WEEK IN MOVIES
SUNDAY MARCH OF THE PENGUINS
8.30PM, ABC2 ★★ ★ ★
A remarkable Oscar- winning documentary about the harrowing breeding cycle of Antarctica’s emperor penguins, which have developed an ingenious set of survival instincts to go on living in their inhospitable environment. The intimate yet unobtrusive footage of the birds’ nine- month ordeal builds into a moving monument to the sheer preciousness of a life. A magically meditative and totally unforgettable movie experience. Narrated by Morgan Freeman.
MONDAY THE PEACEMAKER
8.30PM, ONE ★ ★
A nuclear warhead has gone missing and it’s up to George Clooney and Nicole Kidman to find it before it explodes. A good, but not great, action fl ick.
TUESDAY STATE OF PLAY
8.30PM, 7FLIX ★★ ★
Though pitching itself as a punchy political thriller – which it is for much of its running time – State of Play is really I Am Legend for print journalists. Russell Crowe plays the last good investigative reporter left in a newspaper world overrun by zombie bloggers. With a sixth sense for what makes a good story great, Crowe’s rumpled writer uncovers a conspiracy that will rock the foundations of US politics and big business. Compressed and remixed from the brilliant British TV miniseries of the same name, this is a smart, slick and highly engrossing whodunit. A timely reminder that hard news is hard work.
WEDNESDAY THE HEAT
8.30PM, TDT ★ ★
You won’t be needing a thermometer to take the comedic temperature of The Heat. While it might be an easy enough film to warm to – thanks mainly to the opposites- repel casting of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy – don’t go sweating on too many big laughs here. Bullock is the stuck- up, by- the- rules one, which means McCarthy is the messy, streetsmart, renegade. Their assignment is to bring down a Boston drug baron, but that’s of secondary importance when there are so many so- so set- pieces to get to. Average.
THURSDAY UP IN THE AIR
8.30PM, FOXTEL DRAMA/ ROMANCE ★★ ★ ★ ★
Corporate “transition specialist” Ryan Bingham ( George Clooney) travels all over the US sacking people. He is very good at what he does – and aware enough to recognise a great day for him will always be the worst day of someone else’s life. A sophisticated melding of subtle, contemplative comedy and meaningful modern drama, this is mustsee. It might sound like heavy going, but it is blessed with a rare lightness of touch to keep the blues at bay.
6.30PM, FOXTEL MASTERPIECE ★★ ★ ★
An obliquely unsettling and serenely strange blend of black comedy and psychological drama, this is quite unlike any film in recent memory. Michael Keaton delivers a stunning performance as Riggan Thomson, a former movie star battling to reinvent himself as a legitimate stage actor. The cramped backstage setting of Birdman becomes crucial to our understanding of Riggan’s plight. For back- up, Keaton draws from an impeccably cast support ensemble ( Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Edward Norton) which is never less than crucial.
SATURDAY SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
8.40PM, SBS ★★ ★ ★ ★
Superb movie with a humane message that should never be forgotten once experienced. Tom Hanks ( left) leads a squad of D- Day survivors behind enemy lines to find a soldier the US Army does not want to see die. The battle sequences are unfl inching in their realism and the acting is exemplary. The story moves the viewer without manipulation.