WEEK IN MOVIES
SUNDAY, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
7MATE, 9PM ★★★★ The facts surrounding the German occupation of France during World War II get pulped into fiction by maverick filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. The story centres on a team of Jewish-American commandos who become involved in a bizarre attempt to assassinate Hitler in a Paris cinema. Tarantino’s trademarked, highly stylised use of blood, guts and violence still burst to the fore on occasion. However, there is no escaping that Inglourious Basterds prefers yakety-yak to all-out attack. This blockbuster 150-minute production is Tarantino just shy of his very best: irreverent, irrational and irresistibly entertaining. Stars Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Diane Kruger.
FOXTEL ACTION/ADVENTURE 7.30PM ★★★★ This utterly brilliant, slyly innovative action picture issues a barrage of future shocks in a pressing present tense. In a bid to stop global warming, climate scientists have triggered a new ice age. Everyone dies in the ensuing snap freeze, except for the occupants of a luxury bullet train. In the years that follow, each carriage becomes a nation unto itself. An interior security system – an unofficial set of borders, if you like – keeps everyone in their place. Due to an ambitious combo of the highconcept and the high-octane, this is an experience best seen (almost literally) cold. Stars Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton.
FOXTEL PREMIERE, 5.55PM ★★★ A fast and loose action movie hell-bent on getting in your face and staying on your mind by any means necessary. Scarlett Johansson plays an expat American student in Taiwan who has been commandeered as a drug mule by local traffickers. After the accidental intake of a dangerous new substance, Lucy’s brain capacity starts expanding at an exponential rate. The power unleashed by this ever-opening mind can manifest itself in ways which must be seen to be believed. And just as often, not believed.
WEDNESDAY THE DESCENT
SBS2, 10.10PM ★★★ Six women lost while on a caving expedition in the mountains begin to suspect they are not alone. The best horror film of 2006 is a punishing British-produced thriller doing the fright thing without making any of the wrong moves we associate with standard-format hack’em-ups. Beware of how writer-director Neil Marshall plays his gory hand at the climax after building a rich atmosphere of mounting dread. Stars Natalie Mendoza, Shauna Macdonald.
THURSDAY 27 DRESSES
FOXTEL DRAMA/ROMANCE, 9.10PM ★★★ A quality rom-com capable of coming up with some unexpected big laughs exactly when needed. Katherine Heigl ( Knocked Up) stars as a woman who not only loses her secret love to her younger sister, but also has her secret life as a serial bridesmaid publicly exposed by a cynical journalist. This genuine crowd-pleaser does so much right, you can forgive the occasional trite stretch.
FRIDAY THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
NINE, 8.40PM ★★ At 160 minutes, there’s a lot of draggin’ just to get to the dragon. Back in Middleearth, everyone is displaying worrying symptoms associated with the dreaded plight known as Middle-film Syndrome. Yes, part two of the Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, is upon us. There will be dwarfs. There will be a dragon. A few elves. Many orcs. And a standing invitation to lie back and take a quick nap whenever you like. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) and dwarf warrior Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) are still on a slow and scenic mission to reclaim the lost land of Erebor. The roadblock up ahead in this movie will be found at Lonely Mountain, where a vicious dragon named Smaug (voiced with a venom both sinister and sarcastic by Benedict Cumberbatch) resides.
SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
TEN, 6.30PM ★★ A below-par Ben Stiller stars as a nervy nightwatchman trying to rein in the chaos that breaks out in a museum every evening. Thankfully, the special effects used to simulate the static exhibits coming to life (dinosaurs, statues and warriors) are both strong and varied enough to prevent a totally worn-out welcome. Based on the book by Milan Trenc.
On the hunt: Eli Roth and Brad Pitt star in maverick filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s InglouriousBasterds.