Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Bridesmaids, Zodiac, Ocean's Eleven - best films on TV tonight

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Bridesmaids, Zodiac, Ocean's Eleven - best films on TV tonight

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes - 9pm, Channel 4

Good timing for this showing of the first instalment of the sci-fi franchise reboot, with the follow-up, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, now in cinemas. This focuses on one chimpanzee, Caesar (a combination of Andy Serkis and CGI), who is taken into the home of scientist Will Rodman (James Franco). It's the only way Rodman can continue experimenting with a possible cure for Alzheimer's after being shut down. Caesar's intelligence multiplies as he continues to receive the drug, but a violent attack on Franco's neighbour results in him being impounded with apes of normal brain power. There, he begins to plot his escape and exact revenge on the humans who've done him wrong. It's a thrilling story, occasionally let down by clunky dialogue and hammy human acting (John Lithgow, Brian Cox). But these are minor niggles when held against director Rupert Wyatt's breathtaking action sequences, most notably a battle on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. The special effects, from the team behindAvatar, are mind-blowing, and easily distract from the muddied morals of a script that asks only vague questions about man playing God.


Bridesmaids - 9pm, Film4

Can women be funny? Can they disgust us and appal us but still have us in stitches and loving them? The answer is yes - and Bridesmaids is the proof. Loser singleton Kristen Wiig is asked by lifelong pal Maya Rudolph to be maid of honour at her upcoming wedding. But their friendship is torn asunder by Rudolph's new friend, icky perfectionist Rose Byrne. So Wiig musters a motley crew of bridesmaids and attempts to get her best friend back. The script, co-written by Wiig, and direction, from Paul Feig (TV's Freaks and Geeks), are brilliant, and the film is executive produced by gross-out genius Judd Apatow. Not only that, but the film-makers have assembled a gem-like cluster of comedic actresses and spiked the whole thing with outrageous humour. Wiig is fantastic, but credit should also go to The IT Crowd's Chris O'Dowd as her love interest and Melissa McCarthy as the awkward but lovable weirdo in the bridal party. By treating funny women as normal people, Wiig has crafted a game-changing comedy that's even better than The Hangover.


Zodiac - 10pm, BBC2

In real life the Zodiac Killer terrorised San Francisco in the late 1960s and early 70s, his murders supported by a publicity hungry correspondence with the city's newspapers. He was the inspiration for Dirty Harry's Scorpio Killer, yet inSe7en director David Fincher's intricate drama his crimes are given a less sensational spin. Focusing on the police and press investigation into the murders, Fincher's film follows cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), flamboyant reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr) and grizzled police inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) as they try to crack the case. It's over two-and-a-half hours of obsessively gritty procedure that really finds the drama in the details. Exhaustive in its dedication to the minutiae of the unsolved killings (Fincher combed through 10,000 pages of documents and interviewed survivors), Zodiac probes the limits of knowledge and evidence with startling power. And, refreshingly, Fincher allows the murders (re-created with disturbing brutality) to take second place to tracing the toll the investigation takes on the protagonists.


Ocean's Eleven - 11:15pm, ITV

George Clooney and his A-list pals have fun in the Las Vegas sun in this thoroughly enjoyable caper from director Steven Soderbergh. In a loose remake of the 1960 Rat Pack venture of the same name, Clooney comfortably steps into Frank Sinatra's shoes as Danny Ocean, who is fresh out of jail but still plans to pull off an audacious heist with the help of a ten-man crew. His star cronies include Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Carl Reiner and Don Cheadle, who affects the worst cockney accent you've ever heard. The plan is to hit the vault containing the take from three of the biggest casinos in Vegas, all of which belong to Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), the guy who just happens to be dating Ocean's ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts). This is one of those films that's a joy from start to finish, but doesn't strain the brain for a second. Thankfully, the mechanics of the heist take second place to the glorious interplay of a stellar cast that is clearly having a ball with the sharp, quick-fire dialogue.

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