Olympus Has Fallen, Planet of the Apes, Knocked Up: films on TV today

Gerard Butler must save the president, Charlton Heston lands on a strange planet, Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl give pregnancy a go: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today


Olympus Has Fallen ★★★
9.00-11.20pm 5★ 


Of the two bombastic White House siege thrillers released in 2013, Olympus Has Fallen won the battle, in that it was released first, but White House Down won the war, as it was better. The first, directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer), pits beefcake Gerard Butler’s disgraced presidential bodyguard against North Korean terrorists who want the nuclear code. In 1980s Die Hard style – except without the humour – one man is sufficient to save the day; Butler’s quest is aided by a series of secret White House tunnels and complicated by President Aaron Eckhart’s son, a bargaining chip. August stars Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster and Melissa Leo add gravitas to the political and military class, but it’s Butler’s show, all shoulders and personal demons. It’s violent and cruel in places, but you’ll want to know how it’s resolved. Thereafter, seek out White House Down and enjoy Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in the hero/President roles, having bags more fun.

Planet of the Apes ★★★★★
4.40-6.55pm Film Four 

If you liked the recent reboot prequels starring first James Franco and then Gary Oldman, you’ll want to check out Charlton Heston in the classic 1967 original. Situations don’t come much hairier – and there are some nicely planted links in the prequels that help tie them to this one. 

Knocked Up ★★★★
9.00-11.35pm ITV2 

Seth Rogen is both big and dumb as a pot-head facing unplanned parenthood with career girl Katherine Heigl (both smart and gorgeous), in this comedy (both well-crafted and cunning) written and directed by Judd Apatow. The script is foul-mouthed but observant, the supporting cast of friends and family are three-dimensional, and Rogen and Heigl really are the perfect odd couple.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery ★★★★
9.00-11.00pm Movie Mix 

Oh, behave! Mike Myers followed the Wayne’s World movies with this spot-on spy spoof that mocks all the genre staples without disappearing up its own 1960’s back alley. Put into cryogenic sleep to match his criminal nemesis, Dr Evil, Myers’s Swinging 60s super spy is defrosted in 1997, and part of the joy of the movie is that both hero and villain are at the mercy of the world they have woken up in. The genre references are scattered liberally, the cast has a ball sending up the fashions, and Myers leaps around at the centre of things like a puppy chasing its tail.    

Casino Royale ★★★
9.00-11.45pm ITV4 

Do not adjust your set: this is not the recent franchise-reviving Bond with Daniel Craig, but the 1967 spoof, with David Niven as the retired 007 forced back into duty, recruiting assorted agents (all given the 007 moniker, to confuse) to put a stop to the SMERSH organisation. Treat it like Austin Powers, without the one-liners, but with an amazing cast just making it up as they go along.


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