WEEK IN MOVIES
ALONG CAME A SPIDER 8.30PM, ONE ★★ Morgan Freeman reprises his popular role as forensic psychologist Dr Alex Cross in this marginally superior follow-up to the 1997 hit thriller Kiss the Girls.
BEGINNERS 10.05PM, SBS2 ★★★ A beautifully understated piece, gently drifting along somewhere between light romantic drama and subtle observational comedy. Ewan McGregor plays a solitary graphic artist, yet to make sense of his life as he nears 40. Well worth a look.
THE IMMIGRANT 6.30PM, FOXTEL MASTERPIECE
★★★ Heartbreak is always but a breath away in The Immigrant, an intense period drama that is as beautiful as it is bleak. The year is 1921, and two Polish sisters have arrived in New York to start a new life. Magda (Angela Sarafyan) is immediately thrown in quarantine, and could be deported pending a final ruling by authorities. This leaves the older Ewa (Marion Cotillard) stranded in more ways than one. A well-dressed stranger offers his assistance. Ewa has no choice but to accept. Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix) runs a burlesque show on the Lower East Side. It is actually a front for a prostitution ring, but Ewa won’t find that out until it is far too late. Though there is a distinct unease to the relationship of Ewa and Bruno as it slowly develops, there is a clear connection as well. Each sees a little of who they might have been in the other, had life dealt them a better hand.
HUMAN TRAFFIC 8.30PM, SBS2 ★ Five Welsh buddies hit the Cardiff nightlife and take some ecstasy. Whoo-hoo. For a film so desperate to be seen as hip, Human Traffic is curiously old-fashioned in that it can’t get over how naughty it thinks it’s being. The film’s one saving grace (beyond its soundtrack) is Justin Kerrigan’s direction of his own script. Otherwise, too many downers, not enough highs.
TOMORROW, WHEN THE WAR BEGAN 9PM, ELEVEN ★★ As the opening instalment of what later became a best-selling series, author John Marsden’s 1993 novel Tomorrow, When the War Began has been a prized read for an entire generation of young Australians. Done well – or even just moderately effectively – this teen-skewing action flick could pave the way for an unprecedented home-grown franchise. Unfortunately, moderately effective is as good as it gets here, despite the best efforts of some talented newcomers among its cast, and a smattering of impressive stand-alone scenes. A loopy, hard-toaccept story follows a group of teens fighting for their lives after Australia has been invaded and conquered by foreign aggressors. Stars Caitlin Stasey.
THE TRIP TO ITALY 4.35PM, FOXTEL PREMIERE
★★★★ British comics Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon return with another wonderful combo of stunning scenery, fine food and impeccably improvised conversation. The refined verbal sparring of the leads is even more inspired and amusing than before. Fractional shifts in tone and the occasional melancholy beat are placed very precisely to keep viewers on their toes. More, please ( TheTripto Australia, maybe?).
THE CONSTANT GARDENER 8.30PM, SBS ★★★ A meek British diplomat (Ralph Fiennes) comes out of his shell when he begins investigating the mysterious death of his wife (Rachel Weisz) in Africa. Poised, intelligent thriller which also points an accusing finger at drug companies that dump obsolete products on thirdworld countries. Based on the novel by John le Carre.
Revved up: Caitlin Stasey stars in Tomorrow,WhentheWarBegan, adapted from John Marsden’s novel.