Films of the Week: Jeff and Cybill's drama is a cut above the rest


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The Last Picture Show

2.10pm & 7.45pm Sky Movies Indie

(Peter Bogdanovich, 1971) Featuring a brilliant ensemble cast of then-unknowns including Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd and Ellen Burstyn, this 1971 coming-of-age drama is a pitch-perfect evocation of life lived with nowhere to go in a dead-end small Texas town in the Fifties – all hormones, pop music and regret. Showing here in the seven-minutes-longer director's cut. *****



12.55am BBC2

(Terrence Malick, 1973) Based on a true story, but with a poetic and dreamlike sensibility all of its own, Terrence Malick's debut is the non plus ultra of young-lovers-on-the-run films. Martin Sheen stars as a binman with pretensions to being James Dean, and Sissy Spacek as the affectless, impressionable teenage girl who tags along during his killing spree in Fifties South Dakota and Montana. *****



11pm BBC2

(Steven Spielberg, 2005) Spielberg's fictionalised reconstruction of "Operation Wrath of God", the Israeli government's unofficial response to the 1972 killing of the country's Olympic athletics team by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, is a powerful, surprisingly even-handed examination of the cyclical exchange between terrorism and retaliatory state violence. ****


This Is Spinal Tap

11.05pm ITV4

(Rob Reiner, 1984) This tour documentary was so carefully and cleverly faked that contemporary audiences reportedly wondered why Rob Reiner hadn't found a more famous heavy-metal group to profile. The even more impressive feat is that, even while Spinal Tap are egotistical idiots who make terrible music, you can't help but like them. Hilarious. *****


Cold Weather

11.10pm Film4

(Aaron Katz, 2010) Cold Weather looks like every other mumblecore indie about a diffident twenty-something college dropout in Portland, Oregon – until its hero unexpectedly turns amateur sleuth. Then, while maintaining every scrap of its scruffy and seemingly artless naturalism, it also turns into a properly involving comedy-mystery thriller. Which is actually a very clever trick. ****



11am Film4

(Jafar Panahi, 2006) This lively comedy, set during Iran's 2006 World Cup qualifier against Bahrain, is one of the few really good feature films about football. The match is only tantalisingly glimpsed, though, and instead we get the viewpoint of a group of young fans who, being female and forbidden from attending, have unsuccessfully tried to sneak into the stadium dressed as boys. ****


The Royal Tenenbaums

8pm sky Movies Indie

(Wes Anderson, 2001) In this quirky and self-consciously literary comedy, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow play a Salinger-esque family of former child prodigies getting to know their estranged, manipulative father (Gene Hackman). The director Wes Anderson has a precise and distinctive visual sensibility, which in this film is allied to genuinely felt emotions. ****