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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Evan Wil­liams

WITH Happy Feet, Ten Ca­noes, Kenny, Jind­abyne and Candy (among oth­ers), 2006 was a mem­o­rable year for the Aus­tralian film in­dus­try. It was also the year of Sub­ur­ban May­hem (Satur­day, 11.20pm, SBS One), an an­ar­chic black com­edy di­rected by Paul Gold­man, which had its pre­miere screen­ing in Cannes. New Zealand ac­tress Emily Bar­clay turns in a mes­meris­ing per­for­mance as Kat, a 19-year-old sin­gle mum who lives at home with her fa­ther. Kat’s world be­yond the lim­its of sub­ur­ban Golden Grove is one of petty crime and moral squalor. But she has a bril­liant tal­ent for ma­nip­u­lat­ing oth­ers, and when her fa­ther threat­ens to have her child placed in care she will stop at noth­ing to get her way. Gold­man (re­mem­bered for his lo­cal race re­la­tions drama Aus­tralian Rules) di­rects with cor­ro­sive in­sight and wit from a screen­play by Alice Bell, and there is strong sup­port from Michael Dor­man, An­thony Hayes, Genevieve Lemon and a young Mia Wasikowska. In its bit­ter­ness and dar­ing, an iconic Aus­tralian film.

It was al­ways go­ing to be dif­fi­cult to make a se­quel to Shrek — a mas­ter­piece of the an­i­ma­tor’s art and pretty well per­fect in its own way. But Shrek 2 (Satur­day, 6.30pm, Nine) suc­ceeded as well as one could hope — flow­ing nat­u­rally from the orig­i­nal ma­te­rial and pick­ing up where the first film left off. Our lovable green ogre has mar­ried his beau­ti­ful princess and the two are sum­moned by the king and queen to re­turn to the fam­ily cas­tle, where Princess Fiona is to be wel­comed home and her hand­some prince pre­sented for parental ap­proval. The film has a richer and more in­tri­cate story than the first; cer­tainly the pace seems brisker (and the mu­si­cal num­bers more in­tru­sive). And I liked the jokes. The fa­bled land of Far Far Away proves to be a pas­tiche of Bev­erly Hills, with Far­bucks signs and a Fat Boy’s drive-in burger out­let where Shrek or­ders a Me­dieval Meal. Mike My­ers and Cameron Diaz do re­peat ser­vice in the voice roles, and Puss in Boots, per­haps the most lovable char­ac­ter in the fran­chise, makes his first ap­pear­ance.

There’s some­thing mildly (if play­fully) sadis­tic about the whole con­cept of the story in the com­puter-an­i­mated film Mon­sters Inc. (Satur­day, 6.30pm, Seven) — the idea that mon­sters take plea­sure in ter­ri­fy­ing small chil­dren and that chil­dren’s screams can be har­nessed as a source of en­ergy. The film is full of over-elab­o­rate plot con­trivances, but mil­lions of fans can’t be wrong.

And a brief men­tion for Ghost (Thurs­day, 8.40pm, 7Two), di­rec­tor Jerry Zucker’s sen­ti­men­tal supernatural charmer, in which Pa­trick Swayze reaches out from be­yond the grave to warn his girl­friend (Demi Moore) of im­pend­ing dan­ger. It’s corny and ridicu­lous, but I guar­an­tee you’ll love it.

(MA15+) ★★★★✩ Satur­day, 11.20pm, SBS One

(PG) (NSW, Qld only) ★★★★✩ Satur­day, 6.30pm, Nine

(PG) ★★★ ✩ Thurs­day, 8.40pm, 7Two

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