Chicken Run, Insomnia, Almost Famous: films on TV today

The Great Escape gets an Aardman makeover, Al Pacino desperately needs a nap, while a teen journalist lives it up on tour with a 70s rock band: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today




Chicken Run ★★★★
7.40-9.00pm BBC3 

A durable Second World War PoW escape parody from those clever people at Aardman, this is stop-frame animation at its finest — an epic, but on a modest scale. In place of Colditz, we get a Yorkshire chicken farm, where the hens are constantly plotting their escape, led by the plucky Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha), Chicken Run’s answer to The Great Escape’s Steve McQueen. The airborne arrival of Rocky the rooster (Mel Gibson) inspires them to create a full-scale exodus by pedal-powered flying machine. To describe an Aardman animation as clever and funny is hardly front page news, but the relationship between the plucky Brits and the cocky American provides some lovely grit, and the voice cast — Timothy Spall, Phil Daniels, Lynn Ferguson — is superb.

Insomnia ★★★★
11.15pm-1.05am BBC1 

Al Pacino tones it down as a cop out of his depth, Robin Williams abandons the twinkly-eyed charm offensive as the suspected killer, and the result is terrific.  A pre-Dark Knight Christopher Nolan directs this remake of a 1997 Norwegian thriller that was doing Nordic noir before the term had even been coined.

Almost Famous ★★★★
9.00-11.35pm Movie Mix

Director Cameron Crowe used his own teenage years as a Rolling Stone journalist to chart the coming of age of an overprotected 15-year-old on tour with a rock band in the 1970s. Can you spot which real-life bands act as templates?

The Change-Up ★★★★
10.00pm-12.15am E4 

Raunchy body-swap comedy that sees a bed-hopping slacker (Ryan Reynolds) change lives with an overworked family man (Jason Bateman). Freaky Friday for adults, perchance?

The Kingdom ★★★
10.00pm-12.15am ITV4 

The complications of Middle Eastern terrorism are simplified by the Hollywood steamroller here, as Jamie Foxx and his FBI colleagues investigate a bombing in Saudi Arabia.  Check out the brilliant potted history lesson in the opening credits.


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