WEEK IN MOVIES
8.30PM, GO! ★★★★
We lost sight of James Bond in the murky mess that was 2008’s Quantum of Solace but he returned with one of the most exciting and commandingly compelling 007 adventures ever. After barely surviving a bungled assignment in Turkey, Bond (played with newfound grit, gravity and self-deprecation by Daniel Craig) must come to the aid of his embattled boss M (Judi Dench) in London. Javier Bardem all but steals the Skyfall show with his depiction of one of the best Bond villains ever.
MONDAY INVICTUS 6.15PM, FOXTEL MASTERPIECE ★★★
Clint Eastwood directs. Morgan Freeman stars as Nelson Mandela. Matt Damon second-strings it to first-class effect. Invictus just has to work, doesn’t it? The simple answer is – despite a few minor snafus – of course it does. Adapted from the book Playing to Win, the engrossing story explains how Mandela pegged his presidency to South Africa’s unlikely bid to win the 1995 rugby World Cup.
TUESDAY SLING BLADE 8.30PM, FOXTEL MASTER PICE ★★★★
The acclaimed drama that put Billy Bob Thornton on the map as a leading writer, director and actor. Thornton stars as Karl, a former mental hospital patient (and convicted killer) establishing a new identity for himself “on the outside”. The pacing often recalls the simple power of To Kill a Mockingbird in its best scenes.
WEDNESDAY SIN CITY
8.30PM, SBS2 ★★★★★
A ferociously innovative film noir assault, adapted from the acclaimed graphic novels by Frank Miller. Works through an anthology of surreal short stories set in a hard-boiled criminal underworld with a hyper-harrowing intensity. Stunning black and white visuals, make-up design and special effects are matched by some ripping performances. A one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Stars Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba and Bruce Willis.
THURSDAY ANOTHER YEAR
1.50AM, SBS ★★★
One for the recorder. A typically accomplished comedy-drama from British director Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies, Happy-Go-Lucky). The charming plot spans a year in the life of Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen), a married couple comfortably nestled in their 50s with no money worries. Or worries of any other kind, for that matter.
FRIDAY THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
8.30PM, WIN ★★★★
The second screen outing for the all-conquering The Hunger Games phenomenon, marks a gradual, but notable improvement on its predecessor. The tone is darker, the storytelling more complex and all crucial elements of the muchloved novels by Suzanne Collins remain resolutely intact. Not since the Harry Potter series has a movie franchise striven for and achieved such a consistently high standard. As the story picks up, warrior heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has returned in triumph to District 12 after taking out the 74th Hunger Games. Now she is forced to become the smiling poster girl for an oppressive regime she despises. If that isn’t enough, Katniss must also participate in the 75th Games, where every contestant is a former tournament winner. Co-stars Josh Hutcherson and Aussie Liam Hemsworth.
11.40PM, SCT ★★★
Had Tom Cruise not already made a movie called A Few Good Men, the title of this could easily have been A Few Good Nazis. This perfectly acceptable World War II thriller – telling the true story of an assassination attempt upon Hitler in 1944 – features a moderately effective performance from its leading man. Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a maimed military officer who becomes both an enlightened architect and a reluctant lynchpin of a plan to bomb Hitler’s provincial compound. Directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects).
Game on: Jennifer Lawrence lines up against former tournament winners in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.