WEEK IN MOVIES

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - News - WITH LEIGH PAATSCH

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.

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