HOTSHOTS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film -

Knocked Up ( MA15+): Writer- di­rec­tor Judd Apa­tow ( The 40- Year- Old Vir­gin ) casts a shrewd eye on is­sues of gen­der, class and gen­er­a­tional dif­fer­ence in this crisp and per­cep­tive Hol­ly­wood sex com­edy, though a 20- minute trim would have im­proved it. Sham­bolic loser Ben Stone ( Seth Ro­gen) finds him­self fac­ing the prospect of fa­ther­hood af­ter a drunken tum­ble with a beau­ti­ful television in­ter­viewer ( Kather­ine Heigl). — Evan Wil­liams

Black Book ( Zwart­boek) ( MA15+): Paul Ver­ho­even re­turns to his na­tive Nether­lands with this lav­ish, largescale wartime drama about the ac­tiv­i­ties of the Re­sis­tance. Carice van Houten is mag­nif­i­cent as a Jewish wo­man who sleeps with a Ger­man of­fi­cer to in­fil­trate the Gestapo. — David Stratton

Change of Ad­dress ( PG): This French ro­man­tic com­edy from wri­ter­di­rec­tor Emmanuel Mouret is so light and airy that it feels more like a ran­dom col­lec­tion of en­coun­ters than a story, but it works through its many per­mu­ta­tions on love and folly with wit and del­i­cacy. The lik­able young cast in­cludes Mouret as a moody young mu­si­cian. — E. W.

West ( MA15+): Daniel Krige’s ex­am­i­na­tion of the lives of some young peo­ple from Syd­ney’s west­ern sub­urbs is very well acted ( Khan Chit­ten­den es­pe­cially), di­rected and pho­tographed, and doubt­less au­then­tic, but this de­pic­tion of drug deal­ing, vi­o­lence and joy­less sex be­comes deeply de­press­ing af­ter a while. — D. S.

Club­land ( M): Brenda Blethyn plays a possessive mother and failed club en­ter­tainer in this en­gag­ing com­e­dy­drama. But the fo­cus of at­ten­tion falls on Khan Chit­ten­den as her shy, with­drawn son and the much more force­ful young wo­man ( Emma Booth) who falls in love with him. A feel- good movie with sharply etched char­ac­ters. — D. S.

Trans­form­ers ( M): Michael Bay has de­liv­ered the year’s nois­i­est and sil­li­est block­buster, in which aliens dis­guised as ve­hi­cles trans­form into killing ma­chines. Spec­tac­u­lar or­gies of de­struc­tion re­place plot, but the film is partly re­deemed by its boofish hu­mour and Shia LaBeouf’s ami­able car- crazy teenager. — E. W.

Four Min­utes ( Vier Minuten) ( MA15+): Su­perb per­for­mances from vet­eran Mon­ica Bleib­treu and new­comer Han­nah Herzsprung il­lu­mi­nate this grim prison drama about an el­derly mu­sic teacher and a gifted but vi­o­lent young pris­oner. A down­beat film from Ger­man di­rec­tor Chris Kraus. — D. S.

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’s strictly for pre­teens, even though themes of ter­ror­ism and tor­ture emerge amid all the comic­book fan­tasy. — D. S.

Crisp sex com­edy: Knocked Up

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