The Hours, The Rookie, Pitch Black: films on TV today

An Oscar-winning Nicole Kidman, a rock climbing Sly Stallone, and an out-of-this-world Vin Diesel: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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BARRY NORMAN:  FILM OF THE DAY 

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The Hours ★★★★
12.35-2.30am ITV3 

The story of three women (and also three suicide attempts) in three different decades, all linked by Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway. The first, successful suicide is that of Woolf herself (the Oscar-winning Nicole Kidman) in 1941. Thereafter we move to the travails of frustrated housewife Julianne Moore in Los Angeles in 1951 and then of Meryl Streep, a lesbian book editor, in contemporary New York. Both these women have been deeply affected by the novel and share Mrs Dalloway’s regrets and longings for love and fulfilment. Sounds downbeat, I know, and indeed this is not exactly a happy-ending kind of movie, but the acting, David Hare’s screenplay and Stephen Daldry’s direction give it a stylish, haunting quality that makes it memorable. (Incidentally, Kidman’s prosthetic nose initially aroused some derision. Don’t know why. I thought it suited her.)


The Rookie ★★★

12.05-2.05am BBC2 

The fact that most Brits have never seen a baseball game shouldn’t put you off this sporting drama. Dennis Quaid is the former baseball star cut down in his pitching prime when a shoulder injury ends his career.


Cliffhanger ★★★★
9.00-11.15pm ITV4 

Troubled rock climber Sylvester Stallone takes on John Lithgow’s ruthless criminal gang in Renny Harlin’s nail-biting, vertigo-inducing mountain adventure.


Pitch Black ★★★★
11.05pm-1.15am Movie Mix 

Afraid of the dark? The crew of a crashed transport ship has to rely on criminal Vin Diesel’s eyes when the strange planet’s total eclipse brings flesh-eating creatures out into the open.


Come Drink with Me ★★★
11.15pm-1.10am Film Four

Film4’s season of kung fu classics continues with the premiere of this landmark adventure, which sees a fearless female warrior take on a gang of bloodthirsty bandits. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and House of Flying Daggers all owe a massive debt to King Hu’s debut, which put the art into martial arts.


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