WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
BATTLESHIP 7MATE, 6.30PM Aw, Rihanna just sank your solar system-hopping battleship! In the $200 million film “inspired by’’ the board game, the explosive effects that accompany a successful strike are realised in graphic detail by George Lucas’s visual effects house ILM. Director Peter ( Hancock) Berg’s version of the classic naval combat scenario introduces a new dimension – space. But the film works best during the relatively low-tech sequence that pays homage to the original game. This may have made a better video game.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST NOON, PREMIERE This Marvel blockbuster starts out fast, furious and funky – let’s go to the 1970s, everyone! – before fizzling out to a forced, flat effort. Designed as a joint venture to bring us the best of both X-Men worlds (ie the Patrick Stewart-led original series, and the new James McAvoy one), the storyline gradually gets caught up in an incoherent tangle from which it can never properly free itself. The best part about Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) taking an urgent time-travel trip to Watergateera Washington is when he briefly crosses paths with super-fast slacker Quicksilver (Evan Peters). A big cast labours hard, but not always for the greater good. Effects work can be breathtaking at times, as expected. Co-stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and Ellen Page.
THE TRUMAN SHOW 9.30PM, ELEVEN Australian director Peter Weir extracts an astonishing performance from Jim Carrey as the poor stooge who doesn’t know his entire life so far has been broadcast around the world. It’s kind of
funny, kind of sad and leaves you with the nagging feeling that one day there will be a reality-TV show just like this.
DRIVE 8.30PM, SBS2 There can be no denying Drive presents paying passengers with one incredible ride. Ryan Gosling plays a solitary figure known only as Driver, a part-time movie stuntman not above helping the best crooks in Los Angeles make a quick getaway. This mysterious figure is forced to come out of his shell after befriending a lonely neighbour (Carey Mulligan) and her young child. With both hands on the wheel and the pedal pressed flat to the floor, this brilliant, focused crime thriller proceeds swiftly towards true cinematic greatness. On the way, the movie swerves, brakes, speeds up and slows down with astonishing precision. The potently minimal performance of Gosling confirms his reputation as one of the best actors of his generation, while Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn’s
command of atmospherics is as intimidating as it is irresistible.
THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS NOON, SEVEN A superb adaptation of John Boyne’s novel bears witness to the unyielding horror of the Holocaust through the eyes of a child. Though staged as a gentle fable, the film roughs up the viewer relentlessly by contrasting innocence and evil of equal purities. Impressive newcomer Asa Butterfield plays Bruno, a naive young German boy who does not realise his military father’s latest posting is a concentration camp. The story is disturbingly spare on actual detail. The viewer’s mind races to fill the gaps between what little Bruno knows and the full extent of what he will soon learn. Devastatingly memorable, sincerely sorrowful.
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE 9.30PM, ONE Brawny, brainless and thoroughly endearing action
flick starring charismatic wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson (aka, The Rock). A flimsy, fast-paced tale of a rescue mission to the Amazon is slyly superseded by great comic interplay between Johnson and co-star Seann William Scott (Stifler in American Pie), and the bizarre villainy of Christopher Walken. The expertly choreographed combat scenes carry just the right dash of comic-book camp, too.
GALLIPOLI 8.30PM, TEN We should be forever grateful that the task of filming one of the defining moments in Australian history went to Peter Weir, one of our greatest directors. An unusual entry in the annals of anti-war films, in that it doesn’t discredit the blind patriotism that sent so many young Australians to an unnecessary demise. Masterfully blends the epic tragedy of the Gallipoli landing with a timeless tribute to the thoroughly Australian concept of mateship.
Bad to the bone: Ryan Gosling gives a mesmerising performance in Drive.