So that’s it, another year quickly drawing to a close. While you suffer the dregs of the festive season – like those weird green triangles in the Quality Streets – we run down the TV-film highlights that 2015 still has in store.
Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
Boxing Day, 1:20pm on ITV
A family-friendly Jaws for millennials, Jurassic Park tells the tale of a state-of-the-att theme park that– well, you know the rest. It’s the best damn film Spielberg has ever made about big angry somethings and the best film about things going wrong at a state-of-the-art theme park since Westworld.
A joyous ride that enables all who watch to be enthralled in the magic of the cinematic form.
Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)
Boxing Day, 8:30pm on ITV2
By far the best of the new Bond films, Skyfall gives us the story of a Bond who, returning to London licking his wounds, finds himself outmatched by a mysterious cyber-terrorist who has beef with his boss, M. Judi Dench is the heart of proceedings, which see M facing the mistakes of her past.
Oscar winner Sam Mendes is at the height of his directorial powers – who’d-a thought the man behind Revolutionary Road would so prove adept at action? – and the sheer level of talent involved is astonishing. 007 on his A-game.
Beetlejuice (Tim Burton, 1988)
Boxing Day, 9:00pm on ITV4
Tim Burton’s original macabre comedy with Michael Keaton as the exorcising ghost with the most out to help (though for villainous reasons) newly dead couple Alec Baldwin and Gena Davis. Winona Ryder also stars as the girl who befriends the duo. The musical numbers, jokes, and the stop motion sequences are beyond enjoyable.
Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson, 1964)
Sunday, 1:50 pm on BBC1
A long time favorite for old and young alike, the story that made a thousand childhoods and launched Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke into legendary status. With big songs and wonderful heart, and of course a an unforgettable story, Mary Poppins is Disney distilled to its purest form.
Superman (Richard Donner, 1978)
Sunday, 10:40am on ITV
You’ll believe a man can fly in the original superhero blockbuster. Gene Hackman is the broadly villainous Lex Luthor, Margot Kidder is whip-smart reporter Lois Lane, Marlon Brando cameos as absent Kryptonian dad Jor-El, and the late Christopher Reeves is Superman himself. The special effects might be somewhat dated, but Superman is a reminder that DC wasn’t always so grim and that Marvel wasn’t always the only game in town.
What Women Want (Nancy Meyers 2000)
Holiday Monday, 6:00pm on BBC2
A pre-bonkers Mel Gibson gives a great turn as a smug executive who discovers he can now hear women’s thoughts and uses it to his own gain. Of course he eventually succumbs to the charms of Helen Hunt and things take a turn for the sappy, but before then it’s a clever, and witty film with an off-the-wall romantic concept.
The Omen (Richard Donner, 1976)
Holiday Monday, 12:50am on C4
A chiller for all those out there, the tale of rich American Gregory Peck who adopts a child and moves to the UK only to discover the kid might be the Anti-Christ. Patrick Troughton and David Warner also star alongside an on-fire Billie Whitelaw for some scary chills in this supernatural horror film that might have people seriously rethinking their plans for parenthood.
The Queen (Stephen Frears, 2006)
Tuesday, 4:30pm on ITV
Chronicling the week following Princess Diana’s death, Frears understated drama has Helen Mirren give an award winning performance as Queen Elizabeth II with Michael Sheen brilliantly portraying then Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The Queen gives us a monarch torn between her feelings and public opinion and the unlikely help she gets from someone who could have easily used this as a chance to stick the knife in further. Reserved, but touching.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)
Wednesday, 10:30pm on ITV
Gene Wilder gives a definitive performance in a near perfect rendition of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book. The musical numbers are brilliant, with great numbers like The Candyman Can, Pure Imagination and of course the Oompa Loompa songs.
The tunnel sequence is stand out, and Wilder gives a mad but essentially lovable turn as the chocolatier in a hidden castle of candy – much more fulfilling than that strange ADHD nightmare of Tim Burton’s.
Monsters, Inc. (Pete Docter, 2001)
Wednesday, 4:20pm on BBC1
One of Pixar’s crown jewels has John Goodman and Billy Crystal as the voices of Sully and Mike two monsters who reside in a world beyond your closet door. Sully is the top scarer in the town, but villainous Randall (Steve Buscemi) and Mr Waternoose (the late James Coburn) conspire against him. It’s big on laughs and features Crystal on motormouth form.
Needful Things (Fraser C. Heston, 1993)
Wednesday, 10:50pm on Channel 5
A somewhat forgotten 90s supernatural thriller based on an equally forgotten Stephen King novel. Ed Harris is the sheriff of a small New England town that turns into a hell when enigmatic charmer Max von Sydow shows up with his new shop of oddities.
It’s wonderfully dark and twisted and features von Sydow deliver malice and gentlemanly charm in spades. Hardly essential King, but well worth a late-night tune-in.
Up (Pete Docter, 2009)
New Year’s Eve, 2:50pm on BBC1
A mighty film about life, death, love, loss and bravery. Ed Asner voices Mr Fredricksen, an angry old man who is still bitter after the death of his beloved wife Ellie. When annoying young kid Russell won’t leave him alone they go on an adventure in his flying house.
It’s big adventure with big heart but more than that, Up teaches kids that life is about more than just gain and loss but those who join you along the way.
Wreck-It Ralph (Rich Moore, 2012)
New Year’s Day, 4:30pm on BBC1
A post-Tangled but pre-Frozen Disney film that sits somewhere between the big action thrills of Big Hero 6 and the imagination of Pixar’s Toy Story.
John C. Reilly voices Ralph a video game villain who wants more from his life. Leaving his game he embarks on an adventure that takes him into the heart of a video game conspiracy and a lost princess. Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk and Sarah Silverman all add their vocal talents. Oh, and the songs are ridiculously catchy.
The Terminal (Steven Spielberg,2004)
New Year’s Day, 5:55pm on BBC2
Spielberg’s last collaboration with Hanks is somewhat based on a true story. Viktor Navorski is a native of Krakozhia but when his country in plunged into civil war he is forced to stay in JFK Airport for an uncertain amount of time. This leads to a series of funny, touching, and largely entertaining adventures with Hanks on full charm mode and Stanley Tucci as the big bad head of the airport.
Tangled (Nathan Greno & Byron Howard, 2010)
New Year’s Day, 6:00pm on C4
A take on the legend of Rapunzel but with a modern twist. Mandy Moore, Zachary Levy and Donna Murphy all provide great voices in this rip-roaring musical fairytale.
Tangled a wonderful film for all ages, and although like Frozen it seems to be a little embarrassed to be a fairy-tale it still matches the other Disney tales of old with wit and pizzazz.
Catch Me If You Can (Steven Spielberg, 2002)
New Year’s Day, 10:20pm on BBC2
As the tagline stated – “The true story of a real fake” – Catch Me If You Can stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale, Jr., a slick, amiable conman who spent a number of years posing as a teacher, a pilot, and a surgeon among other things. Tom Hanks stars as the FBI agent on his tail the whole time.
Martin Sheen, Amy Adams, Elizabeth Banks and Christopher Walken round off the cast in Spielberg’s enjoyable breezy crime caper. The opening credits are truly majestic and the entire film moves along at an easygoing pace. A hugely enjoyable romp