WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
TAKEN 9.30PM, ONE This slick but routine action thriller recalls Harrison Ford in Frantic, only with Liam Neeson as a deadly ex spy acting more like Jason Bourne to get his daughter back. And Neeson is no Bourne. Has since spawned several lacklustre sequels.
ANCHORMAN 9.30PM, TEN Will Ferrell ( Elf, Old School) is superbly cast as Ron Burgundy, an egocentric legend of TV’s nightly news who could only have existed in the 1970s. A stridently silly comedy that regularly goes off-topic for some brilliantly bonkers sequences including a hilarious street fight between rival newsreaders, and Ron’s Hendrix-inspired flute solo during a late-night jam session. Keeps a winning brand of anarchic absurdity to the fore throughout. Great, grating fun.
HEAT 8.30PM, GO! Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) is one of those cops who has been chewed up and spat out by the very system he used to believe in so much. He rails so hard against what he knows to be unjust that there is simply no room for justice in his own life. Then along comes chameleon crook Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro) and his crack troop of high-rolling thieves. McCauley is about to pull off the job of a lifetime, and woe betide anyone stupid enough to stand in his way. Unbelievably, this was the first film to bring together DeNiro and Pacino, and the scene in which they finally come face to face – a lengthy exchange in a late-night diner – is the highpoint of an intelligent and exciting actioner that’s jam-packed with great moments. A crack supporting cast includes Val
Kilmer, Natalie Portman, Tom Sizemore and Ashley Judd.
LOOPER 9.30PM, GO! An ambitious, adrenalised sci-fi thriller that is all brains and all brawn, almost all the time. First, the brains bit. Looper is a time-travel movie, with some head-spinning theories going on about how time machines can be used by gangsters to get rid of their enemies. Joseph GordonLevitt plays Joe, a hitman in the year 2044 whose latest assignment is to kill his future self. Bruce Willis is the older Joe, and he is not about to let his past self get away with murder. What follows (and it is easier to follow than it sounds!) is a quality chase movie of some considerable sophistication. Indeed, in a gripping final act, Looper locks into a mood that is
at once contemplative and compelling.
HOSTAGE 9.30PM, GO! A former siege-breaker (Bruce Willis) is called back into action when three teenage punks invade the home of an underworld accountant. Gives off the whiff of a generic action thriller, but turns out to be anything but due to a great performance by Willis and the brutal perfection of the screenplay.
TROPIC THUNDER 9PM, ONE While shooting a blockbuster war film in the wilds of Vietnam, a cast of egocentric actors becomes engaged in a running battle with local drug lords. The performers think it’s all part of a show being filmed with secret cameras,
which only further enrages the enemy. Despite an all-star cast of funnymen – led by Ben Stiller, Jack Black and a brilliant Robert Downey Jr – this high-concept, lowimpact farce doesn’t quite stir up a perfect storm of mirth. Never before has a seemingly throwaway comedy required so much heavy lifting from the viewer. Good enough, but it should have been great.
MATCH POINT 9.30PM, SBS1 One of Woody Allen’s finest. Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as a social climber who infiltrates London’s upper class by marrying well, then almost blows it all with a poor choice of mistress (a spectacularly sensuous Scarlett Johansson). A mesmerising mix of moral drama and dark humour, with a shock ending to die for. Co-stars Emily Mortimer.
Tour of duty: Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr and Ben Stiller in the comedy blockbuster TropicThunder.