WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
THE ITALIAN JOB 9.30PM, ONE Passable remake of the 1969 Michael Caine robbery flick. An enjoyable pulp action film with thrills, spills and kills in all the right places, despite the heavy product placement for hotted-up Minis in the plentiful chase scenes. Stars Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Donald Sutherland.
BLOW 9.30PM, GO! What could have been an interesting true tale of the man who brought the cocaine craze to the US is cockedup by the GoodFellas for Dummies stylings of director Ted Demme. Nice retro 1970s period detail in the outfits and soundtrack, but a waste of Johnny Depp’s talent. Soulless and unoriginal. Co-stars Penelope Cruz, Ray Liotta, Rachel Griffiths.
WORLD WAR Z 1.20PM, FOXTEL PREMIERE It will stress you out. It will mess you up. But you’re still going to love living through every last dismembered bit of World War Z. This nerve-jolting affair is
NEVER BACK DOWN 9.30PM, GO! A troubled teen moves to a new town where all his peers are involved in a juniorleague version of Fight Club, with no shortage of pummellers or pummellees willing to sign up. And the girls just can’t get enough of all those bare-chested boys covered in blood and bruises. Weirdly, this unreconstituted slab of brawn-porn almost grows on you after a while. Stars Sean Faris and Amber Heard. as (un)dead on the money as a zombie film can get. With most of the planet overrun by a virulent invasion of fleetfooted mouth-breathers, it is left to the UN to determine where it started. If their globe-trotting man on the ground (Brad Pitt, below) can’t find the answer, the world as we know it is over. Each new destination visited triggers a devastating new set-piece, and each is different in structure and feel. With the film sprinting at the same biteneck speed as its zombies, there is little time for character development. This is where the sheer presence and underrated acting smarts of Pitt justifies all those zeroes on his pay cheque.
THE DICTATOR 9PM, ONE The affronting antics of Sacha Baron Cohen’s comic creation, Admiral General Aladeen of Wadiya, mostly make for good badtaste comedy. An equalopportunity oppressor from the north of Africa – imagine an even-madder version of the late Libyan madman Muammar Gaddafi – Aladeen has been a ruthless ruler since age seven. Now he’s in the US, trying to explain why he’s been stockpiling uranium for “clean energy purposes”. After an erratic start, The Dictator locks into a galling groove that often shocks viewers into laughing against their better judgment. Cohen is in his best form since Borat, firing off jokes at the expense of anyone and everyone. His ability to get away with material other comedians dare not touch remains as appallingly audacious as ever. Yes, you will be offended. But there’s no hope of not laughing at a film dedicated “in loving memory of Kim Jong-il”.
CLOVERFIELD 8.45PM, 7MATE Without giving too much away, viewers are going to be enthralled, appalled and chilled to the bone by the cataclysmic events depicted here on a fateful night in Manhattan. Imagine Godzilla barging in on The Blair Witch Project and trashing the joint. This film was No.1 in all major box-office markets with no promotional push. Not bad for a flick with a no-name cast.
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN 7PM, NINE Though the third big-screen adventure of everyone’s favourite wizardly whiz-kid is a little less magical than its predecessors, the overall spell is resolutely unbroken. Things get mighty dark (and more violent) at Hogwarts as everyone awaits the arrival of Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), the prison escapee held responsible for the death of Harry’s parents. A worthy addition to the series.
Fear factor: Michael Stahl-David and Odette Yustman star in chilling box-office hit Cloverfield.