Hamlet, Elysium, Bridesmaids: films on TV today

Shakespeare's finest, Jodie Foster's utopia and the bachelorette party from hell: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today




Hamlet ★★★★
10.45pm-1.10am BBC4 

It may not strike you as the perfect Sunday night at the movies – it is, after all, in black and white, and in rasping Russian with English subtitles. But I urge you to sit forward on the settee and mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death with a rare showing of Grigori Kozintsev’s abridged version of the Bard’s most famous play. Based on the translation by Doctor Zhivago author Boris Pasternak, it is fairly faithful to the text, but 100 minutes shorter thanKenneth Branagh’s 1996 version and such a visual treat, with crashing waves, whistling wind, ghostly visions, prowling cameras, ragged minstrels, ominous skies and epic battle scenes. Predominantly shot on location, it’s elemental stuff, and the Dmitri Shostakovich score is imperial yet inquiring. Do not approach as homework, or a bowl of roughage, but as an example of international film-making at its most assured. And students can read it on screen as it goes along. 

Mr Popper’s Penguins ★★★
3.00-5.00pm E4 

Jim Carrey’s ruthless businessman meets his match in a huddle of penguins, whose amusing antics lead him to rediscover what’s really important in life.     

Elysium ★★★
Premiere 9.00-11.10pm C5 

Jodie Foster puts in a great “queen of mean” performance as the boss of a futureworld reserved only for the world’s elite. The rest can go hang. But Matt Damon has other ideas…  

The Last Castle ★★★
11.40pm-1.45am BBC1 

Robert Redford and James Gandolfini star in this entertaining prison thriller about an army General sent to a maximum security prison.    

Bridesmaids ★★★★★
9.00-11.25pm Film4 

The happiest day of her life? Things go a bit awry for Maya Rudolph when girlfriends Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne sharpen those false nails and compete for organisational honours.    


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