Stage

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - David Strat­ton SR DS Michaela Boland Deb­o­rah Jones

(M) Jen­nifer Lawrence is ter­rific as the ti­tle char­ac­ter, an av­er­age Amer­i­can with a chaotic fam­ily life whose in­ven­tion of a “mir­a­cle mop” leads her into the bizarre world of tele­vi­sion mar­ket­ing. Com­bin­ing wri­ter­di­rec­tor David O. Rus­sell’s fond­ness for squab­bling, dys­func­tional fam­i­lies and his equal fa­cil­ity with satiris­ing con­tem­po­rary Amer­ica, the film is filled with strong per­for­mances — Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Is­abella Ros­sellini among them — but it fal­ters in the later stages and the end­ing fails to sat­isfy.

The End of the Tour (M) This biopic about a week or so in the life of the great and tragic Amer­i­can nov­el­ist David Foster Wal­lace, who killed him­self in 2008, aged 46, is es­sen­tially a two-hour con­ver­sa­tion about life, love, self­hood, art high and low. It’s been said Wal­lace’s writ­ing creates in the reader the sense of “be­ing David Foster Wal­lace’’. So it goes for Ja­son Segel’s tow­er­ing per­for­mance here. The phys­i­cal re­sem­blance is un­canny, but it’s the in­hab­i­ta­tion of the au­thor’s bril­liant and frag­ile mind that is most re­mark­able. It’s a role that needs a foil, and Jesse Eisen­berg is a bril­liant one as jour­nal­ist-au­thor David Lip­sky.

Youth (MA15+) This iron­i­cally ti­tled English­language film from Ital­ian Paolo Sor­rentino ( The Great Beauty) fea­tures Michael Caine (a com­poser-con­duc­tor re­signed to re­tire­ment) and Har­vey Kei­tel (a film di­rec­tor work­ing on his next project) as life­long friends near­ing the end of their lives. Stay­ing in a spa ho­tel in the Swiss Alps, they act as ob­servers of the other ho­tel guests, some of them most ec­cen­tric. Fellini-ish mo­ments of ex­trav­a­gance are al­lied to sump­tu­ous pho­tog­ra­phy, and there’s a sublime mu­sic score ac­com­pa­ny­ing this mov­ing drama.

Jasper Jones Block­buster West Aus­tralian novel Jasper Jones has sold more than 170,000 copies and won a slew of awards but next year the gothic teen tale will find a much wider au­di­ence. Two dif­fer­ent stage plays based on the story dubbed Aus­tralia’s To Kill a Mock­ing­bird are sched­uled, one at Sydney’s Belvoir St The­atre next month and an­other at the Mel­bourne The­atre Com­pany in Au­gust. Jasper Jones au­thor Craig Sil­vey helped adapt his novel for the screen but he wasn’t in­volved in the the­atri­cal script, which is the work of award-win­ning ac­tor and writer Kate Mul­vany. The Belvoir pro­duc­tion will be di­rected by Anne-Louise Sarks and star Tom Con­roy (pic­tured) as Jasper Jones. its first gen­er­a­tion of ad­mir­ers. It doesn’t seem enough in 2015 to give the im­pres­sion the Nazis were a bunch of car­toon­ish heav­ies. The courage of the von Trapp fam­ily is ren­dered far less af­fect­ing than it should be. There are, how­ever, some blaz­ing per­for­mances. The en­chant­ing Maria of Amy Leh­pamer, Jacqueline Dark’s boun­teous Mother Abbess and the eye-wa­ter­ingly tal­ented bunch of chil­dren raise the roof and save the day. Capi­tol The­atre, 13 Camp­bell Street, Hay­mar­ket. To­day, 2pm and 8pm. Tick­ets: $70-$115. Book­ings: 136 100 or on­line. Un­til Fe­bru­ary 28. The 52-Storey Tree­house First there were 13 storeys, then there were 26 — now Andy and Terry tackle the 52storey tree­house, where Mr Big Nose has dis­ap­peared. Can they solve the mys­ter­ies and sur­vive the dan­gers lurk­ing all around them? Adapted from the pop­u­lar pic­ture book by Andy Grif­fiths and Terry Den­ton, which was named best book for younger chil­dren and over­all book of the year at this year’s Aus­tralian Book In­dus­try Awards. Sydney Opera House, Ben­ne­long Point. Opens Jan­uary 3. Tick­ets: $33-$55. Book­ings: (02) 9250 7777 or on­line. Un­til Jan­uary 25.

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