Films of the week: De Niro stops at nothing to be crowned king
Saturday 13 October 2012
The King of Comedy
(Martin Scorsese, 1983) Rupert Pupkin, an ambitious but untalented stand-up comic, is every bit as intensely creepy, sad and unpredictable as the characters Robert De Niro (below) and Martin Scorsese had created in their four previous collaborations. And it's a terrific performance, of course, but the revelation was Jerry Lewis, playing it straight as the television talk-show host whom Pupkin kidnaps. Sandra Bernhard also stars. *****
(Robert Altman, 2001) Robert Altman's vivacious country-house murder mystery is as much Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs as it is Agatha Christie; a witty dissection of the mores of both the English upper-classes between the wars and those of their serving staff. The cast includes every famous British actor who was working at the time, and they all look to be having a spiffing good time. Maggie Smith (above) stars. ****
(Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, 2010) "Sir, poetry cannot be directly translated into prose. That is why it is poetry," explains a witness during the 1957 obscenity trial of Alan Ginsberg's beat poem Howl. Nevertheless, this is a bold and largely successful effort to transpose the poem to the screen, using a mixture of animation, jazz music, court transcripts and a re-enactment of its first performance starring James Franco as Ginsberg. ****
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
7pm Sky Movies Classics
(Martin Ritt, 1965) In contrast to the Bond film Thunderball and Michael Caine's The Ipcress File, which were rel-eased in the same year, this dour, realist John Le Carré adaptation presented Cold War espionage as a corrupting, morally compromised and grubby business, and the spies themselves as "seedy, squalid bastards". Richard Burton (above) is brilliant as a brooding double agent in East Berlin. *****
10.15am & 6.10pm Sky Movies Indie
(Richard Kelly, 2001) An opaque, dreamily weird cult film set in an Eighties, John-Hughes-by-way-of-David-Lynch US suburb, involving time-travel or alternate universes and a 6ft rabbit called Frank. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Donnie, the likeable but slightly disturbed new kid at school, and there are memorable roles, too, for Patrick Swayze and the film's producer, Drew Barrymore. ****
Carlos – Part One
(Olivier Assayas, 2010) Originally made for French television, Olivier Assayas's trilogy of films about the Venezuelan pro-Palestine terrorist Carlos the Jackal – revealed as a monomaniacal, psychotic, vain and sleazy revolutionary poseur – play like a stylish and exhilarating political thriller, but with the rare depth and texture of a television miniseries. Part two follows at 12.50am; Part three is on tomorrow. Edgar Ramirez (above) stars. ****
The Silence of Lorna
(Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2008) Lorna (Arta Dobroshi, above, with Jeremie Renier) is a young Albanian who has married a Belgian junkie for his citizenship and is preparing to marry a mobster for his money. The former documentary makers the Dardenne brothers produce powerful dramas about everyday hopes and routines, as well as the end results of economic desperation. Their fourth is intriguingly elliptical. ****
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Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'We're starting to see his demise'
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
V&A removes depiction of Prophet Mohamed from website amid 'severe security alert'
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd