Lau­ren Buck­eridge

A Guide to the Week’s View­ing

New Zealand Listener - - CONTENTS - By LAU­REN BUCK­ERIDGE


Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia 2 (TVNZ 2, 7.00pm). Gear­ing up for Hal­loween mid­week, the sec­ond in­stal­ment of the en­dear­ing an­i­mated Tran­syl­va­nia fran­chise fea­tures a plethora of recog­nis­able Hol­ly­wood voices. Drac­ula (Adam San­dler), who runs a high-end re­sort for mon­sters, ac­cepts that his vam­piric daugh­ter (Se­lena Gomez) loves a hu­man (Andy Sam­berg) but at­tempts to make his half-hu­man grand­son one of their own. (2015) Three Bill­boards Out­side Eb­bing Mis­souri (Movies Pre­miere,

Sky 030, 8.30pm). When lo­cal au­thor­i­ties fail to catch a mur­derer, the vic­tim’s mother (Frances McDor­mand) takes mat­ters into her own hands by erect­ing scathing bill­boards aimed at po­lice. Win­ning an Academy Award for her por­trayal of Mil­dred, McDor­mand’s per­for­mance is a sharp and fear­some dis­play of a griev­ing woman pushed to the edge. Sam Rock­well, Woody Har­rel­son and Peter Din­klage star in sup­port­ing roles in this con­tro­ver­sial mid-West drama. (2017)

The Florida Project (Rialto, Sky 039, 8.30pm). Set in a bud­get mo­tel just out­side Florida’s Dis­ney World re­sort, this film warms the cock­les and tugs at the heart­strings. Six-year-old Moonee (Brook­lyn Prince) spends her days not at school but cre­at­ing mis­chief with the neigh­bour­hood kids. Her young mother, Hal­ley (Bria Vi­naite), hawks, steals and sells her­self to pay rent to com­pas­sion­ate mo­tel man­ager Bobby (Willem Dafoe). This re­al­is­tic look at mod­ern poverty, set against the back­drop of “the most mag­i­cal place on earth” is ut­terly af­fect­ing. (2017)

In­ferno (TVNZ 2, 8.40pm). Ron Howard di­rects this third in­stal­ment of the tril­ogy based on the nov­els of Dan Brown. This time around, Har­vard sym­bol­o­gist Pro­fes­sor Robert Lang­don (Tom Hanks) races around Europe to stop the “in­ferno virus” from dec­i­mat­ing hu­man­ity. This fran­tic

city-hop­ping se­ries fi­nale sadly doesn’t do the orig­i­nal Da Vinci Code jus­tice. (2016)

Ever­est (Three, 9.35pm). A dizzy­ing adap­ta­tion of the 2000 mem­oir Left for Dead: My Jour­ney Home from Ever­est by Beck Weath­ers, a climber in the 1996 Ever­est dis­as­ter. That year, lauded Kiwi moun­taineer Rob Hall (Ja­son Clarke) led Weath­ers (Josh Brolin) and nine oth­ers up the south sum­mit of Mt Ever­est. Hall com­pleted a fifth sum­mit but died in a storm that claimed three other mem­bers of the group. Keira Knight­ley at­tempts a New Zealand ac­cent as Hall’s wife, Jan, and Robin Wright fea­tures as Weather’s wife, Peach. Jake Gyl­len­haal and Sam Wor­thing­ton also star as climbers. (2015)


Pet Se­matary (Hal­loween Pop-Up, Sky 035, 3.35pm). Catch the orig­i­nal 80s ver­sion of Stephen King’s fa­mous hor­ror story ahead of next year’s re­make. A doc­tor and his young fam­ily move into a trou­ble­some home with its own pet ceme­tery out the back. Se­matary is pur­posely mis­spelt by the house’s pre­vi­ous chil­dren oc­cu­pants, who made the grave­yard. Creepy neigh­bours, de­monic pos­ses­sions and bloody murders lead to a cliffhanger end­ing. The 1992 se­quel, Pet Se­matary II, fol­lows at 5.20pm. (1989)

Pas­sen­gers (Three, 8.30pm). Five thou­sand peo­ple are in an in­duced sleep aboard the space­ship Avalon, set on a 120-year jour­ney to a colony planet. The hi­ber­na­tion pod of Jim (Chris Pratt) mal­func­tions, wak­ing him 90 years too early and leav­ing him iso­lated. Af­ter con­tem­plat­ing sui­cide, Jim de­cides to awaken Aurora (Jen­nifer Lawrence), essen­tially steal­ing her life to keep him com­pany. Pas­sen­gers has re­ceived back­lash from view­ers and crit­ics alike for ro­man­ti­cis­ing a ma­nip­u­la­tive re­la­tion­ship. Too right. (2016)

The Kite Run­ner (Māori TV,

8.30pm). Two young Afghani boys have their close friend­ship sev­ered by the 10-year Sovi­etAfghan war in this adap­ta­tion of the best­selling de­but novel by Afghan-Amer­i­can au­thor Khaled Hos­seini. Later, as adults, one of the pair, Amir (Khalid Ab­dalla), must re­turn to Afghanistan from his home in Cal­i­for­nia to find the or­phaned son of his old friend, who has been mur­dered by the Tal­iban, and bat­tle his child­hood neme­sis. (2007)


Ci­ti­zen­four (Māori TV, 8.30pm). In 2013, cin­e­matog­ra­pher Laura Poitras be­gan re­ceiv­ing en­crypted emails from a se­nior CIA em­ployee. Poitras ( The Oath; My Coun­try, My Coun­try) traces the emails back to whis­tle-blower Ed­ward Snow­den, now in asy­lum in Moscow af­ter leak­ing clas­si­fied NSA data. This Os­car-win­ning doc­u­men­tary has Snow­den speak­ing out for the first time af­ter the leaks, which ex­posed the ex­tent of US and UK gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance of its cit­i­zens as well as spy­ing on at least 122 world lead­ers. (2014)


The Pa­triot (TVNZ Duke, 8.30pm). The di­rec­tor and pro­ducer duo of In­de­pen­dence Day and Godzilla trans­port us to 1776 where Ben­jamin Martin (Mel Gib­son), vet­eran of the French and In­dian War, is now a peace­ful farmer. But af­ter fam­ily tragedy strikes, he must re­nounce his vow of peace to save his fam­ily and lead a mili­tia in the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion. Although slammed by crit­ics for its many his­tor­i­cal in­ac­cu­ra­cies, Ben­jamin’s char­ac­ter is ac­tu­ally an amal­ga­ma­tion of sev­eral real rev­o­lu­tion­ary lead­ers. (2000)


The Ex­cep­tion (Movies Ex­tra,

Sky 031, 8.30pm). Ex­iled Ger­man Kaiser Wil­helm II (played by a be­whiskered Christo­pher Plum­mer) is liv­ing in Nazi-oc­cu­pied Hol­land in 1940. When young Ger­man cap­tain Ste­fan Brandt (Jai Court­ney) is sent to in­ves­ti­gate whether the Dutch re­sis­tance has Bri­tish spies watch­ing the Kaiser, Brandt un­ex­pect­edly be­gins a pas­sion­ate ro­mance with a Jewish maid ( Down­ton Abbey’s Lily James). Af­ter re­al­is­ing he has fallen for a Bri­tish agent, Brandt must choose to be loyal to his coun­try or to fol­low his heart. (2016)


Thor (TVNZ 2, 8.35pm). This fourth foray into the Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse is di­rected by Ken­neth Branagh and fea­tures Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hid­dle­ston, Idris Elba and An­thony Hop­kins as mytho­log­i­cal Norse char­ac­ters. Thor (Hemsworth) is stripped of his ham­mer by his fa­ther, Odin (Hop­kins), for mis­be­hav­ing and ban­ished to Earth. Upon ar­rival he meets love in­ter­est Jane Foster (Natalie Port­man) and dis­cov­ers his trick­ster brother, Loki, (Hid­dle­ston) is try­ing to take over his home, As­gard. Thor must prove him­self wor­thy of re­demp­tion to save the day. (2011)

Films are rated out of 5: (abysmal) to (amaz­ing).

Ever­est, Satur­day.

Pas­sen­gers, Sun­day.

The Florida Project, Satur­day.

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