Critic’s Choice: Films On TV Wednesday 24th December
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory – ITV1, 4.40pm Alert Me
The original version, made some 30 years before Johnny Depp dressed up as the editor of Vogue. This is more honest, less knowing and wry, and has rather simpler charms. Willy Wonka runs a fantabulous – yet secretive – chocolate factory, and poor little Charlie is the boy who wins a prize to get a tour around it. The Oompa-Loompas are scarcely explainable, yet still enjoyable, and Gene Wilder makes for a stonking, if less-showy, Willy Wonka.
Toy Story 2 – BBC1, 6.05pm Alert Me
More Pixar – more genius. Focusing on the fate of old, disused toys, this sequel packs more of an emotional punch than the first film. As an elegy for the cowboy, this is better than most westerns – one stirring scene, as cowgirl-toy Jessie gets passed over in favour of makeup, will have you reaching for a hankie. Witty and resonant, this is one of Pixar’s best – and for a company that has never made a bad film, that’s saying something.
American Psycho – FilmFour, 10.55pm Alert Me
Christian Bale’s killer brings some much-needed blood and guts to Christmas Eve. It’s what the public has been crying out for – all of those wasted years of It’s A Wonderful Life. What we really needed was a murderous yuppie!
The Big Heat – BBC2, 2.50am Alert Me
Bring in Christmas morning with some stereotypical, if brilliant, film noir. What could be more Christmassy than a hard boiled, straight laced cop waging a one-man crusade against the mob? Many, many things. Napalm, for one – but that doesn’t diminish the quality of this excellent film.