WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
LIFE OF PI 8PM, TEN A teenage Indian boy (gifted newcomer Suraj Sharma) and a wild Bengal tiger are the sole survivors of a tragic shipwreck. For the next 227 days, the duo drift across the ocean in a small lifeboat, looking to stay alive in spite of the threat each poses to the other. What follows is not just an epic tale of survival, but also a poetic meditation upon nature as a whole and human nature in its many parts. An extraordinary work that offers much to look at, think about and, above all else, feel. Highly recommended.
STARGATE 9.30PM, GO! An ungainly but interesting blend of science-fiction and an old-fashioned, sandblown desert epic. The Blacklist’s James Spader plays an Egyptologist who cracks a code to opening an ancient Stargate (an interplanetary time-travel gateway) and then accompanies a military expedition led by ace army operative Kurt Russell to explore the strange world on the other side of the galaxy. A slogging fight for freedom ensues as our good guys try to liberate the population of a primitive planet from the sinister enslavery of an immortal time lord, played by The Crying Game’s Jaye Davidson.
THE MEXICAN 9.30PM, ELEVEN Though Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt are the stars of this enjoyably edgy leftof-centre road movie, it is Roberts’ scenes with the late James Gandolfini (playing a sensitive new-age hitman) that will really pack a punch with most viewers. Overall, a very well-made and wellacted crime comedy which compares favourably with George Clooney and J.Lo’s Out of Sight. Worth a look.
MOON 1PM, NINE In space, no one can hear you scream. On the moon, the silence is deafening. Just ask astronaut-geologist Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell). He has been up there for the best part of three years. Alone. So begins Moon, an eerily mystifying tournament of mind games where the audience has no choice but to play along. And the truth – when it is finally revealed – is stranger than mere sciencefiction. Clears a considerable debt to the Stanley Kubrick masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey by subtly upending expectations at exactly the right times. Both an incredibly absorbing and surprisingly moving cinematic experience. Good stuff.
MORNING GLORY 9.30PM, ELEVEN Harrison Ford throws some curmudgeonly shapes
as an ageing “serious’’ newscaster sucked into a silly breakfast TV show. The youthful yin to his cantankerous yang is Rachel McAdams as the aspiring producer trying to take the show to the top of the morning ratings. Co-stars Patrick Wilson, Diane Keaton.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY 8.30PM, NINE This is the first of the trilogy of films based on the beloved book by J.R.R. Tolkien. While undoubtedly dazzling to the eye, a decided lack of storytelling urgency – there was no need to stretch this simple story across three long instalments – floods all other senses with pure tedium. Martin Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins, the homebody hobbit who reluctantly joins the wise wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a tribe of warrior dwarfs for a mammoth trek into the unknown. The special effects
work is utterly spellbinding, but there’s no hiding the unnecessary padding that bloats the running time to almost three hours.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER 7.30PM, TEN Sorry, Chronicles Of Narnia, but someone has to say it. Harry Potter on a bad day trumps you on a good day. Every time. This is not to say this belated third addition to the series, based on the classic books by C.S. Lewis, is an unqualified dud. But as an event film, well, it’s something of a non-event. In this rather dull episode, the lesser of the Pevensie kids, Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edward (Skander Keynes), return to the magic kingdom of Narnia for a marathon ship voyage to the edge of the world. Acting is average, as are the special effects. Definitely one for Narnia tragics only.
Out to sea: A boy (Suraj Sharma) and a tiger survive a shipwreck in LifeofPi.