TV Films

A Guide to the Week’s View­ing

New Zealand Listener - - CON­TENTS - By RYAN HOLDER


Rolling Thun­der (Movies Ex­tra, Sky 031, 3.05pm). To be­gin with, you’ll think Rolling Thun­der is one of those films that tries to un­der­stand what hap­pened to the soul of Amer­ica after the Viet­nam War. But it won’t be long be­fore that il­lu­sion is shattered. Ma­jor Charles Rane (Wil­liam De­vane) is set upon by a group of bor­der out­laws (played by James Best and Luke Askew, among oth­ers). He is robbed and his wife and son mur­dered. The true pur­pose of the movie is then re­vealed, as Rane and his war buddy, Sergeant Johnny Vo­hden (Tommy Lee Jones), set out to ex­act bloody re­venge. If you need a mea­sure of the vi­o­lence, Quentin Tarantino said it was one of his favourite movies. (1977)

De­spi­ca­ble Me (Three, 7.00pm). De­spi­ca­ble Me is good, clean an­i­mated fun. Su­pervil­lain Gru (voiced by Steve Car­rell) at­tempts to bet­ter the work of an anony­mous thief who man­aged to steal the Great Pyra­mid of Giza. Gru has a plan of big­ger pro­por­tions: the moon. With his vast ar­ray of gad­gets and a le­gion of min­ions on his side, the task seems within his reach. But then his neme­sis,

Vec­tor (Jason Segel), ap­pears. Even worse, a trio of or­phaned girls threaten to melt Gru’s icy heart. (2010)

Magic Mike (Movies Greats, Sky 033, 8.30pm). Di­rec­tor Steven Soder­bergh re­makes a story that has been told many times, but nowhere as poignantly as in rap­per T-Pain’s I’m in Love with a Strip­per. How­ever, this time, the shoe is on the other foot (or, off the other foot). Mike Lane (Chan­ning Ta­tum) is a male strip­per. He has dreams of start­ing a fur­ni­ture busi­ness, but the money is too good in the short term. After tak­ing young Adam (Alex Pet­tyfer) un­der his wing in the top­less trade, and promis­ing Adam’s sis­ter (Cody Horn) that no harm will be­fall him, things spi­ral out of con­trol in the way you’d ex­pect. (2012) The Lovely Bones (Three, 8.50pm). After Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ro­nan), a 14-year-old girl, is raped and mur­dered by a neigh­bour (Stan­ley Tucci), she be­comes stuck in some sort of weird fan­tasy land be­tween Heaven and Earth. She watches as her fam­ily mourns and her killer plots his next crime. The Lovely Bones is not one of Peter Jack­son’s finest ef­forts, but Ro­nan, who went on to star in such movies as Brook­lyn and Lady Bird, shines here, too. (2009)


Rules of En­gage­ment (Movies Ex­tra, Sky 031, 2.10pm).

The con­cept “rules of war” has al­ways seemed odd, as though there is a proper way to mur­der peo­ple. But rules are there for break­ing, and movies like this, which go through the mo­tions of eth­i­cal grap­pling, are here for the mak­ing. Marine Corps Colonel Terry Childers (Sa­muel L Jack­son) over­sees the evacuation of the US Am­bas­sador to Ye­men (Ben Kings­ley) after a rou­tine protest turns vi­o­lent. He or­ders his men to fire on the pos­si­bly armed crowd, killing 83 civil­ians.

But is he guilty of a crim­i­nal act? Can it be proved in a mil­i­tary court? A spokesman for the Amer­i­can-Arab An­tiDis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mit­tee com­pared the film to The

Birth of a Na­tion and said it was, “prob­a­bly the most racist film ever made against

Arabs by Hol­ly­wood”. (2000)

The King’s Speech (Choice, 8.30pm). Pub­lic speak­ing is bad enough at the best of

times. If you are the heir to the Bri­tish throne and you have a speech im­ped­i­ment, it must be hell. But such was the lot of Prince Al­bert (played by Colin Firth), who, after his older brother ab­di­cated, be­came King Ge­orge VI. The movie fo­cuses on the King’s mis­sion to over­come his stam­mer, en­list­ing the help of an ec­cen­tric vo­cal ther­a­pist (Ge­of­frey Rush). An un­likely friend­ship blos­soms be­tween them, lead­ing to the King’s mo­men­tous speech on the out­break of World War II. (2010)

The Shal­lows (TVNZ 2, 9.00pm). Blake Lively, a bikini, a surf­board and a shark: not ex­actly the most promis­ing in­gre­di­ents for a good film. Yet, some­how, di­rec­tor Jaume Col­let-Serra ( House of Wax, The Com­muter) pulls off this Amer­i­can sur­vival thriller off quite spec­tac­u­larly. (2015)


Frac­ture (Prime, 8.30pm). Di­rec­tor Gre­gory Hoblit has a thing about jus­tice – see L.A. Law, Hill Street Blues, Pri­mal Fear and Roe vs. Wade. When wealthy en­gi­neer Ted Craw­ford (An­thony Hop­kins) mur­ders his adul­ter­ous wife (Em­beth Davidtz), young and ar­ro­gant dis­trict at­tor­ney Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) be­lieves he has an open-and-shut case. He’s wrong. A hu­mil­i­ated Beachum digs deeper into the cir­cum­stances of the killing and finds a part of him­self he didn’t know ex­isted. Hop­kins and Gosling de­liver stun­ning

per­for­mances. (2007)


Pay­check (TVNZ Duke, 8.30pm). You can get quite ex­er­cised see­ing Philip K Dick novels turned into ac­tion flicks.

When will they re­alise it’s the idea be­hind the sto­ries that makes them worth any­thing? Michael Jen­nings (Ben Af­fleck) is a re­verse en­gi­neer. His job is to steal other com­pa­nies’ de­signs for his clients. When he’s done, his mind is wiped. After a long and com­pli­cated job for a steely tech bil­lion­aire (Aaron Eck­hart), Jen­nings comes to and some­thing’s not right. What’s more, all his stuff is gone ex­cept for an en­ve­lope full of ran­dom items. Then the ac­tion kicks off big time: it is a John Woo ( Face/Off, Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble 2) film, after all, and Jen­nings dis­cov­ers each item can be used at cer­tain times

to es­cape his pur­suers. (2003)


Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Three, 8.30pm) A biotech sci­en­tist (James Franco) is test­ing rev­o­lu­tion­ary drugs on chim­panzees in the search for an Alzheimer’s cure when Bright Eyes, an ex­cep­tion­ally in­tel­li­gent chimp (thanks to the drugs), goes on a ram­page through the fa­cil­ity and is killed. The trial is shut down. Franco takes in Bright Eyes’ in­fant, Cae­sar, which shows signs of its mother’s in­tel­li­gence. From there the seeds of rev­o­lu­tion grow. Fun fact: Cae­sar is played by mas­ter of per­for­mance cap­ture Andy Serkis, Gol­lum in the Lord of the Rings tril­ogy. (2011)

De­spi­ca­ble Me, Satur­day.

The Lovely Bones, Satur­day.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Thurs­day.

The King’s Speech, Sun­day.

Pay­check, Wed­nes­day.

The Shal­lows, Sun­day.

Frac­ture, Mon­day.

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