WEEK IN MOVIES
SUNDAY ENDER’S GAME 9.10PM, 7MATE
It’s Harry Potter … in space! It’s The Hunger Games … in space! It’s The Last Airbender … yep, that’s right … in space! Welcome to the way-out, way-up-there world of Ender’s Game, a fair sci-fi adventure for teens based on the 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card. The plot conjures a future where kids with a mystical command of videogame combat techniques are being recruited by the military to repel an imminent alien attack. One student, Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), stands out from the rest. Physically, he is a bit of a runt. Tactically, he is a complete genius. While it does plod in parts, Ender’s Game does full justice to an admirably complicated and subtly ambitious tale. The training sequences staged in zero gravity are particularly well done. Co-stars Hailee Steinfeld, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley.
MONDAY MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL 8.30PM, ONE
A gritty, globe-trotting adventure begins in the heart of Moscow, where veteran IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team (Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner) are blamed for the destruction of the Kremlin. Cruise is less needy than usual.
TUESDAY A TIME TO KILL 8.30PM, ONE
Another one-size-fits-all slab of legal eaglery from the platinum paperback pen of John “you can buy my collected works at any airport newsagent” Grisham. The setting is America’s deep south, where the necks are red, the right are white, and a black steel worker (Samuel L. Jackson) is unlikely to get a fair trial for killing the two thugs who assaulted his young daughter. Co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock in brilliant form.
WEDNESDAY LADIES IN LAVENDER 8.30PM, FOXTEL MASTERPIECE
Nice film, shame about the name. For there’s a lot to like about this lighthearted British affair about two spinster sisters (Judi Dench and Maggie Smith) nursing a young foreigner back to health after he is mysteriously washed ashore near their seaside home. He knows the routine: an impressive first time behind the lens as director for veteran actor Charles Dance (Hilary & Jackie). Excellent performances, attractive camera work and a lively script are all welcome bonuses. Co-stars Natascha McElhone, Daniel Bruhl.
THURSDAY INDEPENDENCE DAY 8.30PM, FOXTEL ACTION/ ADVENTURE
Upon its original release, ID4 (as it was then known) signalled a new breed of blockbuster: the event movie. Though this pyrotechnic pantomime that pitches mankind against aliens has dated somewhat, it still exudes a hilariously gung-ho bravado that always sucks you in. Especially when US President Bill Pullman gives a Fourth of July speech so rabble-rousingly bizarre, it can only be likened to The West Wing meets Mars Attacks.
FRIDAY CHARLOTTE’S WEB 7.40PM, GO!
The touching story of a friendship between naive young pig Wilbur (voiced by youngster Dominic Scott Kay) and the motherly older spider Charlotte (Julia Roberts). This belated live-action adaptation of the classic children’s book by E.B. White goes best when there’s minimum interference from the human cast. Kids under 10 will love every minute of it.
SATURDAY STAR TREK 8.30PM, WIN
This spectacularly entertaining reboot (the 11th feature in the long- running sci-fi series) widens and intensifies the appeal of the entire Star Trek experience. Under the whip-smart direction of J.J. Abrams, the new production journeys way back to the dawn of Trek folklore to document the maiden voyage of the USS Enterprise. Viewers will also see familiar crew members in a whole new light, thanks to a focus by Abrams on the origin stories of key figures such as Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr Spock (Zachary Quinto). An imaginative use of high-end special-effects and some thrilling battle sequences in deep space fully justifies an unapologetic emphasis on movement and excitement. Co-stars Eric Bana, Simon Pegg.
Where no man had gone before: Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in the re-imagined Star Trek.