Stage

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - Stephen Romei DS SR Sam Buck­ing­ham-Jones

(PG) Pix­els opens in 1982 with 13year-old friends Sam Bren­ner and Will Cooper hang­ing out at the lo­cal video game ar­cade. Sam is a whiz and Will en­cour­ages him to en­ter the world cham­pi­onships. With NASA’s as­sis­tance, a time capsule con­tain­ing a video cas­sette of the com­pe­ti­tion is launched into space. Di­rec­tor Chris Colum­bus then moves to the present day: in a clever scene we see the adult Sam and Will talk­ing over beers in a bar, but when the TV news comes on, we re­alise Will (Kevin James) is now the US pres­i­dent. Ev­ery­thing changes when aliens de­stroy an air force base: it tran­spires they re­ceived that video cas­sette and con­sid­ered it a dec­la­ra­tion of war. Pix­els, a film with a sense of mis­chief about it, does more than enough to keep adults and chil­dren sat­is­fied.

Lon­don Road (MA15+) An ex­cel­lent screen ver­sion of Lon­don’s Na­tional Theatre mu­si­cal pro­duc­tion based on the 2006 mur­der of sev­eral sex work­ers in the Suf­folk city of Ip­swich. Ru­fus Nor­ris, who han­dled the stage pro­duc­tion, brings the chal­leng­ing ma­te­rial to the screen with au­da­cious­ness and skill, and a su­perb ensem­ble cast that in­cludes, in a cameo, Tom Hardy as a taxi driver who has made a study of se­rial killers.

Odd­ball (G) The fea­ture de­but of tele­vi­sion di­rec­tor Stu­art McDon­ald is based on the true story of Alan “Swampy’’ Marsh, a Vic­to­rian chook farmer who, with ca­nine as­sis­tance, came to the res­cue of a pen­guin colony on an is­land off War­rnam­bool. Co­me­dian and ac­tor Shane Jacobson plays Swampy. But the star of the show is the dog Odd­ball, a maremma, an Ital­ian breed tra­di­tion­ally used to pro­tect live­stock from wolves. Odd­ball isn’t the slick­est piece of film­mak­ing, with lots of ob­vi­ous stu­dio scenes (although the shots of the Vic­to­rian coast are spec­tac­u­lar), but it has a big heart and that counts for a lot.

Pre­his­toric Aquar­ium There are two things guar­an­teed to ex­cite a child: pre­his­toric crea­tures and pup­pets. Brought to­gether in this sci­en­tific, ed­u­ca­tional per­for­mance, theatre com­pany Erth presents an en­gag­ing look at marine rep­tiles through history. Car­riage­works, 245 Wil­son Street, Eveleigh. Opens to­day. Tick­ets: $25. In­quiries: (02) 8571 9099 or online. Un­til Oc­to­ber 4.

Op­pen­heimer

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