Boyz N the Hood, Scrooge, The Bay: films on TV today

Cuba Gooding Jr and Ice Cube play friends on opposite sides of LA gang culture, Alastair Sim has no time for Christmas, and a quiet coastal town is infiltrated by minuscule marine marauders: the Radio Times team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today



Boyz N the Hood ★★★★★
11.35pm-1.20am BBC2

In 1991, Boyz N The Hood rewrote the urban African-American playbook, while debuting writer/director John Singleton’s Oscar nomination made him the first black director thus honoured. Spike Lee had made huge inroads in the late 80s, showing young blacks in positive roles, but Singleton eschews even a hint of comedy and drops us right into the middle of the gang culture of South Central Los Angeles. Casting Ice Cube from local hip-hop superstars NWA in his first acting role sets the tone: this is a gangsta rap movie with all the macho posturing of that urban milieu. Cube’s hoodlum, Cuba Gooding Jr’s college hopeful and Morris Chestnut’s athlete are childhood pals who take different paths, but the cycle of drive-by violence and Bloods/Crips warfare threatens them all. Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett further elevate the cast, the soundtrack is heavy with furious rap, and the result is grimly compelling kitchen sink drama.

Shoot ‘Em Up ★★★
10.50pm-12.30am C5

Clive Owen is lethal and laconic in equal measure as a shooter plunged into protecting a newborn baby and sultry Monica Bellucci from a horde of hitmen. Not to be taken too seriously and fans of director John Woo should be in their element.

Scrooge ★★★★★
11.00am-12.50pm Movie Mix

“Bah, humbug!” Alastair Sim is the quintessential Dickens antihero in the best version of the tale yet. It’s a Christmas essential.

The Bay ★★★★
Premiere 9.00-10.45pm Film Four

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, director Barry Levinson demonstrates that not all aquatic predators have to be big and toothy. It’s a “found footage” eco-horror guaranteed to make you jump, as citizens celebrating the Fourth of July are attacked by the most insidious of beasties.

Sin City ★★★★
10.00pm-12.30am Dave


This visually impressive adaptation faithfully reproduces Frank Miller’s sleazy noir comic-book world of love, betrayal and revenge. The recent sequel had a lukewarm reception but Mickey Rourke’s man-mountain Marv remains an unforgettable (and unstoppable) pulp-fiction creation.