WEEK IN MOVIES

WITH LEIGH PAATSCH

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - NEWS -

SUN­DAY

THOR 7.30PM, TEN ★★★ A quite en­joy­able pulp ac­tion movie, based on the Marvel Comics in­car­na­tion of the fa­mous fig­ure from Norse mythol­ogy. Aussie Chris Hemsworth plays the ti­tle char­ac­ter, a rogue god ban­ished to Earth by his dad (An­thony Hop­kins) to learn a les­son or three. Natalie Port­man plays the sci­en­tist who be­friends the un­worldly hunk of beef­cake. Gen­uinely funny in parts and de­serves to be met with a mod­er­ately re­sound­ing “wow!’’ from its tar­get au­di­ence. And not sim­ply for de­fy­ing the curse that has blighted brawny block­busters since the de­ba­cle of Clash of the Ti­tans.

MON­DAY

MAR­GIN CALL 8.30PM, SBS2 ★★★★ Just in case you missed the fi­nal re­sults of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, here is a quick re­cap. They won. You lost. This su­perb drama, set on a sin­gle fate­ful evening be­fore the big melt­down of 2008, com­mu­ni­cates all too pow­er­fully how it all hap­pened. In the dark­ened of­fices of a Wall St in­vest­ment firm, one cold, hard de­ci­sion must and will be made. A de­ci­sion that could save the com­pany from ruin, but will con­sign its cus­tomers and even its own em­ploy­ees to the scrapheap. Though an ex­ces­sively talky af­fair, the screen­play’s abun­dance of great dia­logue and pow­er­ful sto­ry­telling smarts casts a daz­zling spell. Es­pe­cially on those oc­ca­sions where the com­plex­i­ties of the fi­nan­cial world threaten to get the bet­ter of the av­er­age viewer. It is here the likes of Jeremy Irons (the ruth­less CEO), Kevin Spacey (his loyal yet con­flicted attack dog) and Australia’s Simon Baker (a slick blame-shifter par ex­cel­lence) step for­ward to sim­plify and hu­man­ise the tale in terms we can all un­der­stand.

TUES­DAY

SAVE THE LAST DANCE 9.30PM, ELEVEN ★★★ Though not ex­actly as ground­break­ing as it thinks it is, this teen drama is at least pre­pared to ac­knowl­edge the com­plex­i­ties of in­ter-racial re­la­tion­ships. The plot is a let­down – a gettin-jiggy-withit jumble of Dirty Danc­ing and Boyz N the Hood – but Sean Pa­trick Thomas and Ju­lia Stiles make a big im­pres­sion as the down­town Romeo and Juliet. 12 YEARS A SLAVE

WED­NES­DAY

2.15PM, FOX­TEL MASTER­PIECE ★★★★★ This is the true story of Solomon Northup (mas­ter­fully played by Chi­we­tel Ejio­for), a suc­cess­ful African-Amer­i­can mu­si­cian who was ab­ducted as a free man in 1841 and then sold into slav­ery. It is no con­dem­na­tion of this pow­er­ful work to la­bel it a film that has to be fully en­dured to be truly ap­pre­ci­ated. A film as com­plex, com­pelling and con­fronting as this not only reignites a familiar sense of out­rage about a shame­ful past, it also pro­motes a fresh un­der­stand­ing of that ter­ri­ble time.

THURS­DAY

G-FORCE NOON, SEVEN ★★ Wonky ac­tion flick for kids, telling the story of a crack line-up of talk­ing guinea pigs who work as gov­ern­ment spies. Imag­ine ev­ery Ja­son Bourne, James Bond and Austin Pow­ers flick known to man mashed down and sug­ared up for quick con­sump­tion by the sub-seven-year-old crowd. Thank­fully, there are no blood, bul­lets or blue jokes. But there is no real wow­fac­tor, ei­ther. Stars the voices of Sam Rock­well, Pene­lope Cruz, Ni­co­las Cage.

FRI­DAY

MUR­DER­BALL 5.20PM, MASTER­PIECE ★★★★ Frank, rau­cous and raw, this punchy Amer­i­can doc­u­men­tary pro­files the glad­i­a­to­rial spec­ta­cle of com­pe­ti­tion quad rugby, a high-im­pact sport played by quadriplegics in mod­i­fied wheel­chairs. Finds both the in­spi­ra­tional and con­fronta­tional in the most un­likely places. Great stuff.

SATUR­DAY

WAG THE DOG 10.55PM, NINE ★★★ The US pres­i­dent hits a spot of bother with a young woman, so his lack­eys stage a phony war to cover his tracks. Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro are bril­liant in this black com­edy.

Heroic: Chris Hemsworth is god-like as the ti­tle char­ac­ter

in Thor, along­side Tom Hid­dle­ston (left) as Loki.

Se­cret agents: Guinea pigs to the res­cue in G-Force.

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