(MA15+) American Ultra belongs to a cinematic subgenre that sounds like an oxymoron: the stoner action film. Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) is the last survivor of a defunct CIA program to create super agents. When the agent who created the program learns her replacement has ordered Mike eliminated, she decides to save him by activating his programming. Mike doesn’t suddenly strip to a tight singlet to reveal pumped biceps: he remains a doofus, albeit a deadly one. Yet for a while we wonder whether he is in fact an agent marked for death or if it’s the pot making him paranoid. Eisenberg is convincing as a young man who doesn’t trust his own mind.
Ivanov Belvoir St Theatre presents an early Chekhov comedy classic in its first Australian mainstage production. Nikolai Ivanov is struggling. His life used to be full of possibility, but now — moneyless on an old farm, in debt to his neighbours and looking after his dying wife — he is desperate for alternatives. Incoming artistic director Eamon Flack directs this dark comedy starring John Bell, John Howard and Ewan Leslie. Belvoir St Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills. Opens tonight, 8pm. Tickets: $39-$72. Bookings: (02) 9699 3444 or online. Until November 1.