Small Screen Machine

Our weekly recommendations of great films on TV

This week’s recommendations are all airing this weekend. Our Top Pick comes from Shona, who has chosen Battle of the Sexes, while Morvern has four other films for you to watch from Friday to Monday.

Battle of the Sexes (2017, 12A)
Channel 4, 9pm on Saturday 8 August
(Repeated on 4seven, 10pm on Wednesday 12 August)
An entertaining version of real events in 1973 when tennis legend Billie Jean King was challenged by former men’s champion Bobby Riggs. The challenge was less about tennis as it became the focus of a battle for equality in 1970s America. Emma Stone (of La La Land fame) and Steve Carell (known for the US version of The Office) really capture the tension and trash-talk, with Stone delivering Billie Jean King’s searing one-liners with deadly accuracy. This is a great watchable Saturday night movie with relevance now more than ever. For the full unvarnished story, seek out the excellent 2013 documentary about King similarly called The Battle of the Sexes.


A Room with a View (1985, PG)
Film4, 6.45pm on Friday 7 August
Based on E.M Forster’s novel of the same name, let this period piece sweep you away to Florence with a young Helena Bonham-Carter, and younger Maggie Smith and Judi Dench and a host of other British acting talent. Classic stuff.


Phase IV (1974, PG)
Talking Pictures TV, 10pm on Friday 7 August
The only feature-length directorial effort by graphic designer Saul Bass (who famously designed the title sequences for such iconic films such as Psycho and North By Northwest) follows the unusual story of sentient ants who start building complex constructions in the desert.


The BFG (2016, PG)
BBC1, 4.30pm on Saturday 8 August
Although my own personal favourite BFG adaptation is the 1989 version with its psychedelic dream capturing sequence, this more recent animated version of Roald Dahl’s classic does a very good job of staying true to the original story of an orphan kidnapped and taken to the land of giants.


The Florida Project (2017, 15)
Channel 4, 12.35am on Sunday 9/Monday 10th August
My favourite film of that particular year, The Florida Project follows a talented young cast telling the story of the ‘unseen homeless’ who live out of budget motels in the shadow of Walt Disney World. A gem from start to finish. If you enjoy this, Sean Baker’s first film Tangerine screens on Channel 4 late the following evening. (Both will hopefully sit on All4 for a time thereafter.)




Brian Griffin: POP – You can watch this Photography on Screen collaboration with Street Level Photoworks about one of the most eminent British photographers of the seventies and eighties. In it, he discusses his music photography, including some insights into his techniques in making the images for the covers of Depeche Mode, Siouxsie Sioux, Iggy Pop, Kate Bush, and Simple Minds, amongst others.

Into Film – Into Film are offering many online film education resources for children and young people, including membership of their Youth Advisory Council, their Artemis Fowl and #Review100 competitions, and their Eco Explorers resource about key environmental issues. If you’re new to Into Film then you’ll need to sign up for a free account to access their resources.

MUBI – You can still sign up for a free three-month membership with MUBI, who recently added a library of hundreds of previously curated films for you to choose from. If you cancel before the end of your trial then you won’t be charged. If you decide to stay on, you’ll be charged a standard paid subscription with MUBI. (You’ll be entering into a contract with MUBI, not with Regional Screen Scotland or Screen Machine.)

BFI Japan 2020 – The BFI are releasing featured collections of some of Japan’s most lauded films on their online player, including the work of directors Akira Kurasawa and Yasujirō Ozu, as well as selections of anime, J-horror, and other classics. To watch, you need to sign up to the BFI Player for £4.99 per month. Please note that you’ll be entering a contract with the BFI and not with Regional Screen Scotland or Screen Machine.



Screen Machine Movie Trivia Quiz

Ten more questions for you to test your general movie knowledge this week. Once you are done, highlight the hidden text at the bottom for the answers.

1. How many films had Julie Andrews appeared in before starring in ‘May Poppins’ (1964)?
2. In ‘Taxi Driver’ (1976), to whom does Travis Bickle direct the line: “You talking to me?”
3. The Coen Brothers’ 1996 black comedy ‘Fargo’ primarily takes place in which US state?
4. Who wrote the screenplay for ‘Braveheart’ (1995)?
5. While Halley Berry cracked three ribs while training for the action sequences in ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’ (2019), how did she break her arm during the filming of the 2003 horror ‘Gothika’?
6. When Emma Thompson won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995), she became the first and so far only person to achieve what?
7. Complete this line from ‘Dr Strangelove’ (1964): “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! —-”
8. What is Will Smith’s first name?
9. In the 2003 comedy ‘Calendar Girls’, what cause are the women raising money for?
10. Sean Connery debuted as James Bond in ‘Dr. No’ (1962). Can you name the five actors that followed him and their debut films?

1. None. It was her film debut, and she won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role. 2. Himself in the mirror. 3. Minnesota. Only the opening scene is set in Fargo, North Dakota. 4. Randall Wallace, no relation to William. 5. Robert Downey, Jr. accidentally twisted it the wrong way during a scene. They had to stop filming for eight weeks. 6. She became the only person to win Oscars for both writing and acting, have previously won Best Actress for ‘Howard’s End’ (1992). 7. “This is the War Room!” 8. Willard. 9. Leukaemia research. 10. George Lazenby: ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1969); Roger Moore: ‘Live and Let Die’ (1973); Timothy Dalton: ‘The Living Daylights’ (1987); Pierce Brosnan: ‘GoldenEye’ (1995); Daniel Craig: ‘Casino Royal’ (2006).



We’ll be back with more news next Friday. We hope that you all have a great week and stay well.