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Films of the week: Intersection of chance and luck steers LA souls



Short Cuts

10.55pm TCM

(Robert Altman, 1993) Freely adapting and then deftly weaving together 10 of Raymond Carver's minimalist, quietly poetic short stories about emotionally inarticulate characters, relocating them to contemporary suburban California, injecting a little humour, and having an all-star cast, Robert Altman's account of life's rich tapestry is one of the very best US films of the Nineties. Andie MacDowell and Jack Lemmon star. *****


Moonrise Kingdom

8.20pm Sky Movies Select

(Wes Anderson, 2012) Wes Anderson's typically idiosyncratic entry in the lovers-on-the-run genre is set in New England in 1965, steeped in oddly remembered nostalgia, and pits two reckless non-conformists against straight society. As ever, Anderson is on the side of the precocious, geeky and childlike: the runaways are only 12, but their love is no less deeply felt because of it. Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman star. ****


The Road

10.30pm BBC2

(John Hillcoat, 2009) Viggo Mortensen and his son roam the post-apocalypse in this uncompromising adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel – a kind of literary Mad Max. There are other survivors but they've turned feral and cannibalistic, so Mortensen and son – weakened by starvation and down to their last few bullets – may represent the world's last shreds of humanity. ****


Buffalo '66

11.15pm Film4

(Vincent Gallo, 1998) Vincent Gallo isn't an especially likeable guy, but this low-budget debut comedy that he wrote, produced, scored, directed and starred in is a minor gem of loser cinema. He plays a ratty motormouth, just released from prison, who kidnaps Christina Ricci's jailbait ingénue and coerces her into visiting his parents and pretending to be his wife. ****



11.05pm Film4

(Bong Joon-ho, 2009) This brilliant South Korean crime melodrama is about the mother of a 27-year-old with learning difficulties who is charged with the murder of a local schoolgirl, and the lengths she'll take to prove his innocence. It has a dark wit and its measured pace makes you feel its characters' mounting desperation all the more, but it is also sympathetic in its treatment of its characters. Kim Hye-ja stars. *****


A Matter of Life and Death

11.25am More 4

(Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1946) British bomber-pilot David Niven falls in love with US radio operator Hunter after his time was supposedly up, and must argue the case for his continued existence in a celestial court. A visionary and superlative romantic fantasy that belies its humble origins as a propaganda film to promote the Anglo-American "special relationship". *****


The Bourne Legacy

8pm Sky Movies Premiere

(Tony Gilroy, 2012) Jeremy Renner's genetically engineered super-soldier ably fills Jason Bourne's shoes in this fourth instalment of breathless assassin- on-the-run action. Some plot elements border on science fiction, but the series' writer Tony Gilroy has a fabulous ear for that rapid-fire depersonalised military doublespeak used, as George Orwell put it, in "the defence of the indefensible". ***