HOTSHOTS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film -

Blades of Glory ( M): Will Fer­rell ( Tal­ladega Nights ) and Jon Heder ( Napoleon Dy­na­mite ) are hi­lar­i­ous as the Ly­cra- clad he­roes of this low­brow iceskat­ing movie. Bad taste is cheer­fully ac­com­mo­dated in a fam­ily film packed with belly laughs. — David Stratton

Driv­ing Lessons ( M): Ru­pert Grint, of Harry Pot­ter fame, plays a shy 17- year- old who falls un­der the spell of age­ing ac­tor Julie Wal­ters in this au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal com­edy from Jeremy Brock. The film is un­even, though Wal­ters has some won­der­ful mo­ments. Laura Lin­ney is mis­cast as the mother and Grint is awk­ward at times. — D. S.

The Dead Girl ( MA15+): Writer- di­rec­tor Karen Mon­crieff’s film con­sists of five in­ge­niously in­ter­wo­ven sto­ries, each deal­ing with a dif­fer­ent as­pect of the mur­der of a young wo­man. The re­sult is an an­gry and dis­turb­ing film with a bit­ter mes­sage, well acted by a cast that in­cludes Toni Col­lette ( as the dis­cov­erer of the vic­tim’s body) and Rose Byrne ( as a foren­sics ex­am­iner whose sis­ter has dis­ap­peared). — Evan Wil­liams

Bridge to Ter­abithia ( PG): A beau­ti­ful and greatly mov­ing adap­ta­tion of Kather­ine Pater­son’s story about the friend­ship be­tween two trou­bled young­sters ( Josh Hutch­er­son and An­naSophia Robb) and their ad­ven­tures in an imag­i­nary king­dom. More than any other spe­cial- ef­fects show, Ga­bor Csupo’s film never al­lows its fan­tasy se­quences to dis­tract from the real world. — E. W.

Ocean’s Thir­teen ( PG): Ge­orge Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Da­mon and the rest are back in Steven Soder­bergh’s ef­fort­lessly smooth ca­per movie. This time their tar­get is a lav­ish Las Ve­gas casino run by ego­ma­ni­a­cal Al Pa­cino — a highly sat­is­fac­tory vil­lain — and the for­mula, which is easy to take, is served up with the usual pro­fes­sional gloss. — D. S.

Shrek the Third ( PG): Our favourite green ogre is re­luc­tant to take the throne of Far Far Away and per­suades Princess Fiona’s shy cousin to groom him­self for the job. De­spite some progress with an­i­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, the film is a dis­ap­point­ment, lack­ing the crisp, satir­i­cal bite of its pre­de­ces­sors: blander, flat­ter and more pret­ti­fied. — E. W.

OUR CRIT­ICS AVOID

Fan­tas­tic Four: Rise of the Sil­ver Surfer ( PG): The spe­cial ef­fects are im­pres­sive but the char­ac­ters and the plot­ting leave a lot to be de­sired. This is a su­per­hero fran­chise that makes no at­tempt to ap­peal to grown- ups; it’s strictly for pre- teens, even though themes of ter­ror­ism and tor­ture emerge amid all the comic- book fan­tasy. — D. S.

Nancy Drew ( PG): It seems odd that the Nancy Drew sto­ries, about a teenage de­tec­tive and which were pre­vi­ously filmed in 1938- 39, should be re­vived and mod­ernised. This is such an old- fash­ioned con­cept that it just doesn’t work in a con­tem­po­rary set­ting, though Josh Flit­ter is fleet­ingly amus­ing as the young hero­ine’s comic side­kick. — D. S.

Foren­sic: Rose Byrne in The Dead Girl

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