Avatar, The Hypnotist, Donnie Brasco: films on TV today

The biggest film of all time, a bijou Scandi-noir, and Pacino and Depp back in the day: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today




Avatar ★★★
8.00-11.10pm C4 

Still top of the all-time box-office chart with a $2.7 billion take, James Cameron’s sci-fi eco-epic seemed to singlehandedly justify the hype around 3D on its release in 2009. I’ve seen it in both and can vouch for its power in a mere two dimensions. A stunning mix of live-action footage, motion-capture and pure CGI, Avatar is at its root an old-fashioned good-versus-evil struggle that happens to be set 150 years in the future, in which a benign, native population (the slender, blue-skinned Na’vi) find their Eden-like paradise Pandora threatened by a militaristic invader (humans mining for minerals). Sam Worthington plays the paraplegic marine who uses a Na’vi avatar to go undercover and gain the locals’ trust, complicating his corporate paymasters’ exploitative masterplan in the process. The views are stunning, the action emotionally charged, and the late James Horner’s music as awe-inspiring as the forest vistas. But I still prefer Cameron’s Titanic, if that’s not a heretical thing to say. 

Wyatt Earp ★★★★

1.25-5.00pm C5 

Lawrence Kasdan’s slow-burning western features a fine performance from Kevin Costner as Earp and a tremendous one from Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday.    

Wanted ★★★

11.10pm-1.15am C4 

Bored office worker James McAvoy discovers he’s a super-powered hitman – and he has Angelina Jolie to help him settle in to the assassination business.    

The Hypnotist ★★★


9.00-10.55pm BBC4 

Lasse Hallström returns to his native Sweden for a gloomy but periodicall shocking Scandi-noir with a fabulous big finale set out on a frozen lake.  

Donnie Brasco ★★★★

9.00-11.35pm Movie Mix 

In this beautifully evoked 1970s-set crime drama, FBI agent Johnny Depp gets his lines blurred as he infiltrates the Mob through sleazeball Al Pacino.     


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