WEEK IN MOVIES

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES - WITH LEIGH PAATSCH

SUN­DAY

OBLIV­ION 9PM, 7MATE ★★ ★ Tom Cruise plays a fu­tur­is­tic sol­dier who is lit­er­ally the last man left on Earth af­ter some kind of mys­te­ri­ous alien in­ci­dent has van­quished our planet. The fi lm starts out very strong, with an im­pos­ing vi­sion of a world run­ning on empty. How­ever, plot­ting can of­ten switch from jaw- drop­ping to head­scratch­ing ( and back again) very quickly. De­serves the benefi t of the doubt thanks to some as­ton­ish­ing set- piece se­quences, and an an­chor­ing per­for­mance of un­de­ni­able qual­ity from the much­ma­ligned Cruise.

MON­DAY

SAV­ING PRI­VATE RYAN 9.30PM, ONE ★★★★★ If the tri­umph of Schindler’s List put Steven Spiel­berg on the road to some be­lated artis­tic re­spect, then the as­ton­ish­ing Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan com­pre­hen­sively com­pleted the jour­ney. A rel­a­tively sub­dued Tom Hanks leads a pla­toon across a hellish theatre of war to fi nd the last sur­viv­ing son in a fam­ily of sol­diers. A su­perb sup­port­ing cast – in­clud­ing Tom Size­more, Jeremy Davies and Ed­ward Burns – keeps the cliches at arm’s length. Cour­tesy of a gutwrench­ingly graphic open­ing that restages the D- Day land­ing in numb­ing de­tail it is im­pos­si­ble not to be caught up in this com­pelling drama for the long haul. Doesn’t get much bet­ter than this.

TUES­DAY

BATTLE: LOS AN­GE­LES 9.30PM, GO! ★ ★ Aliens have in­vaded Earth. Ev­ery ma­jor city on the planet has ca­pit­u­lated – with a sole ex­cep­tion. The ex­tra- ter­res­trial ag­gres­sors are fi nd­ing Los An­ge­les a tricky place to take over. And Un­cle Sam’s best marines are lead­ing the re­sis­tance. Not out to wow any­one on the au­then­tic­ity front, this hy­per­ac­tive ac­tion fl ick is re­ally just a con­trolled blast of may­hem. Never bor­ing. More than a bit be­wil­der­ing. Stars Aaron Eck­hart.

WED­NES­DAY

ARGO 8.30PM, GO! ★★ ★ ★ We all turn to the movies for one rea­son: es­cape. The bril­liant thriller Argo tells the stag­ger­ing true story of a world su­per­power that turned to the movies for the very same rea­son. At the height of the Iran hostage cri­sis in 1979, six US Em­bassy staff evade cap­ture by ex­trem­ists. As they con­tinue to hide out in Tehran, a CIA agent ( Ben Affl eck) con­cocts a scheme to bring them home by pos­ing as a fi lm pro­ducer and per­suad­ing the Ira­ni­ans he in­tends to shoot a sci- fi fi lm in their coun­try. The screen­play is the key, know­ing just when to stick to the facts, and when to em­bel­lish them. It’s di­rected by Affl eck, who is fast be­com­ing one of the best in the busi­ness.

THURS­DAY

UP IN THE AIR 9.30PM, ELEVEN ★★★★★ Cor­po­rate “tran­si­tion spe­cial­ist’’ Ryan Bing­ham ( Ge­orge Clooney in ca­reerbest form) trav­els all over the US sacking peo­ple. He is very, very good at what he does. And self- aware enough to recog­nise that a great day at the offi ce will still al­ways be the worst day of some­one else’s life. It might sound heavy go­ing, but this bril­liant work is blessed with an un­com­mon light­ness of touch to keep the blues at bay. It is not only a movie that is ac­tu­ally about some­thing. It is also a movie that is on to some­thing: a con­vic­tion that the world is mov­ing too fast, and many of us are too slow to re­alise, un­til it is too late. Highly rec­om­mended.

FRI­DAY

OZ THE GREAT AND POW­ER­FUL 8PM, 7MATE ★★★ Did the world re­ally need a fresh take on the ori­gin story of the fella who be­came the Won­der­ful Wiz­ard of Oz? Never mind. The tar­get au­di­ence of Oz the Great and Pow­er­ful – non- dis­cern­ing cineastes aged 10 and un­der – will still be happy enough with this pre­quel to one of the great chil­dren’s movies of all time. James Franco stars as Os­car Diggs, a dodgy trav­el­ling ma­gi­cian pro­pelled by prairie tor­nado to the fa­bled land of Oz. On ar­rival, our hero gets an up- close look at a power strug­gle be­tween witches wicked and good. Co- stars Rachel Weisz, Michelle Wil­liams.

SATUR­DAY LES MIS­ER­ABLES 8.30PM, TDT ★★ ★ ★ An im­pres­sively epic screen adap­ta­tion of the smash- hit mu­si­cal based on the fa­mous book by Vic­tor Hugo. At the epi­cen­tre of this ever-rum­bling, sprawl­ing tale, you will see the ul­ti­mate man with a past, Jean Val­jean ( Hugh Jackman). Chas­ing this noble fugi­tive all over 19th- cen­tury France with un­re­lent­ing de­ter­mi­na­tion is In­spec­tor Javert ( Rus­sell Crowe). The im­pos­ing scale of this pro­duc­tion does not end with its am­bi­tious screen­play, and its many colour­ful char­ac­ters, lav­ish set­tings and ex­tended mu­si­cal se­quences. Direc­tor Tom Hooper ( The King’s Speech) and a com­mit­ted cast ( which also in­cludes Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and Sacha Baron Co­hen) go for broke in ev­ery scene.

Ups and downs: Ge­orge Clooney and Vera Farmiga are su­perb in Up In The Air.

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