Films of the week: Rebel without a cause runs amok in binge of blood
10.55pm & 2.45am TCM
(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 Spacek as the affectless, impressionable teenage girl who tags along during his killing spree in Fifties South Dakota and Montana. Warren Oates also stars. *****
A Scanner Darkly
(Richard Linklater, 2006) Hollywood has voraciously cannibalised the stories of the sci-fi writer Philip K Dick, but this dreamy animation represents one of its few efforts to adapt his work faithfully. The result is a fantastic looking slice of weird and druggy suburban paranoia, starring rotoscoped versions of Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson, Robert Downey Jr, Winona Ryder and Rory Cochrane. ****
The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife
(Nick Broomfield, 1991) The avowed subject of this film is Eugène Terre'Blanche, a boorish South African white supremacist in the final years of the Apartheid era. But as often happens in Nick Broomfield documentaries, his subject's evasiveness is part of the story, and the focus shifts elsewhere. A very revealing, often shocking, and even humanising portrait of idiot racists. *****
(Lena Dunham, 2010) Lena Dunham's semi-autobiographical debut film – which then led to her HBO sitcom Girls – is stylistically assured as well as intermittently funny and perceptive about the foibles of a particular subset of rich, spoiled and pretentious neo-boho young New Yorkers. Unfortunately, her own character is the most self-pitying and tiresome of the bunch. Laurie Simmons and Jemima Kirke also star. ***
(Stanley Kubrick, 1980) A blocked writer holes up in a remote hotel for the winter with his family, only to find that all work and no play makes Jack an axe-wielding maniac. Jack Nicholson's wild-eyed and iconic performance constantly threatens to overpower the film, but doesn't quite, and no other horror film has the same grandeur, meticulous attention to detail or claim to cinematic high art. Shelley Duvall also stars. *****
(Martin Scorsese, 1995) After 1990's Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese adapted another Nicholas Pileggi book, this one about Mob activity in Vegas in the Seventies and Eighties, and again cast Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, adding Sharon Stone's alcoholic gold-digger to an already volatile mix. The result was another bravura piece of gangster cinema, the impact only slightly lessened by the feeling we'd seen it before. ****
A Room with a View
(James Ivory, 1985) Merchant-Ivory's first big hit, the English costume drama which all the rest have since measured themselves against, is a beautifully filmed and very dry comedy of manners adapted from the EM Forster novel. Helena Bonham Carter made her film debut as the English rose having to chose between dashing Julian Sands and staid Daniel Day-Lewis. Maggie Smith and Denholm Elliott also star. ****
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