WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
SUPER 8 ELEVEN, 8.30PM Writer-director J.J. Abrams ( Star Trek) has taken the modern creature-feature (a genre he earlier meddled with as the producer of Cloverfield) and cleverly blended it with familyfriendly adventure of a very specific vintage. If films such as Stand By Me, Gremlins and E.T. were part of your youth, you will be sure to appreciate what is going down in Super 8. The year is 1979. In a small steel town, a group of young friends filming a no-budget movie witness a train crash. A strange, indescribable cargo strewn among the wreckage threatens the survival of one and all. Abrams takes his time going for his “big reveal”, focusing instead on the warmth he finds amid his endearing teen protagonists. Stars Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney.
AUSTRALIA 8.30PM, TEN Often very good, but falls short of being truly great. There are times where director Baz Luhrmann’s frenetic mash-up of styles barrels past something for everyone and threatens to become too much for anyone. Though Australia is in essence a sweeping romantic epic a la Gone with the Wind, it is also a screwball comedy, an outback western and a military action flick. Nicole Kidman plays a prissy English aristocrat who falls for Hugh Jackman’s maverick drover during a marathon cattle drive to Darwin in the late 1930s.
THE FIGHTER 10PM, GO! A boxing movie with surprisingly little boxing in it. Many of the punches that connect in this riveting, rousing drama are thrown metaphorically well outside the ring. The film tells the true story of the intersecting careers of half-brothers who embody very different brands of boxer. Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is carefully guarding a store of potential that could take him all the way to the top. Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) blew all the potential he had on an addiction to crack cocaine. The Fighter may trace a familiar storytelling arc, but it steers clear of many cliches.
THE A-TEAM 8.30PM, ONE A bombastically mindless and rather fun rebooting of the 1980s TV show of the same name. It should come as no big surprise then that the all-new The A-Team isn’t about to tamper with the same old formula. Only now, the ex-Vietnam vets are ex-Iraq, and a little more self-serving than before. Story centres on a quartet of disgraced soldiers looking to clear their name while the army and the CIA track their every move. The stunt work (whether CGI-assisted or not) is particularly impressive. If you are not punching the air at the sight of the A-Teamers operating an artillery tank while it plummets from a launch point just outside the planet’s atmosphere, you are just too hard to please. Stars Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD 9.30PM, ONE After being dumped by his girlfriend, an unambitious appliance salesman (Simon Pegg) emerges from a massive hangover to discover his sedate London neighbourhood has been overrun by the undead. Great characters, witty writing and legitimate thrills. Two very twisted thumbs-up. In one hilarious scene, we learn of the decapitating possibilities of old vinyl albums by Dire Straits and Sade.
VALKYRIE 9.30PM, SEVEN Had Tom Cruise not already made a movie called A Few Good Men, the title of this project could easily have been A Few Good Nazis. This perfectly acceptable World War II thriller – telling the true story of an assassination attempt on Hitler in 1944 – features an effective performance from its leading man. Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a maimed military officer who becomes both an enlightened architect and a reluctant linchpin of a plan to bomb Hitler’s compound.
HEARTBREAKER 11.20PM, SBS1 They say that breaking up is hard to do. But they haven’t met Alex (Romain Duris). He’s the head of a relationship-wrecking crew that, for a hefty fee, will save a good woman from the wrong man. So begins Heartbreaker, a lively and enjoyable French rom-com. Set in the glorious resort of Monte Carlo during summer, the film capitalises on an uncharacteristically spry and wired comic performance from Duris that is just too engaging to be denied.
Outback epic: Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman star in director Baz Luhrmann’s Australia.