Sorry to Bother You to Django Unchained: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

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LaKeith Stanfield shines in Boots Riley’s surreal Gondryesque comedy, while Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz star in Quentin Tarantino’s comic tale of slavery and retribution


Pick of the week

Sorry to Bother You

LaKeith Stanfield in Sorry to Bother You.
LaKeith Stanfield in Sorry to Bother You. Photograph: AF/Alamy

This off-the-deep-end satire from political rapper turned film-maker Boots Riley heads for the surreal uplands beloved of Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman. LaKeith Stanfield brings his stoner charm to Cassius (AKA Cash), a poor Oakland resident who finds he is a natural at telemarketing, mainly due to the “white voice” he is encouraged to use on callers. However, his friends, including radical artist girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson), worry he is compromising his morals for money. Riley takes a hardline with the inequities of capitalism – along with sideswipes at Black stereotyping and art world posturing – but it’s done with a playfulness and keen eye for the unexpected.
Saturday 7 May, 10pm, BBC Three

***

The Personal History of David Copperfield

It’s a bit of a task fitting Dickens’s semi-autobiographical novel into two hours but Armando Iannucci has managed it in most excellent fashion. Dev Patel (the colourblind casting is a masterstroke) plays David, who goes from much-loved son to abused orphan to naive, lovelorn youth, forever surrounded by eccentric characters who fuel his imagination and, ultimately, his writing. Shot in an off-kilter style that echoes Lewis Carroll, it’s a very funny film, with a top-notch cast from Tilda Swinton’s donkey-obsessed Betsey Trotwood to Peter Capaldi’s pathetic Mr Micawber.
Saturday 7 May, 9.20pm, Channel 4

***

Mindhorn

If an actor can be elected president, why can’t a 1980s TV cop solve a murder on the Isle of Man? In Sean Foley’s smart Britcom, Julian Barratt stars as the self-absorbed Richard Thorncroft, who found fame as Jason King-style Detective Mindhorn but is now, 25 years on, reduced to doing sock adverts. However, when the main suspect in a woman’s killing demands to speak to Mindhorn, Thorncroft sees a chance to disinter his career … oh, and help the police prevent more deaths, of course. Comically retro action with a high gag count from the cream of UK comic talent.
Saturday 7 May, 12.10am, BBC One

***

Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino’s first western is a very violent, blackly comic tale of slavery and retribution in the pre-American civil war south. Jamie Foxx is a fierce presence as Django, a slave who, after being freed by Christoph Waltz’s German bounty hunter Schultz, joins him in his work and then on a mission to free Django’s wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). However, she is owned by powerful Mississippi plantation owner and committed sadist Calvin Candie (a studiedly melodramatic Leonardo DiCaprio). It’s a heady concoction, in love with its own transgressive thrills.
Sunday 8 May, 10pm, 5Star

***

All the Money in the World

For those missing the Roy family’s torrid saga, here’s a fascinating, fact-based exposé of the moral vacuum that comes with extreme wealth. When John Paul Getty III, grandson of US billionaire J Paul Getty, is kidnapped in Italy in 1973, the old miser (a chilly Christopher Plummer) refuses to pay the large ransom. Aghast at his inhumanity, Paul’s mother Gail Harris (Michelle Williams, engrossing as ever) and Getty’s ambivalent deal-maker Chace (Mark Wahlberg) try to keep her teenage son alive.
Wednesday 11 May, 1.05am, Film4

***

My Favorite Wife

Randolph Scott, Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in My Favorite Wife.
Randolph Scott, Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in My Favorite Wife. Photograph: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy

Cary Grant always played best with strong, intelligent actresses and Irene Dunne is certainly that in Garson Kanin’s sparky 1940 farce. Seven years after Ellen (Dunne) was lost in a shipwreck, she is declared legally dead and so husband Nick (Grant) marries again. But Ellen survived, having found shelter on a desert island, and returns just in time to gatecrash his honeymoon. Gail Patrick’s blameless second spouse Bianca and Ellen’s fellow survivor – and potential love rival – Stephen (Randolph Scott) add to the confusion. Smart, slapstick stuff, with Dunne in command of both Grant and most of the film.
Thursday 12 May, 10.40pm, BBC Four

***

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Mckenna Grace in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Mckenna Grace in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Photograph: Landmark Media/Alamy

Jason Reitman’s engaging fantasy comedy is a respectful sequel to his father Ivan’s 1980s films (the all-female 2016 take is ignored) but with added stylistic nods to Stranger Things and the Spielberg of Close Encounters and ET. Here, the ghoul-chasers are kids: siblings Trevor (ST’s Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace). Stuck in a dusty rural backwater with their single mum Callie (Carrie Coon), they discover a connection to the Ghostbusters of yore when earth tremors presage apocalyptic brouhaha.
Friday 13 May, 9.50am, 8pm, Sky Cinema Premiere

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