WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER 8.30PM, TEN As Captain America was very much a product of US wartime sensibilities in the early 1940s, it must be stated upfront this is a peculiarly old-fashioned action film. Chris Evans stars as Steve Rogers, an under-nourished, over-patriotic wannabe soldier deemed too puny for active duty by Uncle Sam. With all his friends heading off to World War II, Steve is so desperately determined to join them that he allows himself to become the guinea pig for a top-secret military experiment. Injected with a radioactive super-serum by a kindly scientist (Stanley Tucci), Steve grows from geek to gargantuan in an instant. Now blessed with speed, reflexes and endurance capabilities superior to every soldier on the planet, the powers-that-be transform Steve into a PR-friendly figure they dub Captain America.
LINCOLN 9.30PM, ONE This is not a conventional birth-to-death biopic of America’s greatest president. Instead, filmmaker Steven Spielberg narrows the focus to four short months in the shortened second term of Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis). Nevertheless, Lincoln is a long film. A marathon talk-fest in which Honest Abe’s most significant achievement – the abolition of slavery – will be discussed into existence before your very eyes. Luckily, for any viewer who may lose their way in this maze of florid chatter, there is a great performance by Day-Lewis to lead you back to clarity.
GREEN ZONE 8.30PM, 7MATE Matt Damon stars as a whistle-blowing soldier who knows there is something
fishy about the Coalition of the Willing’s reasons for storming Baghdad in 2003. The world waits for evidence of WMDs, but Damon wages a one-man war to prove there is no evidence at all. The meaty subject matter and Damon’s sure-footed presence elevate this adrenalised action thriller above the expected average. The only sticking point is the jerky, handheld camerawork blatantly over-used by director Paul Greengrass.
THE DARJEELING LIMITED 5PM, FOXTEL MASTERPIECE
A year after the death of their father, three brothers reunite for a soul-searching trip across India. A mild but effectively amusing dose of sensitive new-age whimsy from director Wes Anderson ( The Royal Tenenbaums). Stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman.
COWBOYS AND ALIENS 8.30PM, GO! If you’re going to smoosh together two genres for fun and profit, smoosh wisely. The ambitious, yet erratic, 1999 Will Smith vehicle Wild Wild West left a lingering suspicion the classic western and SFX-driven science fiction are not so compatible. This is conclusive proof open prairies and outer space don’t mix. Cowboys & Aliens is such a debacle no one will dare try the combo again. Daniel Craig plays an ex-outlaw
who has declared war on the slimy space monsters that killed his wife for organharvesting purposes. He is joined by Harrison Ford as a land baron who recently lost his son (Paul Dano) in similar circumstances.
AUSTIN POWERS: GOLDMEMBER 9.30PM, GO! The original Austin Powers film, 1997’s International Man of Mystery, wasn’t much chop. The title character just wasn’t fully formed enough to carry a film on his own, and more gags missed than hit. The 1999 follow-up, The Spy Who Shagged Me, was a major improvement, thanks largely to an expanded role for the bombastically bent Dr Evil at the expense of Austin, and the creation of height-challenged hellraiser Mini-Me and the delightfully disgusting Fat Bastard. Unfortunately, Goldmember is so hell-bent on recycling all that has gone before, it backpedals into the same lame, inconsistent territory covered by the first movie. Despite a loopy new villain and the choice casting of Michael Caine as Austin’s old man, Mike Myers is simply going through the motions here.
FUNNY PEOPLE 11PM, 7MATE This comedy by prolific writer-director-producer Judd Apatow ( Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) is not really a comedy at all. Despite the are-you-readyto-laugh title, Funny People turns out to be a relatively serious film that just happens to have some great jokes in it. Adam Sandler stars as a successful comedian diagnosed with a lifethreatening condition who is determined to clean up his messy life before his time is up. Seth Rogen is a battling gag writer hired to help out. Co-stars Leslie Mann, Eric Bana and Jonah Hill.
To the rescue: Chris Evans plays the titular hero in the old-fashioned action film