Her, Runner Runner, Half of a Yellow Sun, Small Time Crooks, Forbidden Planet: films on TV today

The dangers of modern technology and some old school Woody Allen: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today


9.00-11.25pm Film4 


Showing as part of a Film4 season with a typically lax door policy: “Love & Sex”, Her is about a man who falls in love with a computer operating system. Writer/director Spike Jonze – who gave us Adaptation., Being John Malkovich (this evening on Gold) and some wackily original music videos – creates an absorbing fable about the parameters of love that doesn’t judge. It stars an eccentrically crumpled Joaquin Phoenix as a professional letter-writer in an antiseptic, Japanese-looking future LA and Scarlett Johansson as “Samantha”, the sentient personality of his intelligent computer device. While Phoenix avoids facing up to an actual divorce from Rooney Mara, his relationship with Samantha goes through a number of worrying stages, and an innocent love story turns into a more urbane Terminator-style warning about the rise of the machines. Her is sweet as often as it is creepily disturbing, and the score by Canadian band Arcade Fire is transcendent. Jonze rightly won the Oscar for best original screenplay. Followed by sex, lies, and videotape. 

Runner Runner ★★
PREMIERE 9.00-10.40pm C5 

Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck run a dodgy online gambling empire from Costa Rica in a sun-drenched thriller where everyone keeps their cards close to the chest. Will you take a punt on it?

Half of a Yellow Sun ★★★
PREMIERE 10.00-11.45pm BBC2 

Political unrest in 60s Nigeria provides the backdrop for this sprawling drama with Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose and Chiwetel Ejiofor, based on the novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Small Time Crooks ★★★
9.00-11.00pm True Entertainment 

Comedy stalwarts Woody Allen and Tracey Ullman are partners in crime in an example of one of Allen’s earlier, funnier works. And their plan to tunnel into a bank is entertainingly old school as well.

Forbidden Planet ★★★★★
10.00-11.35pm BBC4 

Here’s some fun retro camp sci-fi, from the age before it was considered retro and camp, starring a pre-Airplane! Leslie Nielsen and a robot that looks comprised of vacuum cleaner attachments.


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