WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
AMERICAN PSYCHO 9.30PM, ONE This screen adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s controversial novel is weak, notable only for Christian Bale’s driven performance as a New York businessman who moonlights as a serial killer. Quickly lapses into a boring sing-song rhythm of death and deplorable behaviour.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD 10.30PM, ONE After being dumped by his girlfriend, an unambitious appliance salesman emerges from a massive hangover to discover his sedate London neighbourhood has been overrun by the undead. There’s still some life in the zombie flick yet, judging by how this highly entertaining hybrid of horror and romantic comedy gets the job done. Great characters, witty writing and legitimate thrills.
I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER 9.30PM, ELEVEN This sequel to the horror hit I Know What You Did Last Summer takes place exactly one year after the original. You may recall the plot of the first film, in which Jennifer Love Hewitt and some friends accidentally hit a bloke with their car, then throw his body in the water to cover up their misdeed. To their surprise, it turns out their victim wasn’t dead at all and, worse still, happened to be a murderous, hook-handed psychopath with a PhD in killing teenagers. The sequel is bloodstained business as usual, with the expected component of unsurprising surprises, false false alarms, fake endings and bad puns passing for bad jokes.
SUNSHINE CLEANING 11.55PM, SBS ONE This gentle, unassuming US indie dramedy is the story
of two sisters who start a business mopping up the aftermath of crime scenes. Despite its apparently downbeat concept, it would be wrong to peg Sunshine Cleaning as a feature-length equivalent of a grotty CSI episode. The film turns out to be quite a succinct and appealing character study of people doing what they must to keep their heads above water. There is humour in what the pair learn on the job, but nothing resembling a cheap joke. Possibly an acquired taste, but it does help that performers as talented as Amy Adams ( American Hustle) and Emily Blunt ( The Devil Wears Prada) are filling the lead roles. Co-stars Alan Arkin.
BLACK SWAN 9.30PM, ELEVEN Is the pressure of striving to become a star ballerina getting to Nina (Natalie Portman)? Or has all that time waiting in the wings already got the better of this
achingly vulnerable young woman? As is director Darren Aronofsky’s preferred style, answers are kept tantalisingly just out of the reach of perplexed viewers. However, few could ever dispute the refined calibre of Portman’s Oscar-winning performance.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY 8.30PM, GO! The beginning of a trilogy of films based on the beloved book by J.R.R. Tolkien. While undoubtedly dazzling to the eye, a decided lack of storytelling urgency (there was no need to stretch this simple story across three long instalments) floods all other senses with pure tedium – unless you are a total tragic for all things Lord of the Rings. Martin Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins, the homebody hobbit who reluctantly joins the wise wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a tribe of warrior dwarfs for a mammoth trek into the unknown. The special-effects
work is utterly spellbinding, but there’s no hiding the unnecessary padding that bloats the running time to almost three hours.
THE WOLVERINE 8.55PM, TEN Another solo outing for that metal-clawed, muttonchopped X-Men mutant Wolverine (aka Logan) turns out to be something of a return to form. Never absolutely essential, but never a waste of your precious time. The story unfolds largely in Japan, where Logan (a ripped and sombre Hugh Jackman) has emerged from years of exile to do battle with the Yakuza, some ninja archers and every freelance hitman in the land. Yep, it is mostly a fight movie, occasionally a chase movie, and that is all. Set-piece combat sequences range from quite good to truly great. A heart-stopping fiveminute scrap on the roof of a bullet train is one of the great stand-alone action scenes.
Claws out: Hugh Jackman heads to Japan in his own X-Men film with TheWolverine.