You Are Not My Mother to Jackie Brown: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

Pick of the week

You Are Not My Mother

In her arresting debut feature, Irish writer-director Kate Dolan explores the world of mental illness through horror tropes, specifically the darker corners of Celtic myth. Hazel Doupe plays lonely, bullied teenager Char, whose mother Angela (a superbly on-edge performance from Carolyn Bracken) appears to have manic depression. As Halloween approaches, Angela’s behaviour becomes dangerously erratic – but is the cause psychological or, as Char’s pagan-leaning granny believes, rooted in the supernatural? Dolan, one of a new wave of accomplished horror film-makers in Ireland, maintains the mystery for as long as possible as the family fracture.
Saturday 2 December, 11.40pm, Film4



Frances McDormand in Fargo.
Classic double act … Frances McDormand in Fargo. Photograph: Zuma Press/Alamy

The TV offshoot may have lost its lustre over five seasons, but Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 black comedy is still as biting as the icy weather that batters its Minnesota location. Indebted car salesman Jerry (a weasely William H Macy) hires two low-rent criminals – a classic double act of chatty Carl (Steve Buscemi) and silent Gaear (Peter Stormare) – to kidnap his wife for a ransom to be paid by his rich father-in-law. Frances McDormand is terrific as folksy but focused sheriff Marge, who gets on their tail as his plot goes comically, bloodily wrong. Oh Jeez!
Saturday 2 December, 9pm, Great! Movies


Jackie Brown

The least extravagant of Quentin Tarantino’s movies, this 1997 crime caper sidelines his usual stylistic trickery for the equally satisfying scams and double-crosses of Elmore Leonard’s source novel. There’s also more heart than he typically manages, with revitalised stars of yesteryear Pam Grier and Robert Forster adding pathos and experience to their portrayals. She’s a flight attendant caught by the Feds illegally carrying cash for Samuel L Jackson’s arms dealer; he’s the bail bondsman drawn into helping her escape her predicament.
Saturday 2 December, 9.40pm, Dave


Bagdad Cafe

German film-maker Percy Adlon clearly shares his compatriot Wim Wenders’s fascination with America. In this sand-tinted treat, he plonks Marianne Sägebrecht’s Bavarian hausfrau Jasmin in the middle of the US desert and has her interact with the motley denizens of a rundown roadside cafe/motel. CCH Pounder is the harassed owner, Brenda, shifting from mistrust to respect as Marianne – who, like her, has been abandoned by a no-good husband – brings a much-needed dash of vivacity to her life.
Sunday 3 December, 10.35pm, Talking Pictures TV


Shaun of the Dead

With Hot Fuzz and The World’s End to follow, here’s a chance to catch all of the Cornetto Trilogy. The first of director Edgar Wright’s big-screen threesome starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is the best, a zombie spoof set in suburban London that expands on the movie nerd angle of their TV comedy Spaced. Bored – and boring – mates Shaun (Pegg) and Ed (Frost) find hidden depths when the undead invade their semi-detached existence. Naturally, it all ends up in the pub. SW
Tuesday 5 December, 6.05pm, Sky Cinema Greats


Just Mercy

Michael B Jordan and Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy.
Enraging … Michael B Jordan and Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy. Photograph: Moviestore Collection Ltd/Alamy

The racial inequities embedded in the US justice system are shown in stark relief in Destin Daniel Cretton’s enraging, fact-based legal drama. Michael B Jordan is the film’s moral centre as Harvard-educated lawyer Bryan Stevenson, whose youthful ideals are tested in the case of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a Black forester in Alabama falsely sentenced to death for the murder of an 18-year-old white girl. Police intimidation, witness lies and deep-seated bigotry play their part in his campaign’s advances and setbacks, while adding up to a convincing case against capital punishment. SW
Tuesday 5 December, 9.30pm, BBC Three


The Wicker Man

Fifty years ago this month, Robin Hardy’s soon-to-be-cult movie was released as the B-picture on a double bill with Don’t Look Now. It has taken decades for it to be recognised as the equal of Nicolas Roeg’s masterpiece, but there’s no doubt now of its status as the pinnacle of British folk horror. It’s a chilling, sensual clash between Christian and pagan values on a Hebridean island, personified in Edward Woodward’s policeman – there to investigate a young girl’s disappearance – and Christopher Lee’s lord of the isle, where daylight offers no respite from the darkness. SW
Tuesday 5 December, 10pm, BBC Four