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Townsville Bulletin - - Weekend Extra / Movies -

BO­RAT (MA) The end of the doc­u­men­tary as we know it, US, 84 mins

Jagshe­mash! The movie re­view­ing of Bo­ratis be­gin.You have al­ready heard the early noises of this pic­ture mo­tion, yes? That it can be fun­nier than TheSan­taClause3, Cheaper­bytheDozen2and Deuce Bi­ga­low:Euro­peanGigolo, all to­gether mixed? This is true.You can laugh so hard your toe­nails they rat­tle.But why you say? Does Bo­rat not hate the Jew? Spite the gypsy? Dis­gust at the women? Mock the un-nor­mal? Yes, he does, and no, he not does.There is ex­plain­ing you need.Bo­rat is not a real thing.He is Kazakh dis­guise of com­edy for man who used to be Ali G.Words at open­ing say the name is Sacha Baron Co­hen.He is the Jew, too.He pre­tend to be Bo­rat to make Amer­i­cans tell what is un­der their brain.There is not much there, but he still find a lot.Mr Co­hen is part of grand comic tra­di­tion.Now you not laugh now.I am se­ri­ous be­ing.There are links miss­ing be­tween the Char­lie Chap­lin, the Grou­cho Marx and the Johnny Knoxville.But not any more.They are in the movie you like. ####+

CASINO ROYALE (M) Gam­ble pays off on a bad-be­hav­iour Bond, US-UK, 144 mins

First Bat­man, then Su­per­man, and now, James Bond.Do­ing the back-to-ba­sics thing is a bril­liant way of kick-start­ing an idle fran­chise, or steer­ing an aim­less one in a worth­while new di­rec­tion. So if you’d had it up to here with the camp cock­tail-swill­ing and lady-killing of the post-Con­nery Bonds, then Casi­noRoyalewill wel­come you back to the fold with open arms.This is a hard-edged and in­cred­i­bly suc­cess­ful at­tempt to re­po­si­tion the char­ac­ter closer to the so­cio­pathic rogue spy that au­thor Ian Flem­ing orig­i­nally en­vis­aged back in the 1950s.With a lot of the ex­cess flab stripped away, the way is clear for im­pres­sive new 007 Daniel Craig to hit the ground run­ning, shoot­ing and fight­ing. You’ve never seen Bond like this be­fore.Stand back, but stay watch­ing.Co-stars Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen. ####

CHAR­LOTTE’S WEB (G) Spi­der mak­ing a pig dif­fer­ence, US, 94 mins

The touch­ing story of an un­likely friend­ship be­tween a naive young pig named Wil­bur (voiced by young­ster Do­minic Scott Kay) and the moth­erly older spi­der Char­lotte (Ju­lia Roberts).To stave off the pos­si­bil­ity of Wil­bur re­ceiv­ing an ex­pected one-way ticket to Ba­consville, Char­lotte em­barks on a strangely touch­ing cam­paign to pro­mote the pig’s many mer­its.This she does by weav­ing one-word slo­gans into her webs, soon gen­er­at­ing a large and curious fol­low­ing among the lo­cal farm­ing folk.With many of the crit­ters in the movie played by re­al­life an­i­mals — it took more than 40 oinkers to bring Wil­bur to life, ap­par­ently — Char­lotte’sWe­bis its best when hu­man be­ings are ab­sent from the pic­ture en­tirely. ###

ERAGON (M) Dragon way be­hind, US, 97 mins

Cult fan­tasy au­thor Christo­pher Paolini’s much-loved book about a boy, his dragon and their re­bel­lion against a cruel king has been blanded down to a sec­ond-rate Lord­oftheRingsknock- off.Sadly, first-time di­rec­tor Ste­fen Fang­meier is no Peter Jack­son

FLUSHED AWAY (G) So S-bend­able, UK-US, 84 mins

A bunch of ras­cally ro­dents have built a replica of Lon­don deep inside the sew­ers of the Bri­tish cap­i­tal.A do­mes­ti­cated rat named Roddy (Hugh Jack­man) is an un­will­ing vis­i­tor to this ver­min­in­fested utopia.His only ticket out is a tough-talk­ing twitcher called Rita (Kate Winslet), and both must avoid the ma­li­cious toad (Ian McKellen) who runs an or­gan­ised­grime racket in th­ese here parts. An un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally loud and light­weight an­i­mated com­edy from Aard­man Stu­dios ( Wal­lace& Gromit).

THE HOL­I­DAY (M) On a break and on the make, US, 130 mins

A syrupy, star-stud­ded ro­man­tic com­edy from pop­u­lar wri­ter­di­rec­tor Nancy Mey­ers ( Some­thing’sGottaGive). Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet swap ad­dresses in the US and UK for the Christ­mas hol­i­days, and both get great new guys (Jude Law

HAPPY FEET (G) Telling a chill­ing tale with warm sounds, Aus­tralia-US, 108 mins

Cast aside by his fel­low pen­guins be­cause he can’t sing, a young mis­fit named Mum­ble (voiced by Eli­jah Wood) em­barks upon an ar­du­ous trek to­wards ac­cep­tance. Though the many song-and-dance in­ter­ludes in this beau­ti­ful com­puter-an­i­mated pro­duc­tion are thor­oughly up­lift­ing, the sto­ry­line stretches to some dark and in­tense places. Goes quite well as an ac­tion-ad­ven­ture pic, but def­i­nitely not the all-ages prospect many would have thought (par­ents with chil­dren younger than 8 should tread war­ily here). Co-stars the voices of Robin Wil­liams, Hugh Jack­man, Brit­tany Mur­phy. Look­ing good for a rea­son: The ap­pear­ance of the pen­guins is ex­traor­di­nar­ily life­like. Each close-up of an in­di­vid­ual bird in­volves the an­i­ma­tion of an es­ti­mated 6 mil­lion dif­fer­ent feath­ers. be­hind the cam­era.The spe­cial ef­fects are noth­ing spe­cial what­so­ever, and the ac­tors ap­pear to be ei­ther half-heart­edly re­hears­ing or hope­lessly ham­ming it up.And don’t get me started on the wretched look of the dragon. Imag­ine the head of a My Lit­tle Pony doll trans­planted atop the body of a steroid-ad­dicted ptero­dactyl. #+ and Jack Black re­spec­tively) as house­warm­ing presents.Not much more than a trans-At­lantic take on the same gloopy mat­ters ad­dressed by LoveAc­tu­ally, but it’s an ef­fec­tive sum­mer date movie none­the­less.There’s a gen­uine elec­tric­ity be­tween Diaz and Law that’s prob­a­bly helped along by his real-life rep as a se­rial shag-rat.As for the un­likely pair­ing of Winslet and Black, well, that works too. While their char­ac­ters def­i­nitely ben­e­fit from bet­ter writ­ing, Black’s flair for im­pro­vised phys­i­cal tics and ver­bal asides ex­tracts a def­i­nite tal­ent for com­edy from Winslet we haven’t seen be­fore. ###

NIGHT AT THE MU­SEUM (PG) Trou­ble, strife and dio­ra­mas, US, 101 mins

A be­low-par Ben Stiller stars as a nervy night­watch­man try­ing to reign in the chaos that breaks out in a mu­seum ev­ery evening. Thank­fully, the spe­cial-ef­fects used to sim­u­late the static ex­hibits com­ing to life (di­nosaurs, stat­ues, war­riors etc) are both strong and var­ied enough to pre­vent a to­tally worn-out wel­come.While there are a few pass­able ef­forts among the sup­port­ing ranks (Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rourke steal ev­ery scene they’re in as Stiller’s pre­de­ces­sors on the night beat), the movie whips up a wacky storm when­ever freed of its sticky sto­ry­line.Based on the won­der­ful pic­ture book by Mi­lan Trenc (which runs to only 30 pages, which ex­plains the pad­ding of the plot). ##+

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