HOT­SHOTS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film -

The In­ter­na­tional ( MA15+): An un­de­ni­ably en­ter­tain­ing thriller from di­rec­tor Tom Tyk­wer, with some very well­staged, oc­ca­sion­ally vi­o­lent, action se­quences, in­clud­ing a spec­tac­u­lar shootout in New York’s Guggenheim Mu­seum. But the char­ac­ters are thinly drawn and the plot, in­volv­ing evil bankers mixed up in po­lit­i­cal as­sas­si­na­tion and money laun­der­ing, isn’t very well de­vel­oped. Clive Owen, and es­pe­cially Naomi Watts, aren’t at their best. — David Stratton

The Reader ( MA15+): Kate Winslet gives an un­for­get­table per­for­mance as an il­lit­er­ate for­mer con­cen­tra­tion camp guard in Nazi Ger­many who seeks so­lace af­ter the war in a love af­fair with a school­boy ( played in later life by Ralph Fi­ennes). A com­pelling study of guilt and re­morse, di­rected with ma­jes­tic in­sight and re­straint by Stephen Daldry from Bern­hard Sch­link’s ac­claimed novel. — Evan Wil­liams

Frozen River ( MA15+): A grimly im­pres­sive, Os­car-nom­i­nated film ( for screen­play and best ac­tress) about two women who take part in the il­le­gal smug­gling of refugees across the frozen St Lawrence River be­tween Canada and the US. Court­ney Hunt’s mostly im­pres­sive first fea­ture is drably pho­tographed, but Melissa Leo and Misty Upham are ex­cel­lent in the leads. The MA15+ rat­ing seems quite un­war­ranted. — D. S.

He’s Just Not That Into You ( M): An overex­tended, over­pop­u­lated ro­man­tic com­edy that at­tempts to shed light on the dif­fi­cul­ties of dat­ing in the era of the Black­Berry and MyS­pace. But, de­spite a stel­lar cast, which in­cludes Jen­nifer Anis­ton, Scar­lett Jo­hans­son, Ben Af­fleck and Drew Bar­ry­more, there are few new in­sights into the bat­tle of the sexes, 21st-cen­tury style. — D. S.

Rachel Get­ting Mar­ried ( M): It’s Rachel who is get­ting mar­ried, but it’s her un­happy sis­ter Kym ( Anne Hath­away) who dom­i­nates this com­pelling fam­ily drama, turn­ing up un­ex­pect­edly for the best-planned of so­ci­ety wed­dings to un­bur­den her guilt-rid­den soul. Jonathan Demme di­rects in a free-flow­ing, home­m­o­vie style, and Hath­away de­liv­ers an­guish and brave good hu­mour in roughly equal mea­sure. — E. W.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno ( R18+): The dis­tinc­tive in-your-face tal­ents of Kevin Smith and the Apa­tow school of com­edy meet in this supremely vul­gar, sex-ob­sessed farce which is, in the end, sur­pris­ingly sweet and ten­der, thanks to the solid per­for­mances of Seth Ro­gen and El­iz­a­beth Banks as the life­long pla­tonic friends who em­bark on the pro­duc­tion of a no-bud­get sex movie. — D. S.

Ghost Town ( M): An English den­tist who can talk to ghosts may seem an un­likely lead for a Hol­ly­wood ro­man­tic com­edy, but as Ricky Ger­vais ( The Of­fice ) plays him in this ami­able fan­tasy, the char­ac­ter and the film work beau­ti­fully. Dead­pan di­rec­tion ( David Koepp), sparkling Man­hat­tan back­grounds and an en­gag­ing cast ( in­clud­ing Greg Kin­n­ear and Tea Leoni) make this sad, funny film an agree­able sur­prise. — E. W.

Com­pelling study: Kate Winslet in The Reader

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