(M) Ben Mendelsohn’s desperate gambler, Gerry, is hard to love in Mississippi Grind. He’s a bad ex-husband and worse father, a liar and cheat, a weak man. It’s a meaty role and the lateblooming Australian star delivers another powerhouse performance, one that swells with unarticulated emotion. This is a road trip movie, though more visceral than cerebral. Having said that, it is full of psychological intrigue; its characters keeping us guessing as to their real motivations. The real enigma is Curtis (a seriously good Ryan Reynolds), a handsome fellow gambler who befriends Gerry over a low-rent card table in Dubuque, Iowa. The two agree to travel down the Mississippi, gambling along the way, to reach a storied card game in New Orleans, where Gerry will win back all he owes.
The Illusionists 1903 Inspired by the magicians and conjurers of the early 20th century, The Illusionists 1903 includes stunts, tricks and experiments from a different era. The show includes seven performers, each with a different speciality, including escapology, clairvoyance and levitation. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point. Opens tonight, 3pm. Tickets: $45-$120. Bookings: (02) 9250 7777 or online. Until December 28.