WEEK IN MOVIES
SUNDAY ALONG CAME POLLY
8.30PM, ELEVEN ★★★ Ben Stiller stars as Reuben Feffer, an overly conservative insurance company risk assessor whose scrupulously predictable existence is blown to smithereens when he discovers his new bride in bed with a French scuba instructor on the first day of their honeymoon. While trying to piece his life back together, Reuben falls under the spell of Polly (Jennifer Aniston), a nomadic and disorganised free spirit who soon sets about luring her new beau into all manner of compromising situations. Egging Reuben on is his buddy Sandy Lyle (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a washed-up teen movie icon.
MONDAY LEGALLY BLONDE
7.30PM, FOXTEL DRAMA/ ROMANCE ★★ An airhead shopaholic experiences a shock increase to her brain power when she enrols at a prestige law school to win back her ex-boyfriend. Flimsy feelgood froth elevated to something much more likeable thanks to Reese Witherspoon in the lead role.
TUESDAY THE TOWN
9.30PM, GO! ★★★★ Ben Affleck stars as the leader of a smash ’n’ grab gang who begins a relationship with a woman held hostage during a heist. But if you assume The Town is going to suddenly shrivel down into a regular doomed love-story scenario, you’re mistaken. The wild card here is Affleck’s exemplary work as director and co-writer, which can be likened to Martin Scorsese’s award-winning efforts on The Departed.
WEDNESDAY THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
8.40PM, GEM ★★★★ Everything old gets younger by the day for the title character in this remarkable drama based on a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Though performances are exemplary and the use of make-up and special effects technology is often astonishing, the most memorable characteristic of The Curious Case is undoubtedly its bizarre plot. Brad Pitt (in career-best form) plays a man born in 1918 with a strange disorder that causes him to age backwards throughout his life. This strange premise (and a long running time) demands a huge leap of faith from viewers. For those up to making the jump, a moving and rather mind-bending experience awaits. Costars Cate Blanchett, Jason Flemyng and Julia Ormond.
THURSDAY LITTLE WOMEN
9.15PM FOXTEL DRAMA/ ROMANCE ★★★ The most recent (and most accessible) adaptation of the ancient romantic best-seller by Louisa May Alcott. With her husband off being a hero in the Civil War, a determined mother (Susan Sarandon) must not only make ends meet, but also educate her four daughters (Winona Ryder, Trini Alvarado, Claire Danes and Kirsten Dunst) in the ways of the world. Some good work in the male romantic-interest department from Gabriel Byrne, Christian Bale and Eric Stoltz.
FRIDAY THE IDES OF MARCH
8.40PM, GEM ★★★★ The Ides of March is a sharp, intelligent affair, a giltedged guessing game that knows how to keep the mind inquiring throughout. George Clooney (also director and co-writer) plays Mike Morris, a state governor nearing the end of a campaign that could see him become the next Democrat candidate for president. The rising star in the Morris team is Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling), a media strategist with all the answers. And most of the questions in advance as well. A fine example of topical, intelligent and compelling mainstream cinema.
SATURDAY VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
8.30PM, SBS ONE ★★★★ A lively comedy of manners, morals and mischief from filmmaker Woody Allen. Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall star as two young American tourists who fall under the spell of a seductive artist ( No Country for Old Men’s Javier Bardem) during summer holidays in Spain. This is Allen’s most laidback movie in memory, but the relaxed, carefree vibe does not blunt the edge of the humour. The city of Barcelona is a delight to gaze at throughout, too. Fine summer viewing.
Love triangle: Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson star in VickyCristinaBarcelona.