HOTSHOTS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film -

The As­sas­si­na­tion of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford ( MA15+): De­spite some of the best act­ing this year ( from Brad Pitt and Casey Af­fleck) and a story that never loses its tragic grandeur, Andrew Dominik’s moody west­ern aims too bla­tantly for epic sta­tus, be­com­ing long- winded and pre­ten­tious, which is a shame. — Evan Wil­liams

Across the Uni­verse ( M): Julie Tay­mor’s spec­tac­u­lar mu­si­cal in­cor­po­rates 33 Bea­tles clas­sics to tell the story of star- crossed lovers Jude ( Jim Sturgess) and Lucy ( Evan Rachel Wood). The songs are lov­ingly, ex­cit­ingly rein­vented. — David Stratton

Death Proof ( MA15+): Quentin Tarantino re- cre­ates the ap­pear­ance of 1970s ex­ploita­tion films, with Kurt Rus­sell as a ma­ni­a­cal killer who tar­gets fe­male driv­ers. There’s a lot of talk, a great car chase and a win­ning per­son­al­ity in New Zealand stunt­woman Zoe Bell. — D. S.

Con­trol ( MA15+): Ab­sorb­ing film about Ian Cur­tis, the lead singer of Bri­tish pop group Joy Di­vi­sion, who took his life in 1980, aged 23. An­ton Cor­bijn has shot this as­ton­ish­ing film in black and white. — E. W.

East­ern Prom­ises ( R): David Cro­nen­berg’s new film about Rus­sian gangs in Lon­don and the ac­ci­den­tal in­volve­ment of a young mid­wife ( Naomi Watts) in a world of sex slav­ery. Pow­er­ful. — D. S.

A Mighty Heart ( M): Michael Win­ter­bot­tom’s vivid film about the killing of Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist Daniel Pearl in Pak­istan in 2002. As the preg­nant wife who in­ves­ti­gates her hus­band’s fate, An­gelina Jolie gives a pow­er­fully re­strained per­for­mance. — D. S.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days ( MA15+): Re­lent­lessly har­row­ing, bril­liantly ac­com­plished film from Cris­tian Mungiu about the ef­forts of a fright­ened stu­dent in com­mu­nist Ro­ma­nia to ob­tain an il­le­gal abor­tion. — E. W.

Michael Clay­ton ( MA15+): A fine thriller with Ge­orge Clooney as a New York law firm trou­bleshooter who be­comes caught up in some le­gal ac­tion in­volv­ing a multi­na­tional agri­chem­i­cal com­pany. — D. S.

Death at a Funeral ( M): Bri­tish com­edy, di­rected by Frank Oz, with a clever screen­play and cast of con­sum­mate tal­ent. A funeral is dis­rupted by the de­liv­ery of the wrong body and dra­matic rev­e­la­tions. Mod­est, but the fun­ni­est film in a while. — D. S.

The King­dom ( MA15+): In Peter Berg’s in­tel­li­gent thriller, Jamie Foxx heads a team of FBI agents in­ves­ti­gat­ing a ter­ror­ist at­tack on a US com­pound in Riyadh, Saudi Ara­bia, in which scores of Amer­i­cans have been killed. — E. W.

Hair­spray ( PG): A plump Bal­ti­more teenager ( Nikki Blon­sky) suc­ceeds in racially in­te­grat­ing a small television stu­dio. De­lights in­clude John Tra­volta danc­ing in drag. — D. S.

Moody: The As­sas­si­na­tion of Jesse James

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