The 49 best things to watch in 4K on Sky Q

Stuff’s pick of Sky’s best Ultra HD bits, updated for November

Got Sky Q but no 4K telly to plug your box into? Have you any idea how many pixels you’re missing out on?

Ultra HD comes as standard with your Sky Q subscription and while it doesn’t extend to everything available, the catalogue is steadily growing all the time. Here’s Stuff’s pick of Sky’s 4K menu...

The Mule

Most pensioners fill their spare time with rounds of golf, weekly bingo, or a part-time job in the local garden centre. In The Mule, Clint Eastwood’s smooth-talking Earl Stone, a divorced horticulturist and Korean War veteran whose livelihood was ruined by online flower delivery companies, earns his extra pocket money doing something a lot less legal.

The octogenarian’s appearance and clean driving licence make him the ideal candidate for a job ferrying product across Illinois for a Mexican drug cartel – and after an unsure start Earl quickly gets used to a smuggler’s lifestyle. While his outdated attitudes and treatment of his estranged family mean he’s never totally likeable, his fish-out-of-water manner makes it difficult not to root for this unlikely criminal. But how long can he keep it up after the DEA start sniffing around?

Zombieland

When Jesse Eisenberg’s Columbus meets Woody Harrelson’s Twinkie-munching Tallahassee during a zombie outbreak, the unlikely pair begin a cross-country mission to find out if the former’s parents have survived, encountering various survivors and victims, including an undead Bill Murray, on the way.

Zombieland is silly, outrageously violent and easily rewatchable, a bit like an American Shaun of the Dead, plus it has what is probably the best opening sequence of any film released in the past 10 years – and not just because it's soundtracked by Metallica’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. 

The Old Man & The Gun

Imagine if Compo, Foggy and Clegg from Last of the Summer Wine spent their time robbing banks instead of rolling down hills in old bathtubs and you’d have something close to The Old Man & The Gun – it even has that evocative retro look.

It stars Robert Redford as Forrest Tucker – the charming ringleader of an ageing trio of real-life thieves who pull off each job as politely as possible. With Casey Affleck as the weary detective on Tucker’s tail, and Sissy Spacek as his Nora Batty, this old-fashioned tale of an unlikely geriatric crimewave is a suitable way for Redford to bow out on a 58-year big-screen career.

Widows

You could plan the perfect robbery in the time it took for Steve McQueen to make Widows, which is ironic considering that’s pretty much what it’s all about.

When a group of thieves are killed in a heist gone awry, it’s left to their grieving wives to repay the debts of the dead – and what better way to do that than pulling off a job their other halves never got a chance to?

Widows is much more than just a grittier version of Oceans 8 though. While it’s still very much a blockbuster, it all plays out with a backdrop of inequality and corruption. If you liked The Wire, you’ll be happy McQueen spent so long perfecting this.

Bad Times at the El Royale

When an ageing priest, a struggling singer and a talkative vacuum-cleaner salesman meet in the lobby of the seemingly deserted El Royale hotel, it’s pretty obvious there’s more coming their way than just slow room service – and not just because we’ve already seen a mysterious bag being buried beneath the floorboards of one of the suites.

Dakota Johnson's no-nonsense Emily soon joins them and before long the various characters’ true motives and identities start to be revealed. Bad Times… is a Tarantino-esque late ‘60s noir with some genuinely standout scenes and its fair share of gut-punching violence – it’s just a shame that the thing it has most in common with QT’s recent work is that it’s just that little bit too long.

Pacific Rim

Michael Bay’s Transformers series somehow managed to give the ‘big robots smashing seven bells out of stuff’ genre a bad name, but 2013’s Pacific Rim managed to claw back a bit of respectability.

Pitting gigantic, mind-controlled mechs called Jaegers against even bigger sea monsters from another dimension, Pacific Rim isn’t exactly a masterclass in emotional subtlety. Unsurprisingly the tiny humans are overshadowed by their vessels and scaly foes, but there aren’t many things that look better on a big telly than robots and monsters having a ruck in 4K.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Essentially the movie version of that Spider-Man doppelganger meme, Into the Spider-Verse is quite possibly the freshest superhero film in years.

After notorious Brooklyn gangster Kingpin – portrayed here as a giant, evil thumb – opens up a portal to multiple other dimensions, recently bitten teenager Miles Morales finds himself getting to grips with his new superpowers while trying to help a motley crew of arachno-heroes return to their rightful dimensional homes.

It sounds like pretty run-of-the-mill superhero stuff, but with plenty of genuinely good gags, a script that’s almost painfully meta, and a 4K-friendly art style that feels both eye-poppingly modern and faithful to Spidey’s comic book roots, here’s hoping Into the Spider-Verse is just the first strand of a brand new web.

Shutter Island

Martin Scorsese’s bromance with Leonardo DiCaprio continued for a fourth straight film when the Oscar-dodging actor appeared as US Marshal Teddy Daniels in 2010’s nouveau Hitchcockian Shutter Island.

Having arrived to investigate the disappearance of a patient from the island’s secure psychiatric facility, Daniels and his partner are soon trapped there by a huge storm. With the hospital’s staff oddly uncooperative and various parts of the island off limits, including the mysterious lighthouse, things soon take a turn for the strange. Shutter Island is far from Scorsese’s finest work, but even that puts it among the best of most other directors.

First Man

When telling stories the whole world already knows there’s a danger that they just don’t offer enough jeopardy. So while we know that Ryan Gosling’s Neil Armstrong will take mankind’s pioneering steps on the moon at the end of First Man, what makes the film so compelling is the journey he went on while Apollo 11 was still just a twinkle in NASA’s eye.

From his days flying experimental high-altitude jets and puking his guts up on a G-force simulator, to the parade of funerals he has to attend for colleagues, First Man reveals the myriad human costs of the space program, both large and small. If you’re a moron, it also proves how easy the whole thing would’ve been to fake.

Edge of Tomorrow

If hostile aliens had invaded Earth during the filming of Groundhog Day, and Tom Cruise had been cast as the lead instead of Bill Murray, the result might’ve looked a bit like Edge of Tomorrow.

Cruise stars as Major William Cage, a combat novice who gets thrown in at the deep end in the fight against the invading hoard. But when he clocks that every time he dies he wakes up back where he started, Cage uses his unlimited lives to perfect his fighting skills and gradually gain the upper hand. Edge of Tomorrow is a lean, nimble blockbuster that doesn’t even have to rely on repeatedly killing Tom Cruise to keep things entertaining.

E.T.

When a small, wrinkly telecommunications expert with a glowing finger is discovered living in a wood shed in a Californian suburb, he enlists a school boy named Elliott to help him get in touch with his estranged family. Oh, did we mention he’s an alien from outer space?

Spielberg’s sci-fi classic doesn’t need 4K to shine, but it certainly gives you another reason to watch a film you’ve almost certainly seen more often than you visit some members of your extended family.

Bonus fact: the girl Elliott kisses in biology class went on to play the stripper in Under Siege a decade later. How about that for an unconventional double-bill for your next movie night?

Gomorrah

With its unpredictable plot, unfiltered violence and intoxicating setting, Sky Italia’s Gomorrah has quietly become one of the most critically acclaimed shows on TV – and this long-awaited fourth series of the brutal mafia drama shows no signs of changing that.

With Ciro out of the picture and Patrizia handed more power in Naples, Gennaro has entered something of a Stringer Bell phase – doing his best to go legit but occasionally lapsing into old habits when things don’t quite go to plan. With his extended family now on the scene, both Enzo’s young team and the Capaccios agitating for more influence, and Patri’s lack of experience often apparent, how long can the uneasy truce really last?

Chernobyl

Unless you work for The Sun, you’re probably well aware that Chernobyl is based on a true story. Unlike a lot of other major tragedies, though, the events of 26 April 1986 have largely avoided dramatisation – and with this five-part series HBO has absolutely nailed it.

Depicting a paranoid and secretive state in a crisis like nothing seen before or since, Chernobyl reconstructs the disaster with exquisite attention to detail. From the accident at the power plant itself to its devastating and far-reaching consequences, this is masterfully made TV. You’ll never look at a cement mixer in the same way again.

Mission Impossible: Fallout

On paper, Mission Impossible: Fallout is a checklist of seen-it-all-before action movie cliches: shadowy terrorist organisations, stolen plutonium, rogue agents and more guns than a surprise birthday party at Rambo’s house. On your telly, though, it’s an edge-of-your-sofa stonker.

With a film like this it’s all about the execution, and while there are plot points that are unnecessarily convoluted, the whole thing is propelled by some of the most nerve-shredding action sequences ever seen. From a skydive through a lightning storm to a helicopter chase amid the mountains of Kashmir that really gives your telly a chance to show off its 4K skills, Fallout is far better than any film starring a 56-year-old Tom Cruise has any right to be.

BlacKKKlansman

For an African-American man to go undercover in the Ku Klux Klan, he’s going to need more than just a white hood for a disguise. So when Colorado Springs’ first black cop spontaneously puts a call in to the Klan and arranges a face-to-face meeting with the local branch, he sends one of his white colleagues instead.

Set in the 1970s and based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, Spike Jonze’s heavily embellished version might sound like heavy going but the sharp script, and gradual build up of tension as the pair get more and more involved, stops the potential reality of the situation becoming too much. That’s not to say it doesn’t pack a powerful punch, though, particularly when Jonze draws unignorable parallels with modern-day America.

The Meg

When you settle in for a movie night you’re not always in the mood for a multi-layered, thought-provoking drama. Sometimes you just want to watch Jason Statham have a fight with a fish the size of an Isle of Wight ferry.

It’s a good job, then, that The Meg exists. Having disturbed a prehistoric megalodon at the bottom of the sea, a marine research team calls upon diver Jonas (Statham and his globe-trotting accent) to return to the depths that haunt him after a previous rescue mission ended badly.

Obviously it’s no Citizen Kane, and there’s a suspicion that it only exists to facilitate the pun just before the end credits roll, but who doesn’t want to watch a boat drag Jason Statham along, like a bit of big, angry, bald bait, all in 4K?

Schindler’s List

Part of a 10-film 4K Spielberg collection, which also includes four other titles already on this list, this gruelling three-hour period drama tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of over 1000 refugees by employing them in his factories during the Holocaust.

A predominantly black-and-white film might not be the obvious choice for Ultra HD but it gives Schindler’s List an even more timeless quality and arguably makes the famous girl in the red coat even more striking.

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