The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - HIGHLIGHTS -


Bal­anc­ing hu­mour and pathos to near perfection, this sim­ple trea­tise of the mid-life cri­sis syn­drome fol­lows three friends – Billy Crys­tal (above), Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby – who es­cape the big smoke for a hol­i­day on the ranch where life’s lit­tle won­ders revitalise their spir­its. An Os­car-win­ning Jack Palance, noted in his prime for a host of nasty wild west roles, steals the show as their grav­elly cow­boy men­tor. ★★★★


Univer­sal Stu­dio’s first foray into 3D-an­i­mated movies, De­spi­ca­bleMe, fea­tures Steve Carell voic­ing Gru, the mad sci­en­tist with a hide-out lo­cated in the base­ment of his sub­ur­ban home. Team­ing up with Dr Ne­fario (Rus­sell Brand), Gru hatches a plan to use a shrink ray to steal the moon, and in the process earn him­self the in­famy he de­sires. His plans go astray when he re­cruits three or­phans, Margo (Mi­randa Cos­grove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher), to the cause. Seek­ing a fa­ther fig­ure, can their in­flu­ence per­suade him that be­ing good re­ally is bet­ter then be­ing evil? ★★★★


A re­lent­lessly rude romp around Europe from the pro­duc­ers of Old­School and Road­Trip. Scott Mechlow­icz leads a gang of four horny young Amer­i­cans (in­clud­ing Buffy’s Michelle Tracht­en­berg) who take in Lon­don, Paris, Am­s­ter­dam and Ber­lin in their quest for hot chicks and more. Tak­ing a few pages out of Clark Gris­wold’s travel guide, the whirl­wind tour plays up the national stereo­types and the jokes have a healthy ex­change rate, es­pe­cially when they aim be­low the belt. ★★★


De­riv­a­tive ac­tion jun­ket that pairs nerdy-but-sexy sci­en­tist Ni­cole Kid­man and tough-as­teeth mil­i­tary man Ge­orge Clooney in a race to save New York from nu­clear disas­ter at the hands of ter­ror­ists. A true sense of déjà vu is achieved, as al­most noth­ing here qual­i­fies as orig­i­nal. Di­rec­tor Mimi Leder ( Deep Im­pact) cov­ers up the flaws and stereo­typ­i­cal char­ac­ters with a cool and muted style and a sense of pace that only oc­ca­sion­ally masks the pedes­trian twists. ★★

HAN­COCK (2008) GO!, 9.30PM, M, AC­TION

Will Smith (above) stars as Han­cock, a sar­cas­tic su­per­hero who’s fallen out of favour with the cit­i­zens of Los An­ge­les. But Han­cock’s bad im­age is set for an over­haul af­ter he saves the life of PR ex­ec­u­tive Ray Em­brey (Ja­son Bate­man). As his wife Mary (Char­l­ize Theron) looks on, Ray prom­ises to iron out Han­cock’s creases, un­aware that Mary is con­nected to Han­cock’s past. Di­rected by Peter Berg ( TheKing­dom), Han­cock is not quite the blast it could be. Smith is en­gag­ing and the ac­tion is up to scratch, but the dra­matic lean­ings and a mud­dled ex­pla­na­tion of Han­cock’s pow­ers means this fly­ing leap lands just short of the mark. ★★★

THE WAVE (2008) SBS TWO, 10.25PM, MA15+, DRAMA

Moved from the US to mod­ern-day Ger­many, this adap­ta­tion of a novel about a 1960 Amer­i­can ex­per­i­ment ex­plores how eas­ily minds can be moulded into a fas­cist so­ci­ety. Find­ing it dif­fi­cult to ex­plain to stu­dents how Nazi Ger­many was de­vel­oped, teacher Rainer Wenger (Jür­gen Vo­gel) de­cides to show them him­self, set­ting up a class called “The Wave”, or­gan­is­ing a sa­lute they must fol­low and pro­mot­ing dis­ci­pline in the group over in­di­vid­u­al­ity. A dis­turb­ing in­sight into the de­vel­op­ment of dic­ta­tor­ship. ★★★★

A hole lot of fun: Steve Carell voices mad sci­en­tist Gru in fam­ily flick De­spi­ca­bleMe.

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