The Week in DVR: Holiday Flicks (Hey Gizmo!), Clint and Malkovich, L.A. Confidential

Monday: In the Line of Fire
With Gran Torino burning up the box office in limited release, it’s clear that people can’t get enough of Clint Eastwood. So it might be a good time to revisit him in Wolfgang Petersen’s 1993 film, In the Line of Fire. The thriller should be as hackneyed as that title, but thanks to the clenched-jawed Mr. Eastwood and a wildly invested and sadistic John Malkovich, the movie possesses a Hitchcockian flair … until the predictably rote finale makes you remember you’re watching a Wolfgang Petersen film. Incidentally, Mr. Malkovich got an Oscar nomination for his performance, and it was actually well deserved; he’s fantastic. Given his success here, perhaps the enigmatic star should think about slumming it more often. [HDNet, 4:30 p.m.]

Tuesday: Gremlins
Gremlins is a Christmas movie, if you like Christmas movies where little green monsters terrorize and gruesomely kill many inhabitants of a Capra-esque town. Despite being written by noted saccharinist Chris Columbus (Home Alone) and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg (himself no stranger to shmaltz), Gremlins is pretty harsh stuff for children. In fact, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it helped herald in the era of PG-13 ratings. If it weren’t for that adorable Gizmo, we don’t think we could have watched this when we were kids without having a panic attack. [AMC, 3 p.m.]

Wednesday: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
We affectionately call Cristian Mungiu’s 2007 Romanian film the "Children of Men of abortion movies". His harrowing tale of two students trying to procure an illegal abortion in 1987 Romania is a brutal (brutal!) viewing experience, thanks in large part to Mr. Mungiu’s love of long takes. Honestly, it feels like there are only 10 cuts in the entire film. In one particular stretch, the camera stays locked on star Anamaria Marinca for nearly eight minutes and the young actress, trapped in the frame like a prisoner, doesn’t disappoint; she conveys more emotion with strained and worried glances than most Hollywood stars can with full soliloquies. [Sundance, 10 p.m.]

Thursday: L.A. Confidential
Looking back at the movies we liked in college is sometimes as embarrassing as seeing old photos of ourselves. (Did we really love American Beauty? And are we really wearing Adidas pants? Ugh!) Thankfully, L.A. Confidential doesn’t fall into that trap. It’s hard to believe Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland helped create one of the best movies from the last decade, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and James Ellroy’s source novel, it would have been pretty hard for them to screw this up. L.A. Confidential might not be Chinatown, but it’s damn close. [Starz, 4:15 a.m.]

Friday: Greatest Holiday Movies: TV & Film Countdown
If you’re like us, you haven’t been able to keep up with all the holiday movies airing on cable during the last couple of weeks. There just isn’t enough time! Thankfully NBC has people like us covered. This countdown show might be more suited to VH1, but since many of our favorites are represented, who cares? It’s a lot easier to watch the end of It’s a Wonderful Life than to sit through the entire thing for the 60th time. [NBC, 8 p.m.]

The Week in DVR: Holiday Flicks (Hey Gizmo!), Clint and Malkovich, L.A. Confidential