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God Bless America, Machete, The Elephant Man: films on TV today

An ordinary Joe kicks back, Danny Trejo stays sharp and John Hurt escapes a Victorian sideshow: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

Published: Thursday, 19th March 2015 at 11:01 pm

God Bless America ★★★★
Premiere 10.50pm-12.55am Film4 


Its subject – the everyman who decides he’s mad as hell and not going to take it any more – has been well-rehearsed. But this socio-political media satire from angry writer/director and former Police Academy star Bobcat Goldthwait is original in its commitment to excess. Though fans of Mad Men will recognise Joel Murray, he inhabits the part of Frank, a divorced, middle-aged insurance salesman from suburbia with thin walls, a sexual harassment charge hanging over him at work and a migraine that turns out to be something much worse. He snaps after watching a brat’s tantrum on a TV reality show and becomes a white-collar Travis Bickle, taking the law into his own hands and shooting those he considers shallow and fame-seeking in a morally redundant TV age (and he double parks). Newcomer Tara Lynne Barr is good as a teen Bonnie to his Clyde, and though the final shoot-out fails to deliver, it’s quite a ride.

Machete ★★★
12.30-2.15am C4 

Fans of trash cinema will enjoy this lurid, late-show offering, which finds Danny Trejo's moustachioed Mexican badass waging a one-man war on dodgy politician Robert De Niro.

Star Trek ★★★★
9.00-11.35pm E4 

The crew of the Enterprise boldly goes back to the very beginning, with director JJ Abrams at the helm. The late Leonard Nimoy reprising his role as an older incarnation of Spock is just one of the nice surprises along the way.

Tender Mercies ★★★★
9.00-11.00pm True Entertainment 

A rare airing for this languid, Oscar-winning drama, which stars Robert Duvall as a booze-sodden and broken country singer who slowly begins to turn his life around – thanks to the support of a good woman, naturally.

The Elephant Man ★★★★★
12.35-2.40am ITV3 

"I am not an animal! I am a human being!" John Hurt is superb (despite being buried beneath a ton of prosthetics) as the disfigured Victorian curiosity in David Lynch's moving drama, sublimely shot in black and white.


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