WEEK IN MOVIES
SUNDAY THE CROODS
7.30PM, TDT ★★★
Cleverly constructed cartoon adventure, even if it seems like it’s just an Ice Age with humans replacing animals. Nicolas Cage gives voice to the head of a caveman family forced to look for a new home, as the world’s land mass divides into continents. It is easy to tell when a voice cast is enthused by the ’toon they’re working on, and their positive vibes continually give the film a lift. Better still, the story is surprisingly involving, and the quality of animation is stunning (particularly in 3D). Co-stars the voices of Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.
MONDAY SLOW WEST
9.30PM, ONE ★★★
A casual weirdness, a wisened grasp of when to embrace or reject a cliche, a quartet of ripping performances – these are the calling cards of this odd, funny and compelling western. Accomplished young Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) stars as Jay, a hopelessly romantic teen with plenty of money in his pocket and few clues in his head. This would explain why, in the 1860s, Jay has left a life of comfort in Scotland to comb the badlands of Colorado in search of his lost love, Rosie (Caren Pistorius). Our naive hero’s chaperone-slash-bodyguard (Michael Fassbender) has his work cut out for him. Especially when the pair keep crossing paths with a bad guy (Ben Mendelsohn). An acquired taste, but plenty of vivid flavours await.
TUESDAY THE HEARTBREAK KID
9.30PM, ELEVEN ★★★
A raunchy reunion of the There’s Something About Mary team of star Ben Stiller and the writing-directing Farrelly brothers. Stiller stars as a serial commitmentphobe who gets married on impulse, only to meet the real woman of his dreams (Michelle Monaghan) while honeymooning with the new wife. A little hit-or-miss at times, but some big, brash brilliance on display.
WEDNESDAY THE RAILWAY MAN
9.30PM, TDT ★★★
Decades after World War II, a British returned serviceman (Colin Firth) discovers the whereabouts of the Japanese soldier who tortured him daily. With the full approval of his friends and the support of his wife (Nicole Kidman), the haunted man travels halfway around the world, intending to kill the man who almost killed him. Eric Lomax chronicled his remarkable personal odyssey in a moving and confronting memoir, and this gripping film adaptation does not hold back on detailing his horrifying ordeal.
THURSDAY GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
8.30PM, FOXTEL PREMIERE ★★★
As only the best actionadventure blockbusters can do, Guardians of the Galaxy gets on your good side with ease. Chris Pratt stars as Peter Quill, a self-styled “space outlaw” in cahoots with a green Amazonian assassin (Zoe Saldana), a muscleman (Dave Bautista), a talking raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and, umm, a talking tree (Vin Diesel). Ticks every box for a major hit franchise of the future.
FRIDAY MULHOLLAND DRIVE
11.20PM, SBS ★★★★
There’s odd, there’s weird, there’s way out, and then there’s David Lynch. Hollywood’s Mr Strange is in career-best form here, serving up a frustrating, yet awe-inspiring work of true originality. Avoid decoding the non-existent plot – where an aspiring actor (Naomi Watts) takes a disoriented amnesiac (Laura Harring) under her wing – and surrender yourself to a compelling cinematic trance. A one-way trip to oblivion you’ll either love or loathe. This was originally conceived as a pilot for US TV, until befuddled network execs baulked at Lynch’s blueprint.
SATURDAY LOST IN TRANSLATION
9.30PM, ELEVEN ★★★★
A sweet and soulful tale of two lost individuals finding a new direction in life. Bill Murray is terrific as a melancholy movie star forming an unlikely bond with a prematurely jaded young woman (Scarlett Johansson). The otherworldly nightlife of modern Tokyo provides a beautiful backdrop for this nearflawless mood piece from writer-director Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides).