Beau Is Afraid to Belfast: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

<span>Photograph: Landmark Media/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Landmark Media/Alamy

Pick of the week

Beau Is Afraid

In a year of commercial disappointments, Ari Aster’s latest probably isn’t the most surprising. A three-hour arthouse romp that takes the form of a surreal road movie that may or may not only exist in the mind of its protagonist, Beau Is Afraid was never going to challenge Barbie when it came to getting bums on seats in cinemas – and it confused a lot of fans who turned out to see the new Joaquin Phoenix film when it was released earlier this year. But it’s much more of a natural fit on streaming, where viewers are free to pause the action, pace around and try to digest exactly what they’re watching. If you let it in, this weird and extremely funny film will stay with you for ever.
Saturday 25 November, 8am, 4.50pm, Sky Cinema Premiere



Kenneth Branagh’s directorial career has been all over the shop for the last decade, taking in the sort of gun-for-hire IP work (Marvel, Jack Ryan, one of those Disney live-action remakes) he wouldn’t have touched in the 90s. Belfast, then, feels like his attempt to reset the clock. Black and white, highly authored and intensely personal, Belfast is a film about Branagh’s childhood during the Troubles. Some might claim that it was a transparent bid for Oscar glory, coming just three years after Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, but it’s undeniably affecting nonetheless.
Saturday 25 November, Netflix


Whisky Galore!

John Gregson as Sammy MacCodrun inWhisky Galore!
Anti-establishment fun … John Gregson as Sammy MacCodrun inWhisky Galore! Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive

Forget the cosy 2016 remake, the original of the anti-imperial satire remains by far and away the best. Made in 1949, this Ealing comedy about a Hebridean community banding together to rescue 50,000 cases of whisky that escaped a shipwreck remains charm personified. Shot on location on the Isle of Barra, it exudes a sense of gentle, subversive, anti-establishment fun. Along with Passport to Pimlico and Kind Hearts and Coronets, this is responsible for putting Ealing comedies on the map. Watch it, then make plans to visit the Hebrides.
Saturday 26 November, 3.05pm, BBC Two


Love Again

At this time of year, we’re inundated with films about pretty girls in the big city who find love despite all odds. Love Again is certainly one of them, with Priyanka Chopra Jonas playing the pretty girl, New York playing the big city and a boyfriend killed in a road traffic accident providing the odds. But Love Again has one thing going for it that none of the competition can boast: Céline Dion playing herself as a sort of universal love guru, in scenes shot separately from the rest of the cast and still running away with every frame.
Sunday 26 November, 10.15am, 6pm, Sky Cinema Premiere


May December

Natalie Portman as Elizabeth and Julianne Moore as Gracie in May December.
Devious … Natalie Portman as Elizabeth and Julianne Moore as Gracie in May December. Photograph: François Duhamel/AP

Todd Haynes’s Carol is now eight years old, and it is still the benchmark for films about female obsession. His newest film shows a darker flipside to that movie’s languidness. Natalie Portman plays an actor sent to shadow the real-life inspiration for her new role: a woman who seduced a teenage boy in her 30s. It’s a twisty, devious movie that often veers into high camp – but the main draw is to watch Portman and the woman (Julianne Moore) circle each other, trying to get what they want.
Sky Cinema from 8 December.



Almost a quarter of a century ago, Richard Curtis wrote a Christmas special called Bernard and the Genie, about a humdrum corporate worker (Alan Cumming) whose life is turned around by a genie (Lenny Henry). Genie is a direct remake. Here, the worker is Paapa Essiedu, the genie is Melissa McCarthy and the production budget is noticeably larger than the original, which allows the genie to actually fulfil some wish-fulfilment for once. Was the world crying out for this remake? No. Will it keep your kids quiet while you sneak off to wrap their presents? Oh absolutely.
Friday 1 December, 11.25am, 8pm, Sky Cinema Premiere


The Naughty Nine

From left: Deric McCabe, Camila Rodriguez, Madilyn Kellam and Winslow Fegley in the Naughty Nine
A rare treat … The Naughty Nine. Photograph: Jonathan Wenk/Disney

At some point in the next few weeks, you’re going to crack and watch a Christmas film. You could pick one of the thousands of identikit Hallmark productions, or you could reach out of your comfort zone and watch The Naughty Nine, an Ocean’s Eleven-style heist movie about a troublemaking kid who decides to squad up and infiltrate Santa’s workshop to get himself off the naughty list. Winslow Fegley – last seen being the best thing in Lyle, Lyle Crocodile – heads the film’s young ensemble. One of those rare treats that’s much better than it needs to be.
Friday 1 December, Disney+