Five Fabulous Flicks, Plus One

Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain

Start the weekend — and next week — right with these films airing May 29-June 4. All times ET.

May 29
Cold Mountain (2003)
Keep a hankie handy for this romantic tearjerker set in the waning days of the U.S. Civil War. Based on the bestseller by Charles Frazier and starring Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and Renée Zellweger (with an appearance by Zellweger’s then-beau Jack White), Cold Mountain is one story of heartbreak and longing in a war that was much less forgiving for many others grieving on either side of the conflict. More folksy and romantic than historically accurate. Oxygen, 9pm

May 31
Night at the Museum (2006)
Ben Stiller stars as a guy new to his gig as the night watchman at the Museum of Natural History — where, when the halls close and the doors lock, history really does come alive. Expect a lot of surprising turns, not least of which are Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney in their roles as dastardly villains. Don’t believe the hype — it’s really much better than you might have heard. FX, 6:30pm

June 1
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder shine in their most collaborative effort, a twisted, Borscht-Belt retooling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. (Yes, we all know — “That’s Fronkenshteen!”) Sure, you’ve probably seen it many times before, but can you ever get sick of Peter Boyle as the Monster singing “Puttin’ on the Ritz”? FMC, 9:30pm

June 2
There Will Be Blood (2007)
In the opinion of two out of the three of us who select these films, this is the movie that should have won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2008 (Athena still votes for No Country for Old Men). Very loosely based on Upton Sinclair’s socialist epic Oil!, this is a film that oozes darkness from beginning to end. Riveting performances from Daniel Day-Lewis (who did take the Oscar for Best Actor) and Paul Dano make this tale of black greed piercingly unforgettable. Never mind the milkshake business. Just see it. TMC, 8pm

June 4
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Director Peter Jackson pulls out the stops and pulls off the miracle of cinematic miracles: Making the third installment in a trilogy more captivating, more absorbing and heartfelt than the two films that preceded it. Tolkien purists still will say the film falls short of the books’ majesty, but Jackson’s King is still a triumph of filmmaking. TNT, 8pm ET

And one for those who subscribe to Starz:

May 30
Ratatouille (2007)
One of the most delightful of the CGI-based animated films produced in recent years, Ratatouille is about … well, a rat. But not just any rat — Remy is a rat with a gourmet palate and a talent for cooking that just might help his new friend Linguini hold down the job of Remy’s dreams, and help Linguini get the girl — if only Linguini can manage to keep the secret under his hat. This is that rare family film that really is fun for all ages. Starz, 7:05pm

© Miramax Film Corp. All Rights Reserved. Credit: Phil Bray