WEEK IN MOVIES

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

SUN­DAY THE DIC­TA­TOR

11PM, TDT ★★★

The af­fronting an­tics of Sacha Baron Cohen’s comic cre­ation, Ad­mi­ral Gen­eral Aladeen of Wadiya, mostly make for good bad-taste com­edy. An equal-op­por­tu­nity op­pres­sor from the north of Africa – imag­ine an even-mad­der version of the late Libyan mad­man Muam­mar Gaddafi – Aladeen has been a ruth­less ruler since the age of seven. Now he’s in the US, try­ing to ex­plain away why he’s been stockpiling ura­nium for (cough!) “clean en­ergy pur­poses’’. Af­ter get­ting off to an er­ratic start, The Dic­ta­tor locks into a galling groove that of­ten shocks view­ers into laugh­ing against their bet­ter judg­ment. Cohen is in his best form since his block­buster smash com­edy Bo­rat, fir­ing off jolt­ing jokes at the ex­pense of any­one and ev­ery­one. His in­fa­mous abil­ity to get away with ma­te­rial other co­me­di­ans dare not touch re­mains as ap­pallingly au­da­cious as ever. Yes, you will be of­fended. But there’s no hope of not laugh­ing of­ten at a film ded­i­cated “in lov­ing mem­ory of Kim Jong-il”.

MON­DAY

STOKER

9.30PM, ONE ★★★

A wor­ry­ing mood piece, di­rected with enig­matic men­ace by the Korean film­maker Chan-wook Park (Old­boy). In­dia (Mia Wasikowska) is a teen re­act­ing to the death of her fa­ther by drop­ping all so­cial niceties. So when her mother (Ni­cole Kid­man) starts get­ting nicely so­cial with a brother-in-law (Matthew Goode), In­dia re­treats fur­ther into her shell. What fol­lows is an un­ortho­dox take on a psy­cho­log­i­cal drama, fully loaded with a raft of toxic in­ter­per­sonal ten­sions.

TUES­DAY LAWLESS

9.30PM, GO! ★★★

Don’t take this pulpy Pro­hi­bi­tion-era af­fair too se­ri­ously, and you will have a fine old time in­deed. There are good ol’ boys runnin’ moon­shine down in Vir­ginia. Cops are want­ing a cut of the ac­tion, or to sim­ply cut them up. Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy play the lead roles, a pair of ru­ral booze traders who go to war against some nasty fed­eral agents from the big smoke. Amid all the violence, and there is a stack of it, Guy Pearce steals the show as the most rep­re­hen­si­ble screen vil­lain of 2012. An­other good col­lab­o­ra­tion from the team be­hind The Propo­si­tion, di­rec­tor John Hill­coat and screen­writer Nick Cave.

WED­NES­DAY THE FAM­ILY STONE 8.30PM, FOX­TEL RO­MANCE MOVIES ★★★

Dy­namic ensem­ble com­edy about the an­nual gath­er­ing of an ec­cen­tric clan at Christ­mas. The writ­ing is sharp, the per­for­mances are both strong and lik­able, and there’s barely a corny mo­ment through­out. A fine main­stream chuck­ler. Stars Sarah Jes­sica Parker, Diane Keaton, Der­mot Mul­roney, Claire Danes and Luke Wil­son and one of the most painfully awk­ward evening meals you will ever see.

THURS­DAY CON­TA­GION

8.30PM, GO! ★★★

Di­rec­tor Steven Soder­bergh drama­tises a world laid to waste by a killer flu. In just over 100 min­utes, just over 100 mil­lion peo­ple will per­ish. You will be check­ing your health in­sur­ance en­ti­tle­ments for some time to come. Among the all-star cast is Matt Da­mon, Gwyneth Pal­trow, Jude Law and Kate Winslet.

FRI­DAY ROCK STAR 1.15AM, WIN ★★

Al­though Rock Star par­tially de­liv­ers on its prom­ise of a light-hearted look at heavy metal’s mid-’80s hey­day, it is really your clas­sic rags-toriches tale of a loser who lucks it into the big time. The hu­mour does lack the smarts of Spinal Tap, but what Rock Star loses in the orig­i­nal­ity stakes, it al­most makes up for with a goofy charm all its own.

SATUR­DAY THE IRON GI­ANT

6PM, GO!, ★★★★

En­joy­able and in­volved tale of a young boy and his pet, a 50m robot from outer space. Tack­les all de­part­ments with real con­fi­dence and a refreshing ap­proach. Top-qual­ity fam­ily fare di­rected by vet­eran Simp­sons helms­man Brad Bird.

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