WEEK IN MOVIES

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS - WITH LEIGH PAATSCH

SUN­DAY THE PHAN­TOM 6.30PM, 9GO! ★★★

Billy Zane plays the ti­tle role (a comic-book peren­nial some­times re­ferred to as The Ghost Who Walks) as a weird com­bi­na­tion of In­di­ana Jones and Bat­man, and it’s a blend that works very well. The sto­ry­line, how­ever, stands as a flimsy card­board set-up to pit good against evil. Head­ing the bad dudes is a rot­ter of a ty­coon (played by Treat Williams) ea­ger to get his hands on some “magic skulls’’ that will help him rule the world. He is ably as­sisted by a vamp­ish fe­male pi­rate, Sala (Cather­ine Zeta-Jones), and the usual round-up of hired goons. Mean­while, in the “nice cor­ner’’, is the Phan­tom, his pet wolf Devil, his horse Hero and his girl­friend Diana (Kristy Swan­son).

MON­DAY THE LAST BOY SCOUT 9PM, 9GO! ★★★

Orig­i­nally in­tended as the launch pad for an­other Die Hard-like fran­chise for Bruce Willis, this flashy, trashy ac­tioner goes OK on its own pulpy terms. Willis plays Joe, a pri­vate de­tec­tive scroung­ing around for a liv­ing af­ter a fall­ing-out with the Se­cret Ser­vice. Af­ter bud­dy­ing up with a dis­graced ex-quar­ter­back (co­me­dian Da­mon Wayans), Joe at­tempts to give his flag­ging for­tunes a much-needed boost by in­ves­ti­gat­ing the death of a lo­cal strip­per. A few big laughs, a lot of big ex­plo­sions and a rip­ping cli­max.

TUES­DAY BLADES OF GLORY 8.30PM, ELEVEN ★★★

When it comes to play­ing it dumb, the smartest op­er­a­tor around is US comic Will Fer­rell. He’s in crack­ing form in this com­edy set in the weird, wild world of com­pe­ti­tion ice-skat­ing. Fer­rell’s hope­lessly ab­surd odd-cou­ple repar­tee with co-star Jon Heder is price­less stuff. The pair play dis­graced Olympic fig­ure skaters who join forces to beat a life­time ban from com­pe­ti­tion. If you loved An­chor­man or Dodge­ball, you’ll cer­tainly dig this.

WED­NES­DAY TRUE GRIT 8.30PM FOX­TEL AC­TION/ AD­VEN­TURE ★★★★

An ex­em­plary new adap­ta­tion of the clas­sic Charles Por­tis novel, True Grit sees the Coen broth­ers dou­bling back to­wards some fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory. Not quite No Coun­try For Old Men, more No Coun­try for a Young Woman. And a world away from the corny John Wayne ver­sion of yes­ter­year. The story told here is that of a wild west re­venge saga with a dif­fer­ence – the dif­fer­ence be­ing that it is a 14-year-old girl, Mat­tie Ross (Hailee Ste­in­feld), look­ing to square up the mur­der of her fa­ther in the 1870s. Jeff Bridges and Matt Da­mon co-star.

THURS­DAY IN­DE­PEN­DENCE DAY 8.30PM, FOX­TEL MAS­TER­PIECE ★★★

Upon its orig­i­nal re­lease, In­de­pen­dence Day 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 speech so rab­ble-rous­ingly bizarre, it can only be likened to The West Wing meets Mars At­tacks!.

FRI­DAY THE WED­DING SINGER 7.30PM, 9GO! ★★★

Like its star, Adam San­dler, this film gen­er­ates non­stop, clunky, junky laugh­ter, de­spite your bet­ter judg­ment. In what re­mains his best com­edy to date, San­dler plays the front­man for the house band of a wed­ding re­cep­tion cen­tre dur­ing the style-chal­lenged 1980s. He’s hav­ing prob­lems de­cid­ing be­tween new girl­friend Drew Bar­ry­more and the fi­ancee who jilted him at the al­tar.

SATUR­DAY HAPPY FEET 6.35PM, 9GO! ★★★

Cast aside by his fel­low pen­guins be­cause he can’t sing, a young mis­fit named Mum­ble (voiced by Eli­jah Wood) em­barks upon an ar­du­ous trek to­wards ac­cep­tance. Though the many song-and-dance in­ter­ludes in this beau­ti­ful com­puter-an­i­mated pro­duc­tion are thor­oughly uplift­ing, the sto­ry­line stretches to some dark and in­tense places. Goes quite well as an ac­tion-ad­ven­ture pic, but def­i­nitely not the all-ages prospect many would have thought. Co-stars the voices of Robin Williams, Hugh Jack­man and Brit­tany Mur­phy.

Thin ice: Will Fer­rell plays a com­pet­i­tive fig­ure skater who gets banned from the sport in Blades of Glory.

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