Christmas 2014: best films on TV today, New Year’s Eve

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Help, Ratatouille, Monsters vs Aliens, Kind Hearts and Coronets: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY 
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ★★★★
7.05-9.00pm BBC1 

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Indy (Harrison Ford) himself says it here — “same old same old” — and that’s just what it is: a rollercoaster ride of improbable plot in exotic places packed with peril, thrills, spills, wild adventure and even wilder stunts. The setting is the Amazon in 1957 where the now distinctly grizzled Indy and party are seized by ruthless Russian colonel Cate Blanchett and a large chunk of the Red Army, and obliged to lead them to a cavern containing numerous crystal skulls containing the entire wisdom of the universe. Quite a party it is, too — Indy’s dodgy MI6 mate Ray Winstone, Professor John Hurt, whose vital task is to explain what’s going on, Karen Allen, Indy’s true love and her son, Shia LeBeouf, who also turns out to be Indy’s son and thus presumably the hero of any future episodes. Very enjoyable same old same old.


Ratatouille ★★★★
1.10-2.50pm BBC1 

A rat in the kitchen? A rodent comes to Paris from the country, the capital of fine food, to fulfil his dream of becoming a top chef in this tasty animated treat from PIxar that was garnished with an Oscar for best animated feature.


Monsters vs Aliens ★★★★
2.50-4.15pm BBC1 

A wonderful voice cast including Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen and Hugh Laurie come together for this super fun animated adventure in which a young woman acquires super powers after being hit by a meteorite on her wedding day – don’t you hate it when that happens? Joining forces with other mutants, she sets out to save the Earth from alien invasion.


The Help ★★★
Premiere 8.30-10.45pm BBC2 

An ambitious white journalist (Emma Stone) persuades a black housemaid (Viola Davis) to tell the truth about life below stairs in this fine drama set in America’s Deep South in the 1960s. But her revelations cause severe ructions in the community. It’s a bit on the long side but boasts a (mainly female) cast to die for: Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janey and Sissy Spacek.


Kind Hearts and Coronets ★★★★★
11.00pm-12.45am BBC4 

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Alec Guinness plays all eight members of the D’Ascoyne family in this Ealing Studios classic, which could be regarded as just showing off if he wasn’t so brilliant in every role. It’s a deliciously dark tale in which Dennis Price (also superb) plots the murder of the aristocratic clan after believing he has been robbed of a dukedom.