Films of the week: Bridges is on a roll in striking comedy classic

 

Tuesday

The Big Lebowski

11.05pm ITV4

(Joel & Ethan Coen, 1998) The impossible-to-follow story has to do with bowling, a kidnap plot gone wrong and a nihilist krautrock group and their marmot. But, as with The Big Sleep, the film on which it's very loosely based, the genius of the Coen brothers' comedy is in its dialogue and incidental detail. And Jeff Bridges's "the Dude" may well be cinema's coolest loser. John Goodman and Julianne Moore also star. *****

Saturday

The King of Marvin Gardens

11.20pm Film4

(Bob Rafelson, 1972) Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson's follow-up to Five Easy Pieces is another downbeat character drama, and the latter's performance as a depressive talk-radio DJ is one of his most restrained; it's Bruce Dern and Ellen Burstyn who are the wild-eyed dreamers and dangerous self-deceivers of the piece. The faded glamour of off-season Atlantic City makes for a melancholy backdrop. ****

Sunday

Even the Rain

10pm BBC4

(Iciar Bollain, 2010) A heartfelt screenplay by Paul Laverty is the bedrock of this film, in which a movie producer has a political awakening while shooting a period drama about the conquistadors' exploitation of South America, using Bolivian extras who are involved in a fight against foreign economic interests, during the so-called "Cochabamba water wars" of 2000. Luis Tosar and Gael García Bernal star. ****

Monday

The Passenger

10.55pm Film4

(Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975) Michelangelo Antonioni's melancholy, languid and hypnotic existential anti-thriller stars Jack Nicholson as a soul-sick television reporter on assignment in the north African desert, who decides to assume the identity of the dead man in the hotel room next to his and see where it leads him. The dead man turns out to have been an arms dealer. Maria Schneider also stars. ****

Wednesday

Le Quattro Volte

1.35am Channel 4

(Michelangelo Frammartino, 2010) This detached, dialogue-free, wilfully uneventful quasi-documentary set in a Calabrian hillside village is all about natural rhythms and the cycles of life. And its credited cast members include a silver fir, goats and charcoal. Many film critics find it transcendental, though the alternate viewpoint, that it is opaque and dull, is equally valid. Giuseppe Fuda and Bruno Timpano star. ****

Thursday

Bal

11am Film4

(Semih Kaplanoglu, 2010) This prize-winning pastoral, set in the hills of the Black Sea region of Turkey, is the third part of Semih Kaplanoglu's reverse-chronology coming-of-age trilogy of films about a character named Yusef (Bora Altas), who is a boy of around six or seven in this film. It is about Yusef's relationship with his beekeeper father, their relationship to the land, and the texture and rhythm of rural life. ****

Friday

Young Adult

2.15pm & 10pm Sky Movies Premiere

(Jason Reitman, 2011) Charlize Theron gives a pitch- perfect performance as an alcoholic former prom queen, self-obsessed to the point of sociopathy, liable to say the most hilariously inappropriate things, and set on breaking up her high-school sweetheart's marriage. She neither asks for nor inspires pity – merely a gruesome fascination – which makes the writer Diablo Cody's comedy deceptively subversive. ****

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