their shared love of music. Beautifully observed – any parent watching will wince at Offerman being too interested in his daughter’s life – Hearts Beat Loud has enough credibility in Brooklyn to keep it from drowning in sentimentality and enough warmth to save it of off-putting hipsterdom. Another big plus is Keegan DeWitt’s music.
Saturday, June 25, 4:30 p.m., SUPER! Movies
Borg vs. McEnroe
Janus Metz Pedersen’s 2017 film sets itself an almost impossible task, trying to dramatize a very dramatic tennis rivalry, starring two players who each had far more raw charisma than most Hollywood actors put together. And yet, thanks to a tense script and impressive casting choices, the film works like gangbusters. It focuses on Sverrir Gudnason’s Björn Borg, but Shia LaBeouf also does an explosive John McEnroe. Like its tonal cousin Ford v Ferrari, the beauty of Borg v McEnroe lies in the skill with which it avoids descending into parody.
Saturday June 25, 10:30 p.m., BBC Two
This feature documentary by Harri Shanahan and Siân A Williams manages to be several things at once. It’s a postcard from a very specific era (the early 1980s, when Thatcherism clashed with London’s post-punk S&M lesbianism). It’s a splashy guide to activism (topics are seen rappelling down the House of Lords and invading live news broadcasts). It’s a still angry reaction to Article 28. It’s home to one of the best Ian McKellen interviews you’ll ever hear, complete with a startling dental dam anecdote. In short, it has everything.
Tuesday, June 28, 1:05 a.m., Channel 4
The easiest movie in the world to recommend. If you have never seen Casablanca, here is your chance. If you’ve seen Casablanca, here’s your chance to shut out the rest of the world and see it again. It’s the 80th anniversary of Michael Curtiz’s wartime romance, and it’s amazing how well it’s aged. The plot – a self-serving cynic chooses between love and duty – remains relevant, and the film’s ending still manages to hit you where it hurts. Unbeatable.
Saturday June 25, 1:20 p.m., BBC Two, Thursday June 30, 9 p.m., BBC Four
In the meantime, here’s the Casablanca of found footage from the mid-2000s. Though much of its reputation has been stripped by its punishing onslaught of sequels, the original paranormal activity is still something of a classic. Deliberately (for budget reasons) spared, the film follows a couple as they move through their home trying to figure out the cause of flickering lights and thumping off-screen noises. The fluidity with which the mystery grows is astonishing and the result brutal. If you’ve been put off by all the inferior imitators, maybe it’s time to reacquaint yourself with the original.
Thursday, June 30, 9 p.m., Horror Xtra
House of Whipcord
Any film that opens with the words “This film is dedicated to those who are bothered by today’s lax moral codes and eagerly await the return of corporal punishment and capital punishment” will have an uphill battle to lead, but this campy low-budget 1974 British horror – about an old judge who runs a brutal correctional facility from his mansion – is cheap and mean in all the right ways, if you’re into that sort of thing. Hard to watch at times, it’s the kind of dirty mess that stays with you long after it’s over. Also keep your eyes peeled for a young Celia Imrie.
Friday, July 1, 11 p.m., Talking Pictures TV