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Townsville Bulletin - - NQ Life - with Leigh Paatsch

AN­OTHER YEAR ( M) Con­tent to watch the daze go by, UK, 133 mins A typ­i­cally ac­com­plished com­edy-drama from Bri­tish di­rec­tor Mike Leigh ( Se­crets

& Lies, Happy-Go-Lucky). The plot spans a year in the life of Tom and Gerri ( Jim Broad­bent and Ruth Sheen), a mar­ried cou­ple com­fort­ably nes­tled in their 50s with no money wor­ries. Or wor­ries of any other kind, for that mat­ter. As for their friends and ex­tended fam­ily, how­ever, the wor­ries just never seem to end. Leigh’s trade­marked ‘‘ im­pro­vised’’ script­ing and acting tech­niques, ap­plied many months in ad­vance of shoot­ing, are very much to the fore. From the open­ing scene, the way ahead is cleared for a slow, sad-but-truly-funny pa­rade of dashed hopes and damp­ened spir­its. ★ ★ ★ 1⁄

2 THE AD­JUST­MENT BU­REAU ( M) The man who ran from the plan, US, 107 mins A pop­corn movie with real crunch, com­bin­ing thrills, ro­mance and spir­i­tual sci-fi to in­trigu­ing ef­fect. Matt Da­mon plays a star US politi­cian whose des­tiny is con­trolled by a se­cret or­gan­i­sa­tion. Co-stars Emily Blunt.

★ ★ ★ 1⁄ 2 BATTLE : LOS AN­GE­LES ( M) Last stand of the Cali gang, US, 102 mins Aliens have in­vaded Earth. Ev­ery ma­jor city has ca­pit­u­lated, ex­cept Los An­ge­les. Un­cle Sam’s best Marines are lead­ing the re­sis­tance. Not out to wow any­one on the au­then­tic­ity front, this hy­per­ac­tive ac­tion flick is ef­fec­tive enough, but won’t blow any­one away. Stars Aaron Eck­hart.

★ ★ BLACK SWAN ( MA15+) Pas de deux-mented, US, 106 mins A men­tally frag­ile bal­le­rina is jug­gling her first big break with a fi­nal break­down. Though this un­set­tling psy­chodrama is prone to jolt­ing mood swings, there can be no dis­put­ing the pre­cise cal­i­bre of Natalie Port­man’s wil­fully wor­ry­ing lead per­for­mance. Co-stars Mila Kunis.

★ ★ ★ ★ THE COM­PANY MEN ( M) Life has lit­tle ups and down­sizes, US, 102 mins Ben Af­fleck plays a re­trenched cor­po­rate type des­per­ately seek­ing em­ploy­ment at the height of the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis. A solid en­sem­ble drama about how ev­ery­thing can blow up when your job is fused with your iden­tity. Co-stars Tommy Lee Jones.

★ ★ ★ THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HOR­NET’S NEST ( MA15+), Fi­nal sting in the tale, Swe­den, 148 mins Clos­ing in­stal­ment in the classy se­ries of thrillers adapted from Stieg Lars­son’s best- sell­ing Millennium Tril­ogy. Plot picks up with rene­gade cy­ber-hacker Lis­beth Sa­lan­der ( Noomi Ra­pace) fight­ing back from the brink of death to ex­act fi­nal vengeance. As al­ways, in­trepid jour­nal­ist Blomkvist ( Michael Nyqvist) is there to sup­ply just-in-a-nick-of-time back-up.

★ ★ ★ 1⁄ 2 HALL PASS ( MA15+) Not much go­ing on be­tween the cheats, US, 103 mins A dodgy, stodgy shock-com from one-time kings of the genre, the Far­relly brothers ( There’s Some­thing About Mary). Owen Wil­son and Ja­son Sudeikis play best buds given a girl-chas­ing week off from their mar­riages. Has its mo­ments, but way be­hind The Hang­over for sus­tained laughs.

★ ★ 1⁄ 2 A HEART­BEAT AWAY ( PG) A pain, all in chest, Aus­tralia, 90 mins The story is bad enough, set in a small town di­vided – pub rock­ers vs. march­ing bands, yoof vs. codgers and big busi­ness vs. small yokels – but what re­ally gets you is how aw­ful the ex­pe­ri­enced cast is through­out this asi­nine brain-eraser. Watch­ing Colin Friels, Wil­liam Zappa and Roy Billing mug­ging for sliv­ers of mirth is de­press­ing.

{ no stars} I AM NUM­BER FOUR ( G) To­mor­row, when the snores be­gan, US, 110 min A dozy, ex­cite­ment-chal­lenged ad­ven­ture pic for the teen mar­ket, which of­ten plays like Twi­light with an ex­tra-ter­res­trial twist. Sigh-fi. Alex Pet­tyfer stars as a broody alien youth, hid­ing out from his in­ter­galac­tic en­e­mies. Co-stars Teresa Palmer.

★ ★ THE KING’S SPEECH ( M) At His Majesty’s lip ser­vice, UK-Aust, 116 mins A su­pe­rior his­tor­i­cal drama, and a sin­cerely in­spir­ing movie ex­pe­ri­ence. Tells how a re­luc­tant Bri­tish monarch over­came a de­bil­i­tat­ing stam­mer with the aid of an un­con­ven­tional speech ther­a­pist from Aus­tralia. Stars Colin Firth, Ge­of­frey Rush.

★ ★ ★ ★ 1⁄ 2 LIM­IT­LESS ( M) Pilling & able, US, 105 mins This psy­cho­log­i­cal-slash-phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal thriller has its ‘‘ what if . . . ? and ‘‘ what next?’’ af­fairs in per­fect or­der. What if a topse­cret drug could ac­ti­vate the fa­bled 90 per cent of our brains that we never use? What if a tablet turned you into an all-see­ing, al­lachiev­ing mas­ter­mind? Well, once pover­tys­tricken writer Ed­die Morra ( Bradley Cooper) par­lays his ad­dic­tion to fame and for­tune, the race is on to find more of the magic med­i­ca­tion. Though the end­ing is a bit ‘‘ what the . . . ?’’, the ear­lier mo­men­tum will se­cure the ap­proval of most view­ers. Costars Ab­bie Cor­nish, Robert De Niro.

★ ★ ★ 1⁄ 2 THE ME­CHANIC ( M) Se­cond­hand ve­hi­cle with a few spare parts, US, 88 mins A sort-of-re­make of a sort-of-OK Charles Bron­son pic from the 70s. Ja­son Statham plays hit­man Arthur Bishop. Af­ter re­luc­tantly fol­low­ing or­ders to ter­mi­nate a fel­low em­ployee ( Don­ald Suther­land), Arthur finds him­self men­tor­ing the old coot’s son ( Ben Fos­ter). A bit of fizz be­tween Statham and Fos­ter saves the co­pi­ous weapon-and­whup­pin’ stuff from get­ting too generic.

★ ★ 1⁄ 2 RANGO ( PG) Depp a charmer chameleon, US, 105 mins The best non-Pixar an­i­mated film to grace our screens since the orig­i­nal Shrek. Johnny Depp bril­liantly voices the ti­tle char­ac­ter, a jit­tery chameleon forced to fend for him­self on the open prairie. Our hero talks his way into be­com­ing sher­iff of a down-and-out town fetch­ingly known as Dirt. The story is a rip-roar­ing ad­ven­ture with ex­cit­ing se­quences from di­rec­tor Gore Verbin­ski ( Pi­rates of the Caribbean) and his crack an­i­ma­tion team. A stylish, so­phis­ti­cated and fun take on the west­ern genre.

★ ★ ★ ★ RED RID­ING HOOD ( M) All the bet­ter to bore you with, US, 102 mins This sickly fairy­tale of­fer­ing has dropped the ‘‘ Lit­tle’’ from the ti­tle and gone af­ter some­thing smaller. And found it with the great­est of quease. Amanda Seyfried ( my, my, what big eyes she has!) stars as Va­lerie in a Dark Ages vil­lage ter­ri­fied by a Big Bad Wolf. While the story is no great shakes, the silli­ness de­liv­ered so solemnly will re­ally rat­tle you. Stay right away. Co-stars Gary Old­man.

★ THE REEF ( M) Shal­low plunge into shark­ness, Aust, 85 mins A group of friends is cruis­ing about the Great Bar­rier Reef. Boat cap­sizes. Most aboard de­cide to swim for it. A shark de­cides to make a meal of ev­ery­one. Splashin’. Gnashin’. Red dye. Stock footage. Shaky-cam close-up. Screams. Si­lence. Re­peat.

★ TRUE GRIT ( M) Good, bet­ter, West, US, 107 mins An ex­em­plary adap­ta­tion of the clas­sic Charles Por­tis novel from the Coen brothers ( No Coun­try for Old Men). In this Wild West re­venge saga with a dif­fer­ence, 14-year-old Mat­tie Ross ( im­pres­sive new­comer Hailee Ste­in­feld) looks to square up the mur­der of her fa­ther in the 1870s. Rough, tough and riv­et­ing. Co-stars Jeff Bridges, Matt Da­mon

★ ★ ★ ★ UN­KNOWN ( M) Blanks for the mem­o­ries, US, 105 mins An en­joy­able pulp thriller star­ring Liam Nee­son as a US aca­demic who awakes from a coma in Ber­lin to dis­cover he is not the man he thought he was. As a bonus, some­one has swiped his iden­tity and his mis­sus.

★ ★ ★

Ruth Sheen and Jim Broad­bent in An­other Year

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