To Leslie and Moneyshot: the Pornhub Story – the seven best films to watch on TV this week

Pick of the week

To Leslie

The controversy over the (successful) campaign to get the film’s star, Andrea Riseborough, an Oscar nomination has taken away from what should be universal praise for her lacerating performance. In Michael Morris’s touching drama of redemption, she plays self-destructive alcoholic Leslie who, after frittering away a $190,000 lottery win, finds herself homeless. Hoping to reconnect with the teenage son she abandoned, she falters and fails, but then meets Marc Maron’s motel manager Sweeney. He seems like a soft touch but his gentle persistence offers her a way out of her cycle of harm. It’s not as hard-edged as it could have been, but in Riseborough’s hands it’s utterly compelling.
Sunday 12 March, 5.55pm, 2.50am, Sky Cinema Premiere

The Third Man

Joseph Cotten in The Third Man.
Riveting … Joseph Cotten in The Third Man. Photograph: PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy

Carol Reed’s riveting 1949 thriller reunites Orson Welles with his Citizen Kane co-star Joseph Cotten in a ripped-from-the-headlines tale of black marketeers in bombed-out postwar Vienna. It features one of the most distinctive cameos in cinema from Welles, but it’s really Cotten’s film. His pulp fiction author Holly Martins finds himself in one of his wild west plots when he arrives in the city to discover his old friend, Harry Lime, has just died. Alida Valli adds heart as Lime’s actor lover but it’s a bracingly cynical drama, all askew angles and subterranean intrigue.
Sunday 11 March, 2.40pm, BBC Two

Money Shot: The Pornhub Story

Money Shot: The Pornhub Story.
Sex and videotapes … Money Shot: The Pornhub Story. Photograph: Netflix

The attempt to remove porn from the internet is, one contributor to Suzanne Hillinger’s fascinating, nuanced documentary suggests, “like ripping the spine out of something”. But recently, journalists and campaigners have put the highly lucrative video-sharing site Pornhub under extreme pressure. It’s a story that covers sexual exploitation, child abuse, racketeering charges, censorship and fundamental Christianity – as well as the porn professionals who are caught in the middle and see their livelihoods under threat.
Wednesday 15 March, Netflix

The Magician’s Elephant

The Magician’s Elephant.
A mysterious hunt … The Magician’s Elephant. Photograph: Netflix

One for the younger viewer – despite Natasia Demetriou’s sardonic narration – this amiable animated fantasy is set in a city that has literally lost its magic. But then a stage magician accidentally conjures up a full-grown elephant – which a fortune teller had told orphan Peter (Noah Jupe) would help him find the sister he thought had died. First, though, he has to accomplish three “impossible tasks” set by the king to win the animal. Director Wendy Rogers brings a Mediterranean glow to the visuals in a fable of grownup regret and youthful optimism.
Friday 17 March, Netflix

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Liam Neeson in Marlowe.
Reassuringly Chandleresque … Liam Neeson in Marlowe. Photograph: Quim Vives

With Liam Neeson starring and Neil Jordan directing, it’s little surprise that Raymond Chandler’s hard-bitten private eye has become Irish. Apart from that, this tight thriller – adapted from John Banville’s novel – is reassuringly Chandleresque. It’s California, 1939, and a rich, blond, married woman (Diane Kruger) turns up at Marlowe’s office asking him to locate her lover. Murkiness ensues. It’s also nice to see a plum role for Danny Huston, offering echoes of his dad in Chinatown.
Friday 17 March, 1.10pm, 8pm, Sky Cinema Premiere

The Curse of Frankenstein

Peter Cushing in The Curse of Frankenstein
True blood … Peter Cushing in The Curse of Frankenstein Photograph: Alamy

Terence Fisher’s 1957 shocker launched Hammer as the greatest producer of horror of its day, made Peter Cushing a star and gave Christopher Lee (as the Creature) the leg up to a lead role in the even more influential Dracula. The blood-letting may be tame by today’s standards, but Hammer’s first colour feature makes the most of the claret on display. Cushing plays it straight amid the bandages and bubbling vials as Mary Shelley’s hubristic scientist, while Lee uses his height advantage and gruesome makeup to menacing effect.
Talking Pictures TV, Friday 17 March, 9.05pm

Four Lions

Adeel Akhtar in Four Lions.
Close to the bone … Adeel Akhtar in Four Lions. Photograph: Alamy

A close-to-the-bone satire from Chris Morris – co-written with Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong – that dares you to be offended. Riz Ahmed is Omar, leader of a group of inept would-be Islamist jihadis living in Sheffield that includes Kayvan Novak’s malleable idiot Waj and Nigel Lindsay’s preposterously hardline convert Barry. There are exploding crows, suicide bomber raps and, um, Benedict Cumberbatch, in a comedy that deadpans its way through religious intolerance, police incompetence and a panoply of ignorant posturing.
Friday 17 March, 11.35pm, Film4

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