WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
LANTANA 11.30PM, SBS1 Until Lantana, Australian cinema had never truly mastered the genre of contemporary drama. Virtually all of our best serious films have consistently shied away from the here and now, turning their focus instead upon life stories or famous events that draw on the power of hindsight. Some might argue there is nothing quintessentially Australian about Lantana, that it is a film that could have been made anywhere at any time. However, the sheer perfection on display here in every department – especially the uniform excellence of its ensemble cast, the eerie resonance of Andrew Bovell’s screenplay, and the textured direction of Ray Lawrence – achieves an intelligence, eloquence and emotion that showcases Australian film at the height of its powers.
MINORITY REPORT 9.3PM, ONE Washington DC, 2054. There hasn’t been a murder for six years, thanks to an experimental task force than can predict and prevent killings before they actually happen. Remember how blown away you were the first time you saw The Matrix? Get set for an even better version of the same explosive combination of inspiration and innovation from two unlikely sources – actor Tom Cruise and director Steven Spielberg. One of the best films of 2002.
VANILLA SKY 9.30PM, ONE After a vaguely convincing, if not fascinating, opening 20 minutes – check out the stunning scene in which Cruise is running alone through the abandoned CBD of New York City – Vanilla
Sky spectacularly derails. Tom Cruise is a playboy media tycoon who is forced to reconsider his womanising ways after being horribly disfigured in a car smash at the hands of a disgruntled ex-lover (Cameron Diaz). There are brief patches where Vanilla Sky makes a sincere effort to connect with its audience and the affecting quality of these sequences hint at what the movie might have been with clearer vision and smaller ambitions.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 8.30PM, FOXTEL PREMIERE
As only the best actionadventure blockbusters can do, Guardians of the Galaxy gets on your good side with ease. Chris Pratt stars as Peter Quill, a self-styled “space outlaw” in cahoots with a green Amazonian assassin (Zoe Saldana), a multicoloured muscleman (Dave Bautista), a talking raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and, umm, a talking tree (Vin Diesel). Ticks every box for a major hit franchise of the future. It might ultimately break down to nothing but empty calories, but it is always full-on fun.
KATY PERRY: PART OF ME 9PM, ELEVEN While doling out the same dosage of promo piffle as other pop-tastic concert docos, there is also some strong, off-message material included here you don’t often hear. So don’t pay too much notice to the passing parade of yes-people blurting out the blinking obvious about Ms Perry, and focus instead on her celebrated inability to self-edit.
THE SKELETON TWINS 6.25AM, FOXTEL PREMIERE A delicately poised comedydrama about an estranged sister and brother who have just retreated from the brink of ending it all. In spite of its bleak beginnings, The Skeleton Twins soon syncs up to an engaging comic rhythm that will ultimately propel the film to a brighter, better place. Lead pairing Kristen Wiig ( Bridesmaids) and Bill Hader ( Trainwreck) isolate a tenderness and truly earned uplift to this tale that will truly resonate with receptive viewers. Recommended.
INSIDIOUS 11.40PM, 7MATE This cut-price jumble sale of domestic scares – think Paranormal Activity with a conventional script and better cameras – is by the two Aussies who gave the world the Saw franchise. After Insidious, the world may now be inclined to forgive director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell for some of their torture-porn sins. A simple plot investigates the mysterious hauntings of teacher Josh (Patrick Wilson), his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) and their children. The film ambles politely after a small collection of set-play chills, most of them depicted in a manner slyly suggestive rather than archly literal (the gore quota extends only to a blood-stained handprint).
Out of this world: Chris Pratt plays a brash space adventurer in GuardiansoftheGalaxy.