Critics Choice – Films on TV Monday 29th December
Superman Returns - BBC1, 8.30pm Alert Me
Bryan Singer, director of the first two X-Men films, turns his hand to the man in tights, with agreeable results. The question is, in this age of Dark Knights, when even James Bond is caught navel gazing and crying – do we care about the goodest of all the good guys? Tellingly, after being gone for years, the Man of Steel returns to a world that doesn’t necessarily need him (and his on-off bit on the side, Lois Lane, even won the Pulitzer for an article championing that view). As a character, Supes is inherently dishwater, especially in comparison to Batman – but that doesn’t mean that this film is a waste. It delivers on the big action sequences, and Kevin Spacey makes for an enjoyably unhinged baddie – but his big moneygrubbin’ plan just doesn’t quite bring the edge of, say, the Joker’s terrorist-maniac schemes. But then – this is the more clean-cut world of Superman, and for a Superman film, it’s pretty damn good.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith -FilmFour, 9pm Alert Me
Watch on as the too-good-looking Brad and Angelina perform real-life courting rituals through the thoroughly inconspicuous medium of film. The story is some guff about deadly assassins married to each other, but without either of them recognising.
Shakespeare In Love - ITV3, 10.45pm Alert Me
More disconcertingly-enjoyable Shakespeare, this time not to do with any of the plays, but the man himself. Everyone was fuming when it robbed Saving Private Ryan of the Best Picture Oscar, but when watching it, you realise what a work of quality it really is. A witty film with a smart twist on a well-trodden path.
Notorious - BBC2, 11.40am Alert Me
Amidst a commendable fug of alcoholism, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman star in this superb Hitchcock flick, and create the sort of on-screen chemistry previously seen only in earlier classics from Hollywood’s golden age, such as Bringing Up Baby.
Bringing Up Baby - BBC4, 00.20am Alert Me
Grant (Cary – not Hugh, thankfully) and Katherine Hepburn team up and create the sort of on-screen chemistry previously seen only in classics from Hollywood’s golden age, such as Mr. And Mrs. Smith. Wait – that might be wrong. Still, if you like your repartee to be witty, and your babies to not be babies, but actually leopards, then you’ll love this screwball comedy.