Five Fabulous Flicks – Plus Three, Because It’s A Long Weekend!

wizard-of-oz-3Start the weekend — and next week — right with these films airing July 3-9. All times ET.

July 3
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Curl up with the kids and watch the classic that has it all — timeless songs, a darling dog, an evil witch, Judy Garland and flying monkeys. There are few other films as deserving of the word “masterpiece” as this one. TCM, 6pm

July 4
Casino Royale (2006)
With this film, Daniel Craig overcame the doubt and skepticism of many to become arguably the most thrilling new James Bond since Sean Connery. Playing a more human version of the quintessential superspy, Craig brings a depth and vulnerability absent from previous incarnations. Easily one of the best in the series, and full of explosive moments appropriate for the July 4 holiday. USA, 8pm

July 5
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Baz Luhrmann’s rekeying of the Orpheus legend features Ewan McGregor as the tragic poet who falls for courtesan Satine, played by Nicole Kidman. But the incredibly lavish sets, costumes and visual effects are the real stars of this film, in addition to a reasonably cleverly integrated soundtrack. It tries a little too hard for reinvention of the movie musical, and while it doesn’t completely succeed, it definitely gets an “A” for effort. Stunning imagery. IFC, 7:15pm ET

July 6
Sleeping With the Enemy (1991)
Julia Roberts may look sort of silly disguised as a man, but this thriller about a desperate woman faking her death to leave an abusive husband (Patrick Bergin) has plenty of chills. Critics weren’t terribly kind, but a lot of viewers — myself included — love it. AMC, 10pm

July 7
Burn After Reading (2008)
Granted, it’s a bit of a paint-by-numbers for the Coen Brothers, but Burn After Reading is full of the wry, charming violence and mishaps you’ve come to expect from the writer/director team. George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand take it to the limit in this caper about a couple of gym employees who stumble on some state secrets and try to blackmail the State Department marshal who inadvertently dropped them. Messy and amusing. HBO, 8pm ET

July 8
Saved! (2004)
After receiving a message from Jesus (in actuality, the pool repairman who looked a whole lot like Jesus), a good Christian girl tries to “save” her gay boyfriend. When she winds up pregnant after failing to straighten him out, she begins to question the not-so-self-evident truths around her. Wickedly funny in some moments and remarkably tender in others, this film is less about religion than the intolerance that comes with extremism of any kind. Oxygen, 8pm

July 9
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)
Only Bill Murray could’ve played Steve Zissou, the Jacques Cousteau-like title character of Wes Anderson’s imaginative and reverential film. As Zissou looks for meaning in a life spent indulging his ego, he finds redemption in one final mission, hunting the elusive jaguar shark. The Life Aquatic also boasts an impressive and dynamic ensemble cast. Every member of Zissou’s team is unique and endearing, from Klaus (Willem Dafoe) to pregnant reporter Jane (Cate Blanchett) to Brazilian songster Pele (Seu Jorge). Owen Wilson turns in a surprisingly subtle performance as Ned, who is “Steve’s son, supposedly.” This fantastic fantastical film improves with every viewing. IFC, 8pm