Tetris to Jesus Christ Superstar: the seven best films to watch on TV this week
Pick of the week
The race to win the rights to a computer game is not the usual stuff of cold war thrillers, but Jon S Baird makes the most of this remarkable real-life tale. Taron Egerton is engagingly desperate as US salesman Henk Rogers, who spots an opportunity to bundle Tetris – invented by a Russian, Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov) – with Nintendo’s new Game Boy console. That means negotiating with a Soviet state in its last throes, while fending off competition from media mogul Robert Maxwell (a gloriously rude Roger Allam) and his awful son Kevin. As well as being a fun dose of 80s realpolitik, its visual style, which pays tribute to old-school video games, should play well with the geeks. Simon Wardell
Friday, Apple TV+
Jesus Christ Superstar
For your pre-Easter delectation, try Norman Jewison’s 1973 film of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s New Testament sung-through rock opera, which brings Jesus into the age of Aquarius. Ted Neeley is a bearded hippy version of the son of God, but most of the best songs go to Carl Anderson’s Judas (the rocking Heaven on Their Minds) and Yvonne Elliman’s Mary Magdalene (standout ballad I Don’t Know How to Love Him). The Israeli locations add a dusty veneer of authenticity, but biblical accuracy plays second fiddle to the funk.
Saturday, 2.30pm, BBC Two
The hard-scrabble existence of Maltese fishermen is portrayed with dignity and pathos in Alex Camilleri’s neo-realist drama. Non-actor Jesmark Scicluna plays a part close to his real life – the introverted owner of a small fishing boat, a luzzu, who is finding it difficult to make ends meet and support his wife and baby boy. Easy money is to be had from working for a fishery involved in illegal catches, or from EU incentives to give up his boat and his livelihood, but abandoning the traditional ways handed down from father to son breaks his heart. Touching and tragic.
Saturday, 9pm, BBC Four
Mr Malcolm’s List
Emma Holly Jones’s light-touch period comedy is in the same colourblind vein as Bridgerton, and has a similar Jane Austen sheen. The titular hero (Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù) is a Darcy-like gentleman with a list of 10 requirements for a prospective bride. When Zawe Ashton’s social butterfly Julia fails the test, she seeks revenge by training her poorer but smarter friend, clergyman’s daughter Selina (Freida Pinto, in Elizabeth Bennet mode), to tick all his boxes then snub him. True love stumbles to the finish line in a pleasantly realised tale.
Sunday, 10.05am, 6pm, Sky Cinema Premiere
Adapted from a Joseph Conrad story, Ridley Scott’s confident debut feature is a tale of two men trapped by a futile idea of honour in a long-running feud. As Napoleon Bonaparte’s star rises and falls in 19th-century France, cavalry officer D’Hubert (Keith Carradine) engages in a series of duels with the hot-headed Feraud (Harvey Keitel). Amid picturesque scenery and indifferent livestock, the two fight and fight, while the times change and they become irrelevant.
Sunday, 4.30pm, Sky Cinema Greats
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis earned an Oscar nomination for her role as Louisiana bayou dweller Hushpuppy, and she gives a remarkably mature performance in a film with a child’s eye view of poverty and resistance. Hushpuppy lives with her wild but ailing father Wink (Dwight Henry) in a coastal community just about holding on between the land and the sea, under threat from flooding and a government that wants to evacuate them. There are fable-like elements to an otherwise tough story, as the fiercely resilient child talks to her absent mother and ponders a world increasingly out of balance.
Thursday, 9pm, AMC
It can be hard raising a teenage girl, and when your secret day job is as a professional assassin it must be doubly so. In Byun Sung-hyun’s bubbly martial arts actioner, Jeon Do-yeon’s Gil Bok-soon is the best in the business (she brings an axe to a samurai swordfight and survives) – but in South Korea it actually is a business, with offices, training programmes and company rules to follow. Workplace politics jostles for space with bloody deaths, while Gil’s daughter has her own hidden life that complicates matters. Despite Jeon’s impressive froideur, chaos descends.