The Secret Life of Bees, Rocky Balboa, Reindeer Games: films on TV today

Dakota Fanning crosses the race divide in 1960s America, Sly Stallone breaks the age barrier back in the ring, and Ben Affleck walks the line romancing a psycho's sister: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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ANDREW COLLINS:  FILM OF THE DAY 

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The Secret Life of Bees ★★★
6.55-9.00pm Film Four 

This defiantly female-centric drama was written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, who specialises in stories aimed at people of colour. Based on the bestseller by Sue Monk Kidd, it follows lonely, motherless teen Dakota Fanning as she falls into the arms of a supportive black family, courtesy of kindly housekeeper Jennifer Hudson, as the civil rights tinderbox burns in the American South of the 1960s. (Paul Bettany plays the irascible, uncommunicative father who drives Fanning to run away.) Living with Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and our own Sophie Okonedo, she grows up with an enlightened attitude to race and works through her “issues” about the mother that she lost. And she learns bee-keeping for extra care-giving symbolism. Gooey in places, but worthwhile.


Immortals ★★★

9.00-11.10pm Film Four 

Swords, sandals and slaughter abound as King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) tries to destroy humanity, the Greek gods and whatever else gets in his way.    


Reindeer Games ★★★

10.55pm-1.10am Movie Mix 

Posing as his suddenly dead former cellmate gets ex-con Ben Affleck onto the right side of Charlize Theron, but the wrong side of her crazy, violent brother (Gary Sinise) in this deft, dark thriller.   


PREMIERE

Movie 43 ★★

11.00pm-1.00am 5★ 

Starting at waist level and working down, this hit-and-miss sketch-format comedy stars a who’s who of Hollywood (Jackman, Winslet, Thurman, Gere – for starters). The overall star rating isn’t promising, but there is the odd gem in there. Honestly.   


Rocky Balboa ★★★

11.00pm-1.00am Spike 

It should have been awful but this fifth sequel to the original goes the distance. Sylvester Stallone is slower and heavier but the score still raises the roof.    


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