STEPHEN ROMEI

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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

IBIT off more than I could chew re­cently by declar­ing to some friends that there are at least six films in which Tom Cruise is ex­cel­lent. I reeled off the list and had them wor­ried for a while: Risky Busi­ness ( 1983), Top Gun ( 1986), Eyes Wide Shut ( 1999), Mag­no­lia ( 1999), Col­lat­eral ( 2004) and . . . Vanilla Sky ( 2001). I was on thin ice with Eyes Wide Shut ( though I think it’s ter­rific), but no one was go­ing to cop Vanilla Sky. The stand­out among th­ese is Cruise’s misog­y­nist evan­ge­list in Mag­no­lia, for which he should have won the Os­car he was nom­i­nated for. The next best is his so­cio­pathic hit­man in Michael Mann’s Col­lat­eral ( Fri­day, 8.30pm, Ten), which is this week’s No 1 with a bul­let. It’s es­sen­tially a two- han­der, with Jamie Foxx as the Los An­ge­les cab­bie forced to drive Cruise around for a busy night of knock­ing off peo­ple. Both stars are spot on in this tight, action- filled drama, es­pe­cially Cruise. Aus­tralian Stu­art Beat­tie wrote the screen­play. Pa­tri­ots may be of­fended that my pick of the week is not Cate Short­land’s bit­ter­sweet snow coun­try com­ing- of- age story Som­er­sault ( Sun­day, 9.10pm, SBS), which won a record 13 Aus­tralian Film In­sti­tute Awards, in­clud­ing for leads Ab­bie Cor­nish and Sam Wor­thing­ton. Well, I hap­pen to pre­fer films about hit men to ones about teenage love and angst, but more than that I found Som­er­sault con­trived and an­noy­ing, though Wor­thing­ton is very good. I doubt Robert Mitchum ever felt angst, at least not on screen. ABC1 has three films in the small hours star­ring this gi­ant of an ac­tor. The best is Jac­ques Tourneur’s noir thriller Out of the Past ( Sun­day, 1.30am), in which Mitchum is a pri­vate eye hired by hood­lum Kirk Dou­glas to track down his mad, bad girl­friend ( Jane Greer). Mitchum finds her, and he likes what he sees. It was re­made in 1984 as Against All Odds, with Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward and James Woods. One of the plea­sures of re­view­ing Mitchum films is get­ting to use phrases such as gang­ster’s moll. In Sec­ond Chance ( Mon­day, 1.35am) he’s a boxer try­ing to help a gang­ster’s moll ( Linda Dar­nell) who is hid­ing in Mex­ico and fend­ing off the amorous and/ or homi­ci­dal at­ten­tions of Jack Palance. The cli­mac­tic scene in a stalled ca­ble car was cool for its time. One Minute to Zero ( Tues­day, 1.35am) is an earnest Korean War

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