WEEK IN MOVIES
ALMOST FAMOUS 10.30PM, TEN For rock music in the early 1970s, the possibilities seemed endless. The people who played it wore their hair long and their flares even longer as they belted out a loud, proud noise they thought would echo forever. Almost Famous, the film from US writer-director Cameron Crowe, lets us in on just how close they came to getting it right. As a teenage music journalist about 30 years ago, seasoned road-warrior minstrels such as Led Zeppelin and the Stones would take him on tour with them, and Crowe would chronicle every high point and bum note. Almost Famous is a deeply personal tale, set in the days when Crowe was music’s Macaulay Culkin starring in his own version of On the Road Alone.
MEET THE SPARTANS 9.30PM, GO! Put your gag reflex to the ultimate test for the worst spoof flick ever. The rocket scientists responsible for this no-brow groan-fest believe there’s an entire film’s worth of jokes in simply pointing out (via references to former hit movie 300) the ancient Greeks were kind of gay. An encyclopedia entry on the subject would have better punchlines than the dire drivel served up here.
THE KITE RUNNER 8.30PM, FOXTEL MASTERPIECE A simple, affecting tale of an American writer who must return to the Afghanistan of his youth to right some wrongs of the past. Several confronting sequences involve the abuse of children in Afghanistan, but the issue is handled sensitively thanks to fine performances and powerful storytelling. Directed by Marc Forster ( Finding Neverland).
ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN 4.10PM, FOXTEL FAMILY Global warming and the threat of an imminent flood forces Sid the sloth, Diego the sabre-tooth tiger, Manny the mammoth and friends on yet another arduous cross-country trek. Vaguely entertaining sequel to the 2002 animated hit, but a lot of the magic is gone. Features the voices of Ray Romano, Denis Leary and Queen Latifah. A rare highlight arrives when a quartet of vultures warble their way through Food, Glorious Food.
THE SOCIAL NETWORK 8.30PM, GO! This masterful, contentious and gripping biopic of Facebook web tycoon Mark Zuckerberg (expertly portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg) downloads us deep inside the control-alt-delete mind of its subject. You can hit the escape key all you want. You won’t be able to get away. Acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (TV’s The West Wing) cleverly splits the Zuckerberg story into duelling before-and-after morality tales. Inter-cut with a meteoric rise to internet billionairedom is a series of lawsuits suggesting Zuckerberg swiped his big idea from smaller minds. A provocative commentary on the ever-widening gap between the online world and the real world.
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL 8PM, GO! More ear-shredding cover versions and soft-serve high jinks from those dreaded helium-voiced singing rodents Alvin and the Chipmunks. Quality ranges from half-bad to truly terrible, depending on how much you can be bothered paying attention. The addition of the allfemale outfit The Chipettes just makes the mindless monotony of it all go that little bit longer.
A BEAUTIFUL MIND 8.30PM, SBS Russell Crowe serves up yet another pitch-perfect portrayal of a complex real-life character, starring as gifted mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr, who triumphs over a lengthy battle with schizophrenia to win the Nobel Prize. This quality drama is an acutely sensitive and refreshingly unsentimental exploration of a debilitating mental illness. Director Ron Howard shot the scenes in strict chronological order, a rarity in modern-day filmmaking.
Caught in web: Jesse Eisenberg plays Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in TheSocialNetwork.