Films of the week: Jeff and the Coens head into Wayne's world
Tuesday, 4.40pm & 10pm Sky Movies Indie
(Joel & Ethan Coen, 2010) This remake of the 1969 John Wayne western is one of the Coen brothers' most classically crafted, least ironic films, full of old-fashioned pleasures such as colourful characters, comic turns and the restoration of order. Jeff Bridges makes the role of the ornery, boozy, one-eyed bounty hunter Rooster Cogburn his own; Hailee Steinfeld is terrific as the 14-year-old who hires him.
Saturday, 11.15pm Channel 4
(Michael Mann, 1995) To the crime thriller what The Godfather is to the gangster drama, this is genre entertainment on an operatically grand scale. And to underline the point, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino share screen time together for the first time since the Godfather Part II, playing a pair of ultra-masculine, ruthless obsessives who have grudging respect for one another despite being on either side of the law.
35 Shots of Rum
Sunday, 12.50am Channel 4
(Claire Denis, 2008) Denis's warmest, most humane film looks in on the lives of a Parisian train driver (Alex Descas) and the student-age daughter with whom he lives. Akin to Yasujiro Ozu's Late Spring in its minimalist style as well as its subject matter, it moves at the pace of daily life and, without ever seeming to tell us very much, is enormously revealing of its characters' feelings and attachments.
Monday, 9pm Film4
(Roman Polanski, 2010) Polanski's adaptation of the Robert Harris novel is entertaining on two levels: as a well-controlled and typically Hitchcockian conspiracy thriller, and as a dryly witty and pointed political satire. Ewan McGregor stars as a ghostwriter hired to liven up the memoirs of a vain, prickly and Blair-like former British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan).
Samson & Delilah
Wednesday, 1.05am Film4
(Warwick Thornton, 2009) This film about life for a pair of destitute teenagers (Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson) from a stultifying Aboriginal settlement was acclaimed as an important alarm call in its own country. One of the kids is habitually high on solvents and it has an appropriately vivid but woozy ambience. It is bleak but also poetic and even kind of funny, in a Samuel Becket sort of way.
Maria Full of Grace
9pm Sky Atlantic
(Joshua Marston, 2004) Maria (Catalina Sandino Moreno) is 17, Colombian and pregnant; she's feisty, quick-witted but prone to make the odd bad decision. And for all these reasons, she agrees to swallow a stash of heroin to transport to New York. It's very convincing about the realities of economic migration and the drugs trade, but this film's real triumph is how wholeheartedly we believe in Maria.
(Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) Familiarity may have lessened some of its shock value, but Pyscho didn't get to be a cultural touchstone without being an impeccably crafted and deviously inventive chiller. Anthony Perkins' performance as the mother-fixated motelier Norman Bates is flawless, and full of pathos; Bates seems comical, pathetic and chilling, all at the same time. Janet Leigh also stars.
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