WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
THE BOURNE IDENTITY 8.45PM, 7MATE Continuing the long line of movie characters who can’t remember who the hell they are, here comes Matt Damon as author Robert Ludlum’s amnesiac spy, Jason Bourne. As cashed-up and dumbed-down a Mission: Implausible as it ultimately becomes, a few good bends are snapped on a relatively straightforward slab of espionage.
THE EXPENDABLES 9.30PM, GO Under the uncreative control of Sylvester Stallone as director, writer and leading man, this Neanderthal action flick bulls-eyes so-badit’s-sad from the start. The featured cast (comprising Jason Statham, Jet Li, some wrestlers, ultimate fighters and assorted D-listers such as Eric Roberts) rarely give the impression they’re all that interested in what is going on. However, this is very much Stallone’s movie, which he ruins with his terrible non-acting and that eerie, waxwork appearance he is sporting. As for The Expendables’ plot of a group of mercenaries on a suicide mission to South America? Well, it is a moronic throwback to the gory, glory days of Stallone’s own Rambo series. Expungeable.
AMERICAN PIE 2 9.30PM, 7MATE Let’s face it. No one in their right mind watches a movie sequel these days expecting the wheel to be re-invented. However, not even the most ravenous fans of American Pie will be able to stomach what is going on in the follow-up. AmericanPie2 is a grubby, schlubby grab for box-office cash that revisits each and every joke from the first film to cover up for the unavoidable fact the new material (again written by
Adam Herz) is hopelessly below par. Sure, the first Pie was no classic. But what it did have in its favour was a fresh, infectiously up-for-it cast and a brazen determination to break taboos with humour. This time around, the actors display all the enthusiasm of people who didn’t spot the obligatory you-must-showup-for-the-sequel clause in their original contracts.
THE MATRIX 8.30PM, GO A computer hacker learns about the true nature of reality from a group of mysterious rebels. All those TV commercials and a reduced screen size can’t obscure the blunt reality that this giddy mix of martial arts, new-age metaphysics and shape-shifting superheroes is an influential movie.
MAN ON A LEDGE 9.30PM, GO Like SnakesonaPlane and HotTubTimeMachine, the title tells you all you need
to know about this generic thriller. The man is played by Sam Worthington. The ledge is played by a grotty concrete slab on the 30th floor of a New York hotel. One gives a slightly more convincing performance than the other (hint: it’s not the one who was in Avatar). Worthington is a bloke who was framed. Now he’s threatening to jump unless a worried(ish) NYPD agrees to his demands. Of course, he’s not gonna be kissing no footpath. Where’s the film in that? However, the surprise twist to this high-rise drama doesn’t really glue the viewer to the screen. Overall, dumb as a brick. Almost endearingly so. But not quite.
GLADIATOR 8.30PM, 7MATE Director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe’s Maximus combine spectacularly in this historic Roman epic. The blockbuster has well and truly stood the test of time. Swords and sandals have never looked so
good. One of Crowe’s most captivating performances. Gladiator is as brutal as it is brilliant.
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL 7.30PM, TEN In this pleasant, pensionerpowered British ensemble comedy, a posse of past-it Poms are suckered into living at a ritzy retirement home in Jaipur, India, which turns out to be not in the least bit ritzy at all. Best enjoyed as a rare chance to see an extensive array of England’s finest weatherbeaten thesps acting up a storm at close quarters. There’s the Widowed One (Judi Dench), the Miserably Married Ones (Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton), a Gentlemanly Gay One (Tom Wilkinson), a couple of Randy Ones (Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup) and a Fussy Racist One (Maggie Smith, DowntonAbbey’s queen of the disapproving stare). Stereotypes all, but not one outstays their welcome.
England’s finest: Judi Dench heads an impressive ensemble cast in TheBestExoticMarigoldHotel.