Avatar, Titanic, Miss Potter: films on TV today

Director James Cameron gets double blockbuster points today, with both interplanetary morality tale Avatar and leaky liner epic Titanic, while rabbit's on the menu for Renée Zellweger in Miss Potter: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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ANDREW COLLINS:FILM OF THE DAY
Avatar ★★★
8.00-11.15pm E4

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When James Cameron’s $2 billion-grossing (and counting) sci-fi eco-epic was released, it seemed to justify the hype around 3D. But at its root Avatar is an old-fashioned good-versus-evil struggle, in which a benign native population (the slender, blue-skinned Na’vi) find their Edenic paradise Pandora threatened by a militaristic invader (humans mining for minerals). And it works just as well in 2D. Sam Worthington is the paraplegic marine who uses a Na’vi avatar to go undercover and gain the locals’ trust, complicating his corporate paymasters’ exploitative masterplan in the process. The views are stunning, the action emotionally charged, but I still prefer Cameron’s Titanic, if that’s not heretical to say. 


Titanic ★★★★
5.20-9.00pm Film Four 

Do you want ice with that? Kate Winslet melts Leonardo DiCaprio’s heart as disaster looms in James Cameron’s all-conquering romance. On release, it quickly became the highest-grossing movie of all time – and remained so until Avatar overtook it.


Miss Potter ★★★
9.00-10.30pm BBC4 

Renée Zellweger plays Peter Rabbit author Beatrix  Potter and gets her own Mr McGregor (that’s Ewan) into the bargain in this charming period drama that sees Potter stand up against property developers in her beloved Lake District.   


Identity ★★★
12.45-2.35am Movie Mix 

Guests have been dying at remote hotels since Agatha Christie first picked up a pen, but this whodunnit is witty, well staged and features a classy ensemble of suspects, including John Cusack, Ray Liotta and Amanda Peet.     


The Notorious Bettie Page ★★★
12.05-1.35am BBC1 

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Ambitious God-fearing Bettie left behind a violent upbringing in Nashville and became a 1950’s pin-up icon in New York. As Page, Gretchen Mol carries the movie in all states of dress.