Films of the week: Streetwise pairing step up to the bar in Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets
Friday 13 September 2013
(Martin Scorsese, 1973) Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro had each made films before, but it wasn't until their first collaboration that they announced their arrival as major talents – and, specifically, the moment when De Niro's small-time local hoodlum swaggers into a bar in New York's Little Italy in slow motion, to the Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash". The whole of Mean Streets fizzes with similar energy and cool. *****
1.30am Channel 4
(François Ozon, 2010) François Ozon's brightly coloured comedy about Seventies manners, and marital and industrial relations stars Catherine Deneuve as a woman who discovers that she is capable of being more than just a potiche, or trophy wife, after she takes over the running of her husband's umbrella factory. It would be pure kitsch, except that the performers give it real feeling. Gérard Depardieu co-stars. ***
(Duncan Jones, 2009) This retro British sci-fi film wears its influences (2001, Solaris, Silent Running) on its sleeve. But thanks to the excellent production design, a clever script, and above all, Sam Rockwell's performance as a man who discovers that he isn't, as he'd previously thought, entirely alone on a moon base – it doesn't suffer by the comparisons in the least. ****
10am & 8pm Sky Movies Premiere
(Jason Moore, 2012) This campus comedy is set in the arcane world of competitive collegiate a cappella singing, or what is also called "organised nerd singing" – which is apparently a real thing on campuses in the US. Full of fresh performances, smart lines and neologisms, original musical arrangements, and shout-outs to The Breakfast Club, it's like Glee without any sentiment. Rebel Wilson and Anna Kendrick star. ****
The King of Marvin Gardens
(Bob Rafelson, 1972) Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson's follow-up to Five Easy Pieces is another downbeat character drama, and the latter's performance as a depressive talk-radio DJ is one of his most restrained; it's Bruce Dern and Ellen Burstyn who are the dreamers and dangerous self-deceivers of the piece. The faded glamour of off-season Atlantic City makes for a melancholy backdrop. ****
Dreams That Money Can Buy
(Hans Richter, 1946) In this collaboration between some of the mid-20th century's great avant- gardists, a man 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 jaunty and fascinatingly strange. Jack Bittner stars. ****
Silver Linings Playbook
4pm & 8pm Sky Movies Premiere
(David O Russell, 2012) If people acted in real life as they do in Hollywood's romantic comedies – impulsively, obsessively, unpredictably – then they would appear quite mad. Accordingly, this film, in which Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence's characters really do have mental health issues, looks like a standard rom-com – but it has an endearingly unruly quality, and flat-out refuses to conform to type. ****
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