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One Hour Photo to Blue Velvet: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

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Pick of the week

One Hour Photo

Robin Williams as Connie Nielsen in One Hour Photo. Photograph: 20 Century Fox/Allstar

Mark Romanek doesn’t make many features – he’s mostly known as a music video director for the likes of Beyoncé and Jay-Z – so any film by him is to be cherished. This thriller, shot in a striking range of colour palettes, features Robin Williams in arguably his best performance. He plays Sy, a technician at a photo kiosk who prints snaps for the public, including Connie Nielsen’s Nina. Loner Sy idolises Nina’s seemingly perfect family – he stalks them by making furtive copies of her prints – so when he discovers a dark secret about them his vicarious pleasure is shattered. Williams is chilling here, with an unnerving stillness that belies his inner unhappiness.

Monday 4 April, 9pm, Great! Movies

***

Blue Velvet

Dennis Hopper and Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet. Photograph: Cinetext/Warner Bros/Allstar

With one of the great opening sequences – houses framed by white picket fences and firemen waving from their passing truck lead into a man having a heart attack on a lawn infested by beetles – David Lynch’s much-imitated 1986 thriller announced its assault on suburbia. His protagonist, student Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan), is lured from middle-class naivety into an underworld of violence, drugs and perverse sexuality – lorded over by Dennis Hopper’s terrifying crime boss Frank Booth – and discovers his own capacity for darkness in the process.

Saturday 2 April, 1.20am, Film4

***

All the President’s Men

Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in All the President’s Men. Photograph: United Archives GmbH/Alamy

After his apex conspiracy thriller The Parallax View, Alan J Pakula found real life providing similar raw material with this 1976 take on the Watergate scandal, based on the book by journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford bring a touch of Hollywood glamour to a nuts-and-bolts tale of persistence and – courtesy of anonymous source Deep Throat – huge scoops, as the two Washington Post reporters “follow the money” right to the door of the Oval Office. A compelling drama that is, unfortunately, still utterly topical.

Sunday 3 April, 11.10pm, BBC Two

***

Monsters

Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able in Monsters. Photograph: Vertigo Films/Allstar

The borderlands of the US and Mexico have been “infected” by huge, octopus-like aliens and are now a war-torn no-go zone. This proves a problem for photojournalist Andrew (Scoot McNairy) when he is ordered to chaperone his boss’s daughter Sam (Whitney Able) back to the States. In Gareth Edwards’s inventive, low-budget sci-fi drama, their perilous journey through the detritus of conflict parallels the experiences of real-life migrants and has an air of reportage. The leads’ chemistry (they were a couple at the time) only adds to the empathy.

Monday 4 April, 7.15pm, AMC

***

Sweet Country

Natassia Gorey-Furber and Hamilton Morris in Sweet Country.

Warwick Thornton’s unhurried, beautiful drama explores colonial attitudes and Indigenous Australian life in the outback after the first world war. Hamilton Morris plays Sam, a worker on a farm run by the considerate Fred (Sam Neill). Other white landowners are more racially antagonistic, and Sam and wife Lizzie (Natassia Gorey-Furber) end up going on the run, pursued by Bryan Brown’s copper. Thornton’s effortless style and inventive narrative shifts make this so much more than a history lesson.

Monday 4 April, 11.50pm, Film4

***

99 Homes

Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon in 99 Homes. Photograph: Hooman Bahrani/Broad Green Pictures/Allstar

Ramin Bahrani’s plucked-from-the-headlines drama brings a personal touch to the statistics about the many Americans made homeless by the late-00s financial crash. The ever-relatable Andrew Garfield plays Florida construction worker Dennis, who is evicted with his family by real estate broker Rick Carver (Michael Shannon at his most cynical). In his desperation, Dennis ends up working for Carver, profiting from the misery of others in an unregulated, capitalist free-for-all. It’s a cautionary tale of gaining the whole world but losing your soul, a la Glengarry Glen Ross, viewed with a clinical eye.

Tuesday 5 April, 11.15pm, BBC Two

***

Mistress America

Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirke in Mistress America.

For this week’s Greta Gerwig/Noah Baumbach fix, take your pick from this or Frances Ha, which precedes it. Both feature co-writer Gerwig as an effervescent New Yorker about town, full of ideas – some delusional – but blessed with enthusiasm and a beguiling nature. In 2015’s very funny Mistress America, Gerwig’s would-be restaurateur Brooke becomes an object of fascination for her new stepsister, Lola Kirke’s awkward literature student Tracy. Fiction and reality jockey for position as Tracy finds inspiration for her short stories in her new friend.

Thursday 7 April, 2.20am, Film4