WEEK IN MOVIES
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”.
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.
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.
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.