Films of the week: Day-Lewis worth his weight in gold in bloody drama
Friday 18 January 2013
There Will Be Blood
(Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007) Daniel Day-Lewis stars as a late-19th-century oil prospector, with the outwardly charming manner of a snake oil salesman and an indomitable will to power raging underneath; the kind of man who laid the foundations of the US nation and of the modern age. It's a towering performance, and this film about him is accordingly awesome, bold and intense. Paul Dano and Dillon Freasier also star. *****
(John Patrick Shanley, 2008) Meryl Streep stars as the principle of a Sixties Catholic primary school who suspects the parish priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of "improper conduct" towards one of her charges. Expanded from a Pulitzer Prize- winning play, this gripping drama sets up a range of oppositions – between progressive social forces and tradition; faith and empiricism – which it then refuses to resolve. ****
11.10pm & 3am TCM
(Cameron Crowe, 1989) Cameron Crowe's debut film is one of the most rounded and well-written teen movies of the Eighties, and the motormouth high-school graduate Lloyd Dobler is one of the defining roles of John Cusack's career. The film is best remembered now for the iconic scene in which Lloyd holds aloft a ghetto-blaster playing Peter Gabriel, in order to woo back the school brainbox (Ione Skye). ****
Escape from New York
(John Carpenter, 1981) In the then- future of 1987, Manhattan has been isolated from society and converted into a maximum security prison. When the president's plane crash lands there, the embittered, tattooed and archetypal wisecracking tough-guy Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) has 24 hours in which to rescue him. For a film of obviously limited means, this is impressively stuffed with b-movie thrills and fun. ***
(Franc Roddam, 1979) It's surprising that anyone wanted to film another of the Who's "rock operas" after Ken Russell's Tommy, but in this one the band's music is pushed into the background while Phil Daniels' mod suffers a teenage existential crisis and rides his scooter to Brighton for a clash with the rockers. It's a period piece – but an irrepressible one, brimming with youthful exuberance and angst. Sting also stars. ****
Dreams That Money Can Buy
(Hans Richter, 1946) In this collaboration between some of the mid-20th century's great avant- gardists, a man (Jack Bittner) goes into business selling dreams to those without. And the dream sequences that follow are the works of Max Ernst, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and the Dadaist who brought them together, Hans Richter. The score is by John Cage. It's surprisingly jaunty; fascinatingly strange. ****
7.45am & 12.15am Sky Movies Premiere
(Dexter Fletcher, 2011) Despite its East End criminal milieu, Dexter Fletcher's directorial debut is a confident, funny and likeable actor's piece. Charlie Creed-Miles stars as an ex-con who wants to go straight. But the film really belongs to its teenage and child actors, who brilliantly convey all the emotions and resentments that their characters feel at having to pay for their fathers' sins. ****
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