WEEK IN MOVIES
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 11PM, TDT ★★
Special Agent Ethan Hunt ( Tom Cruise) joins forces with a beautiful jewel thief ( Thandie Newton) to save the world from attack by a deadly virus. Set largely in Sydney, this hotly hyped sequel is a minor disappointment. Director John Woo ( Face/ Off ) takes an eternity to get the good stuff – that is, the artfully artless breaking and blowing up of stuff .
THE USUAL SUSPECTS 10.30PM, ONE ★★★★★
Though the ending is seemingly given away at the start, it soon becomes clear merely knowing the outcome is not enough. A movie where the getting- there ( and the getting- away- with- it) is everything. Whiplash delivery of cracking dialogue by a brilliant cast caps off the whole shebang perfectly.
PERSEPOLIS 3AM, SBS ★★★★
Set the recorder. A boldly innovative and engrossing animated adaptation of Marjane Satrapis’ graphicnovel memoir, it is about an Iranian girl who witnesses the fall of a corrupt American- backed regime and the rise of oppressive Islamic fundamentalists. This is strong and confronting stuff for the animation genre, which by default has been deemed the province of the cute kiddie picture for too long. Persepolis has other ideas, and it confi dently presents its sophisticated story for adults with forceful eloquence and all the right dashes of ironic humour. Winner of the prestigious Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 but considered unlucky to have missed out on a Best Foreign Film Oscar.
I AM LEGEND 6.45PM, FOXTEL THRILLER ★★★★
After a virus wipes out almost all civilised life, the last man standing in New York City works to fi nd a cure in this frightening, confronting and absorbing action picture. Will Smith excels in the starring role, not only carrying the entire picture but keeping the audience at his side throughout. The fi lm functions equally eff ectively as a technical achievement, by pitching an empty, eerie New York as a strangely serene urban wasteland.
MEAN GIRLS 9PM, ELEVEN ★★★
One of the smarter teen comedies, strutting its stuff in the wide- open spaces that divide the sharp social satire of Reese Witherspoon’s Election and the style- over- substance savvy of Alicia Silverstone’s Clueless. Lindsay Lohan stars – alongside Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert ( far left, with Lohan and McAdams), Amanda Seyfried and Tina Fey – as a sheltered, home- educated ingenue experiencing life at a US high school for the fi rst time.
THE NOTEBOOK 8.35PM, WIN ★★★
This openly old- fashioned tale of doomed romance and dashed hopes will have you wading through a swamp of sentimental sap from the moment poor boy Ryan Gosling claps eyes on rich girl Rachel McAdams. The strange thing is, though, it’s not that much of a slog thanks to a pair of keenly observed performances from the then- young leads.
FROST/ NIXON 12.10AM, SCT ★★★★
Another one for the recorder. In 1977, TV talk- show host David Frost ( Michael Sheen) landed an exclusive series of interviews with disgraced US President Richard Nixon ( Frank Langella). The former head of state thought it would be a puff piece. Instead, Frost extracted a stunning admission of guilt about Nixon’s role in Watergate. The dialogue is dynamic and the performances pitch- perfect.