WEEK IN MOVIES
GREEN ZONE 9.30PM, 7MATE The third Iraq war movie in three weeks is brought to you by the ill-fated hunt for weapons of mass destruction. Matt Damon stars as a whistle-blowing soldier who knows there is something fishy about the Coalition of the Willing’s reasons for storming Baghdad in 2003. While the world waits for evidence of WMDs, Damon wages a one-man war to prove there is no evidence at all. The meaty subject matter and Damon’s surefooted presence elevate this adrenalised action thriller above the expected average. The only sticking point is the herky-jerky, handheld camerawork blatantly over-used by director Paul Greengrass. There are minutes at a time where viewers will feel as if they are trapped inside a rolling car.
FROZEN RIVER 1PM, NINE A low-budget US drama featuring a powerful and deservedly Oscar-nominated performance from the unheralded Melissa Leo. She plays an abandoned housewife who is forced to take drastic measures – becoming a driver for a people-smuggling ring – to put food on the table. The film cannot hide its rough edges and sometimes loses narrative focus, but Leo goes from strength to strength with a defiantly gritty display.
THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP 1PM, NINE A superb factual drama from screenwriter Peter Morgan. During the mid-1990s, US president Bill Clinton (Dennis Quaid) and British prime minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) became close friends and diplomatic allies. The drama hinges on a gradual shift in the power dynamic of the political odd couple. Hobbled by his infamous dalliance with Monica Lewinsky and the threat of impeachment, the oncemighty Clinton shrinks in stature before the viewer’s eyes. Meanwhile, the earnest yet manipulative Blair comes out of the Kosovo crisis as a major player on the world stage. A worthy addition to Morgan’s work as a modern historian of the big screen.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2 8.30PM, ABC2 THERE is a not-so-fine line between preaching to the converted and preying on the conned. But there’s no point complaining now. The Twi-hards went into this deal with their eyes wide open and their brains switched off. That it has taken five instalments to tell a story that probably warranted two matters little. Most Twilight tragics would have happily sat through 10 movies to keep the phenomenon going. So here it is. The end of the long, long line. Mopey ex-mere-mortal Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is now a vampire. She is also as strong as five pro-wrestlers. Being married and all, Bella and her longtime love toy Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) can now knock vampire boots whenever they like. I could go on. But let’s move on, shall we?
KATY PERRY: PART OF ME 9.30PM, ELEVEN While Katy Perry: Part of Me administers the same dosage of promo piffle as other poptastic concert docos, there is also some strong, off-message material you don’t often see. So don’t pay too much notice to the passing parade of yes-people blurting out the blinking obvious about Ms Perry, and focus instead on her celebrated inability to self-edit. If she feels like a good cry, she’ll have one right in front of the cameras. Perry also works herself to the limit and occasionally falls apart from sheer exhaustion. Again, the cameras roll on.
EASY VIRTUE 3.25PM, ABC A faintly memorable pile of piffle. In the early 1920s, a stuffy British family flounders when a favoured son (Ben Barnes) impulsively marries a flighty American divorcee (Jessica Biel). The film is saved by pacy direction of Australian Stephan Elliott and the racy repartee of playwright Noel Coward.
GULLIVER’S TRAVELS 7.30PM, TEN Aspiring travel writer Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black) takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Liliput, where he towers over its tiny citizens. Do not get this mixed up with the timeless novel by Jonathan Swift, as all similarities end with the big-guy-little-world stuff. This goofy family comedy pegs its chances on blasting Jack Black with special-effects-driven slapstick. It’s harmless escapism, but lacks any essential wowness.
Larger than life: Jack Black runs into trouble after he meets the tiny citizens of Liliput in Gulliver’sTravels.