Five Fabulous Flicks (Plus Two)

by Karl J. Paloucek

There’s a worthy film for every night of your week. Here are our picks for April 19-25. Remember, all airtimes are ET.

April 19
The Pianist (2002)
Director Roman Polanski revisits the Warsaw of his childhood in this compelling story of pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody) and his struggle to survive the destruction all around him. The film earned three Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Director. Harrowing and brilliant. IFC, 10pm ET

April 20
The Conversation (1974)
In between directing his epics The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II, Francis Ford Coppola created this exquisite little film about voyeurism and conscience. Gene Hackman is masterful as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert whose recording of a couple having an affair may lead to murder. An eerie feeling of paranoia winds this film tighter than reel-to-reel tape. TCM, 10pm ET

April 21
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Remakes are seldom a match for the original, but let’s face it — as vivid and packed with star power as it is, the Rat Pack’s Ocean’s Eleven isn’t much more than a polished piece of kitsch. But it’s the cast that makes it fun, and the same is true of this Steven Soderbergh update featuring George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and numerous others. The film is just an excuse for all of these talents to have a blast working together, and they do. TNT, 8pm ET

April 22
Erin Brockovich (2000)
Another Steven Soderbergh vehicle, based on the true-life story of a legal assistant who daringly investigates the suspicious real estate dealings of a multibillion-dollar corporation to find that its mishandling of toxic waste is poisoning the surrounding community. Julia Roberts took home a Best Actress Oscar for her role, and perennial favorite Albert Finney was likewise nominated for his supporting role as Brockovich’s boss. Starz, 6:45pm ET

April 23
Dirty Harry (1971)
The film that introduced Dirty Harry to the world pits one of Clint Eastwood’s most savage screen creations against a serial killer, Scorpio, who wants the San Francisco Police Department to play his game by the rules. But Dirty Harry has no rules, resulting in a film that does. Its tale of street justice is sadly as relevant today as it was when the film was released, if not more so. AMC, 8pm ET

April 24
Rashomon (1950)
Set in Feudal Japan, Akira Kurosawa’s story of a murder and the differing perspectives offered as testimony is an insightful piece of filmmaking about the horror of truth. Breathtakingly shot in black and white, this is one of the venerated director’s finest efforts. TCM, 10:15pm ET

April 25
Transformers (2007)
Yes, it’s directed by Michael Bay. No, it’s not the height of cinematic sophistication. But it does have Shia LaBeouf, cool vehicles that turn into robots, tons of action and an engaging-enough story to hold it all together. You might be surprised. Cinemax, 7:30pm ET

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Photo:

The Pianist: © 2002 Focus Features. Credit: Guy Ferrandis