WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
THE KING’S SPEECH SEVEN, 8.30PM A superior historical drama and inspiring movie experience. A reluctant British monarch overcomes a debilitating stammer with the aid of an unconventional speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) from Australia. Colin Firth won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of King George VI, a complicated man forced to take the throne under extraordinary circumstances.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II ONE, 8.30PM Special Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) joins forces with a beautiful jewel thief (Thandie Newton) to save the world from a deadly virus outbreak. Set largely in Sydney, this hotly hyped sequel is a minor disappointment. Director John Woo takes an eternity to get to the good bits – that is, the artfully artless breaking and blowing up of stuff. Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is there to supply back-up.
COLLATERAL ONE, 8.30PM A high-priced contract killer (Tom Cruise) forces an LA cabbie (Jamie Foxx) to assist with an evening’s work. Cruise throws some convincingly menacing shapes in his first all-out badman role, but the real standout is the aggressively atmospheric direction of Michael Mann ( Heat). A stylish, compelling in-your-face thriller.
TROPIC THUNDER ONE, 8.30PM While shooting a blockbuster war film in the wilds of Vietnam, a cast of egocentric actors become engaged in a running battle with local drug lords. The performers think it’s all part of a show being filmed with secret cameras, which only further enrages the enemy. Despite an all-star cast of funnymen – led by Ben Stiller, Jack Black and a brilliant Robert Downey Jr – this high- concept, low-impact farce doesn’t quite stir up a perfect storm of mirth. Never before has a seemingly throwaway comedy required so much heavy lifting from the viewer. Good enough, but it should have been great.
JANDAMARRA’S WAR ABC, 12.05AM Australian history – or, at least, the version taught in schools – is short of Aboriginal heroes. Which makes this gripping doco – exquisitely narrated by Ernie Dingo – all the more significant. It tells of a moment of rebellion against the cruelty of settlers in WA’s Kimberley region and the circumstances under which a “tame” Aborigine called Jandamarra led his Bunaba people in armed resistance.
TWO HANDS 7MATE, 10.30PM This spirited, spunky little crime pic was one of the best Australian films of 1999. When $10,000 in cold, hard cash goes missing on the mean streets of innercity Sydney, someone must pay. Combines the grit and urgency of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with some first-rate flourishes reminiscent of early Tarantino, but doesn’t shirk an undeniably Australian take on events. Stars Bryan Brown, the late Heath Ledger and Rose Byrne.
No more Mr Nice Guy: Tom Cruise explores his dark side by playing a contract killer in Collateral; below, Ben Stiller in TropicThunder.