WEEK IN MOVIES
SUNDAY WE BOUGHT A ZOO 8.30PM, TEN ★★★
What you see in the title is all you will get from this soft-hearted, yet level-headed family movie. If you and the kids loved making puppy eyes at Marley & Me, the creaturely comforts captured here will definitely deliver. Matt Damon (pictured) stars as a thrill-seeking single dad who impulsively acquires a “renovator’s dream” of a rural zoo. Helping in the fun menagerie makeover that follows are the incumbent lowly paid staff, led by allround handywoman Kelly (Scarlett Johansson). Co-stars Colin Ford and Maggie Elizabeth Jones.
MONDAY MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 8.30PM, NINE ★★★★
Tom Cruise’s squinty lead performance in this blockbuster remake of the ’60s TV series is an acquired taste. But as over-the-top escapism, it really cooks. The hi-tech garnish is slapped on everything, from the bluster and bravado of the opening credits to the slick secret-agent gadgetry. Watch for the great scene in which Cruise penetrates a high-security vault with nothing but a rope and an acute sense of balance. Co-stars Emmanuelle Beart, Jean Reno, Jon Voight and Ving Rhames.
TUESDAY TROPIC THUNDER 8.30PM, ELEVEN ★★
While shooting a blockbuster war film in Vietnam, a cast of egocentric actors gets engaged in a battle with local drug lords. The performers think it’s all part of a show being filmed with secret cameras, which only further enrages the enemy. Despite an all-star cast of funnymen – Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr – this highconcept, low-impact farce doesn’t quite stir up a perfect storm of mirth. Good enough.
WEDNESDAY LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER 8.30PM, ONE ★★★
Angelina Jolie is so perfectly cast as the ultimate digital damsel of distress it is almost possible to forget this movie is based on a video game. Jolie’s authoritative handling of fight scenes and some deeper, darker moments cover ably for the rest of the film, which often feels like an Indiana Jones flick with a groovier soundtrack. Co-stars Noah Taylor and Iain Glen.
THURSDAY DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS 8.30PM, 9GO! ★★
The opening credits say the film was “inspired by” the 1998 hit French comedy The Dinner Game. But if you’re looking to find any inspiration, you’d better bring along a powerful telescope or a wild imagination. Paul Rudd plays an executive invited to a dinner where guests are asked to bring along the biggest idiot they know. Steve Carell’s kitsch artist – a man who crafts his works from dead mice – fits the bill. There are a few snack-sized bites of snappy surrealism, but too many bland ingredients make for an insubstantial movie meal.
FRIDAY A MOST WANTED MAN 8.30PM, GEM ★★★
The leading-role swan song of Philip Seymour Hoffman captures the late, great actor at the peak of his powers. He plays Gunther, a German surveillance analyst tracking the suspicious movements of a Russian immigrant. Who better to portray a man forever boxing at shadows? Particularly one who knows he’ll never land a knockout blow, yet keeps swinging.
SATURDAY ELF 7PM, NINE ★★★
A Christmas film with a big heart and big laughs to match. Will Ferrell delivers the goods as one of Santa’s not-so-little helpers, forced to abandon the North Pole to find his real father (James Caan) on the mean streets of New York. Great fun for the family.