WEEK IN MOVIES
WITH LEIGH PAATSCH
WORLD WAR Z 8.30PM, TEN This globe-trotting, nervejolting affair is as (un)dead on the money as a zombie film can get. With most of the planet overrun by a virulent invasion of fleet-footed mouth-breathers, it is left to the UN to determine where it started. If their man on the ground (Brad Pitt) can’t find the answer, the world as we know it is over. Each new destination visited triggers a devastating new set-piece. Each is different in structure and feel. All are truly frightening. With the film sprinting at the same bite-neck speed as its zombies, there is little time for character development.
FLIGHT 9.30PM, ONE A brilliant Denzel Washington plays a pilot who pulls a move during a troubled lift-off that saves the lives of almost all on board. However, when a toxicology report shows our hero was high on cocaine, the flyboy crashes to the ground very quickly. The more we learn about this damaged man, the more we are left to wonder how he even made it into the cockpit that fateful morning. Co-stars Kelly Reilly, John Goodman.
NIGHTCRAWLER 5.30PM, FOXTEL MASTERPIECE
Having just started out as a freelance TV news cameraman, Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) prowls Los Angeles after dark in search of what sells: car crashes and murders soon become a house specialty. Though Nightcrawler is squarely taking aim at the worst inclinations of US tabloid TV – the holy grail of footage is described as “a screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut” – it is the eerily centred performance of Gyllenhaal that draws all focus. With a smile always on his dial and a work ethic that never lets up, Lou seems like the kind of guy who would do anything for anybody. Gyllenhaal reads him differently, and gradually gets us thinking the same way: Lou is really the kind of guy who would do anything to anybody.
THE GHOST WRITER 9.30PM SBS Controversial writer-director Roman Polanski completed work on The Ghost Writer while living under house arrest in Switzerland. Needless to say, there are obvious undercurrents of claustrophobia, nervous tension, gallows humour and raw anguish pulsing throughout this slow-burning thriller. Ewan McGregor plays the unnamed protagonist of the tale, a jaded journo hired to polish the memoirs of an embattled former British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan).
SAVE THE LAST DANCE 9.30PM, GO! Though not exactly as groundbreaking as it thinks it is, this teen drama is at least prepared to acknowledge the complexities of interracial relationships. The plot is a letdown – a gettinjiggy-with-it jumble of Dirty Dancing and Boyz n the Hood – but Sean Patrick Thomas and Julia Stiles make a big impression as the downtown Romeo and Juliet.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD 8.30PM, SBS A powerful, gripping drama from filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson ( Boogie Nights, Magnolia) winds the clock back to a time in US history when the amount of money to be made and number of souls to be saved were in direct conflict. Daniel DayLewis supplies an incredible performance as a greedy oil baron perpetually at loggerheads with a young fundamentalist preacher
(Paul Dano). An epic battle between free-range capitalism and organised religion ensues.
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB 8.30PM, SBS The compelling true story of a man who turned a life sentence into a career opportunity. Matthew McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a homophobic rodeo rider who contracted the AIDS virus in 1985. Given mere months to live by doctors, Woodroof’s redneck instincts point him to Mexico, where he discovers a line of medication that improves his condition. Though the treatment is banned in the US, Woodroof starts smuggling the stuff across the border, after which he turns a tidy buck selling it to fellow sufferers. Exceptionally well-written and directed, this tough, yet tender-hearted film doesn’t take the easy road towards winning your full respect and fascination.
Compelling: Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey both won Oscars for their roles in DallasBuyersClub.