2001: A Space Odyssey
Despite being 50 years old, Kubrick’s sci-fi classic might just be the ideal film for 4K, offering beautifully shot images of everything from prehistoric desert plains to psychedelic alternate dimensions via some beautifully choreographed spaceship ballet.
But this isn’t some brainless, CGI-riddled space opera. Inspired by an Arthur C Clarke short story called The Sentinel, 2001 is packed with themes that were way ahead of its time, from artificial intelligence to the search for alien life. It’s slow going (not a word is said for the first 20 minutes) but there’s a reason it consistently bothers the business end of best film lists.
Saving Private Ryan
Has there been a more viscerally overwhelming 25 minutes of cinema than the Normandy landings sequence at the start of Saving Private Ryan? Even 20 years after its release, Spielberg’s World War 2 epic hasn’t lost a thing, particularly in Ultra HD.
Even though it views events through star-spangled specs, it does a fine job of capturing the fear, bravery and despair of Tom Hanks’s young platoon as they attempt to rescue the last remaining Ryan son from occupied France. A true modern classic.
The Bourne Trilogy
Is a Bourne film really a Bourne film without Matt Damon? While 2012’s Damon-free The Bourne Legacy is also part of Sky’s Ultra HD offering, we’d recommended ignoring all but the original trilogy of films that had Paul Greengrass at the helm.
Paired with a 007-shaming Damon, Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum have a grit and brutality that was in stark contrast to the invisible cars and absurd levels of product placement that Bond was dabbling in at the time - and they're all the better for it.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Collector's Edition
Proof that not all alien invasions are about enslaving the human race and turning every city back into building materials, Spielberg’s sci-fi classic tells the story of a group of people who start to experience unexplained visions after odd encounters with unidentified forces.
A bit like E.T. for hipsters, its pace feels particularly slow compared to modern blockbusters, but it has a sense of curiosity and wide-eyed wonder that’s often lacking in the apocalypse-obsessed movies of today. If you liked Arrival, Close Encounters is its spiritual ancestor.
Here’s an offer you can’t refuse: the greatest film of all time in 4K. Only the first part of Francis Ford Coppola’s mafia trilogy is available on Sky Q, but don’t listen to the people who say Part II is better: they’re wrong.
Despite being the best part of 50 years old, the Ultra HD version of The Godfather practically looks like it was shot yesterday, with post-war New York and Sicily really brought to life. Life, of course, is not something that every character in The Godfather gets to enjoy, but you can make the most of this bona fide classic from the safety of your sofa.
Patrick Melrose sounds like the name of the guy who’s in charge of accounts at your office but even Benedict Cumberbatch would probably struggle to make his life interesting.
Each of the five episodes is based on a different book from Edward St Aubyn’s series of semi-autobiographical novels, in which the titular character battles grief, abuse and various addictions across cities and eras. It’s superbly written, masterfully acted and brilliantly directed, with the various settings making it an excellent work out for your telly.
Lawrence of Arabia
At 7GB and three-and-a-half hours long, give your Wi-Fi a workout by downloading Lawrence of Arabia to your Sky Q box.
David Lean’s biopic, which tells the story of T.E. Lawrence’s role in the Arab Revolt during World War I, is a genuine epic. With a truly iconic soundtrack and some excellent supporting roles from the camels, its shimmering desert scenes look so good in 4K you’ll be worried about scorching the sofa.
Now into its third series (with all three available in Ultra HD), Billions is about a grumpy US Attorney (Paul Giamatti’s Chuck) and his nemesis: a charitable-but-devious hedge fund manager called Axe, played by Homeland’s Damian Lewis.
But wait! Come back! It’s not all spreadsheets and interest rates. Yes, there’s a fair amount of baffling finance talk but it’s much funnier than you’d imagine, with the drama coming from the power struggle between these two big-bucks heavyweights. It’s classic cat ‘n’ mouse stuff, but on this occasion both animals are so rich they’re almost untouchable. Almost…