Television movies

Saturday, February 5

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (ITV1, 3.50pm)

What’s it about? The saga begins - or continues, depending on the order in which you watch the movies - as farm boy Luke Skywalker finds himself thrust into the midst of an intergalactic battle between good and evil.

Setting out to rescue a stubborn princess from the clutches of the sinister Darth Vader, Luke discovers the mysteries of the force, and receives help from a space pilot, a veteran warrior, a pair of bickering robots and an 8ft hairy alien.

Is it any good? While the prequel trilogy covered new and somewhat darker terrain, this initial entry in the sci-fi franchise is basically a good old-fashioned matinee adventure, with a rousing score and - at the time - extraordinary interstellar action sequences.

Anything else? The name of the planet Tatooine, the home of Luke Skywalker, is never referred to in the course of the entire film. Its title isn’t mentioned until The Empire Strikes Back, despite its now being one of the most iconic planets in the Star Wars universe.

Before Alec Guinness was cast as Obi-Wan Kenobi, George Lucas briefly considered using Peter Cushing, who plays Grand Moff Tarkin.

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing.

Star Rating: ***** (1977)

Sunday, February 6

Kill Bill: Vol One (BBC Two, times vary)

What’s it about? A female assassin quits the profession to get married and raise a family - only to be shot on her wedding day and left for dead.

Four years later, she wakes up intent on revenge and sets off to wipe out her former colleagues. Her old boss Bill is her main target, but in the meantime she’ll make do with a couple of other hit-women.

Is it any good? As an actress, Uma Thurman can be a bit hit and miss, but she’s on terrific form here in a role created especially for her by Quentin Tarantino - he reportedly gave her the script for her 30th birthday and delayed production when she became pregnant.

The director also does her proud with some great fight scenes, keeping the violence nicely stylised. However, it’s a bit of a shame he had to chop his own movie in two - the ending is a bit of an anticlimax. Fortunately for fans, Volume Two was released a few months later to offer a more satisfying conclusion.

Anything else? Thurman’s yellow and black tracksuit is a nod to Bruce Lee’s outfit in Game of Death.

Starring: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A Fox, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Julie Dreyfus, Chiaki Kuriyama

Star Rating: **** (2007)