Small Screen Machine

Our weekly recommendations of great films on TV

This week Drew has chosen Arrival as our Top Pick, while Shona completes our recommendations with a wonderfully varied selection. We hope you manage to catch some of them over the coming days!

Arrival (2016, 12A)
Film4, 9pm on Tuesday 26 May
I’ve chosen this science fiction drama because it takes a unique and almost realistic approach to aliens making first contact on Earth. While it doesn’t have the nail biting fear of Alien, the action sequences of Independence Day, or the heartfelt hope of ET, it draws you in by building tension through miscommunication. Twelve alien spaceships suddenly appear strategically positioned across Earth, and each government takes its own approach in dealing with the spaceship hovering over its land. This leads to different interpretations of the aliens’ messages, and whether, as the saying goes, they come in peace. It is a well-crafted story that dispenses its revelations and twists at a deliberate pace, culminating with an unexpected climax.


Paddington (2014, PG)
E4, 7.10pm on Sunday 24 May
Make some marmalade sandwiches and settle down for our favourite Peruvian bear’s big screen debut. You can catch its sequel the following night on BBC1 at 7pm, which some of you might have seen on Screen Machine.


Top Hat (1935, U)
BBC2, 2.50pm on Monday 25 May
Remember what it’s like to be dancing cheek to cheek? Let Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers remind you in their most successful screwball musical comedy. Also, this is one of 25 classic RKO Pictures films the BBC have just released on iPlayer – enjoy!


Clockwise (1986, PG)
Talking Pictures TV, 5.30pm on Thursday 28 May
In this increasingly frantic comedy, John Cleese plays an always-punctual headmaster who starts his day by missing his train. A series of farcical misadventures then unravel him into an epic Basil Fawlty-like comedic disaster hero by the end. A little-seen forerunner to Cleese’s masterpiece A Fish Called Wanda.


Trumbo (2015, 15)
BBC2, 11.20pm on Friday 29 May
Set the recorder for Bryan Cranston (of Breaking Bad fame) starring in this well-made biopic set in the 1950s. As one of Hollywood’s greatest screenwriters, Dalton Trumbo fought against the blacklisting of anyone (including himself) with perceived Communist Party sympathies. The film runs at a good pace and look out for Helen Mirren as vicious gossip columnist of the day Hedda Hopper.



Screen Machine Movie Trivia Quiz

We have ten questions below for you to test your general movie knowledge. Once you are done, highlight the hidden text at the bottom for the answers.

1. Which Hollywood actress married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in April 1956?
2. Which Harry Potter actor has played both King Arthur and Cromwell?
3. Only one actor has appeared in all nine Star Wars saga films. Can you name the actor and the part they play?
4. Roger Deakins won the Best Cinematography Oscar for Blade Runner 2049 in 2017. How many times had he been nominated before winning?
5. What is the highest-grossing film of all time?
6. The great actor Charles Laughton only directed one film. Can you name it, and the former silent star who was its female lead?
7. Complete this quote from Jaws: “You’re going to need a —-”
8. Which computer businessman invested in Pixar in 1986 and became its chairman?
9. What was the first animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar?
10. Sean Connery plays a king in four films. Can you name at least three?

1. Grace Kelly. 2. Richard Harris. 3. Anthony Daniels, C-3PO. 4. 13. His win was his 14th nomination. 5. Avengers: Endgame. 6. The Night of the Hunter, Lilian Gish. 7. Bigger boat. 8. Steve Jobs. 9. Beauty and the Beast. 10. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, First Knight, Time Bandits, The Man Who Would Be King


Stream now for £10.50, and 50% of the revenue will come to Screen Machine

A reminder you can still stream Pahokee, a documentary about high school students in a not-so-affluent-town in rural Florida. If you’d like to stream it, then please click on the link below and, when prompted, enter this code:


You will then be invited to pay £10.50 to stream the film, and 50% of the revenue will come to Screen Machine. You can watch the film on almost any device, and you’ll have 72 hours to begin watching. You’ll be entering into a contract with Visit Film/Monument Releasing, not with RSS/Screen Machine. You might see a trailer which suggests the price is $18, or the rent button saying £15, but please be assured that we have negotiated a special price of £10.50, with 50% of the revenue coming to Screen Machine.

To rent Pahokee follow this link.


TLC for Screen Machine

Before…                     After                             Before…                      After
This week Iain has been painting the inside of the auditorium. The marks you can see in the before photos developed over time from Screen Machine continuously opening and closing, so they will eventually return. But for now he’s applied a fresh coat of paint to smarten it all up!


We’ll be back with more news next Friday. In the meantime, we hope the sun keeps shining and that you all stay well.

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