June 9-15: Including The Lovely Bones and Bridesmaids

by Fiona Rae / 09 June, 2012


Enchanted (TV2, 7.30pm). A Disney flick that finds something new to do with a fairy tale princess. Remarkable. The tongue-in-cheek fun doesn’t last the entire distance, but the parody and homage are pretty good for a while, especially when Amy Adams’s Giselle, an animated princess made real in New York, gathers the city’s finest vermin to clean up Patrick Dempsey’s apartment while singing the Happy Working Song. Like Whistle While You Work with rats! The music is by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, who worked on Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. (2007) ***


Wild Hogs (TV2, 9.40pm). Is there a genre description, like chick flick, for the middle-aged guys’ wild weekend movie? The male menopause movie? The beta male flick? Or, for Wild Hogs, the mind-numbingly mediocre men-on-bikes movie? John Travolta, William H Macy, Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence flee their emasculating suburban lives on fancy hogs, get in trouble with a biker gang, get kicked in the crotch, fall over and make gay jokes. So bad, it could make Marlon Brando rebel. (2007) *

The Turn of the Screw (TV1, 10.30pm). A BBC telemovie that was supposed to be a scary Christmas ghost story, but didn’t impress the Independent: “the terrifying indeterminacies of the original had been turned into a slightly shabby ghost-train ride,” said its critic. It seems the literality of television spoils Henry James’s psychological study of a governess, confined to an asylum, who tells a young psychiatrist her story. One point of interest is that Michelle Dockery and Dan Stevens – Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley – play the governess and the doctor. (2009) **1/2


Twilight (TV2, 8.30pm). A phenom is born: the curiously blank Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), sparkly vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob the werewolf (Taylor Lautner) embody Stephanie Meyer’s characters and more, and director Catherine Hardwicke covers the first movie in the franchise in a cloak of teenage longing  and dark green. Boys, and anyone over 14: you just won’t understand. (2008) ***

The Lovely Bones (TV3, 8.30pm). In Alice Sebold’s novel, Susie Salmon served as the authorial voice and the means by which Sebold examined a family in grief and suburban teen life in 1973. In Peter Jackson’s film, Heaven is all too real and the story takes on a thriller edge as Susie’s sister (the lovely Rose McIvor) begins to suspect her neighbour George (Stanley Tucci) is her sister’s killer. Like Spielberg, Jackson can tip into sentimentality, and Bones is a slightly sickly affair, with Susie (Saoirse Ronan) in a luscious CG heaven watching her family’s struggles below. It’s a quiet movie, “undramatic”, said the New Yorker, although Susan Sarandon, as Susie’s vibrant, blowsy grandmother, livens it up. (2009) ***

Bridesmaids (Sky Movies, Sky 020, 8.30pm). It seems to polarise reviewers that a predominately female cast can be just as crude as a predominately male one when it comes to comedy. What, women don’t think farts are funny? We’re expected to laugh at The Hangover II, and then recoil behind scented handkerchiefs when Melissa McCarthy has diarrhoea in a wedding dress? Co-writer and star Kristin Wiig hits a home run with a flick about a woman who is failing at life and is then usurped as her best friend’s bridesmaid by Rose Byrne. It’s an ordinary story, but it’s the performances that count, especially ­those of McCarthy, Byrne and Wiig. (2011) ****

El Violin (Maori, 9.30pm). There’s a violent and disturbing start to this Mexican movie, but it sets the tone for a story about the guerrilla uprisings of the 1970s. In documentary-maker Francisco Vargas’s first feature, an elderly street musician (Angel Tavira) smuggles ammunition in his violin case, but not before he must play for the brutish captain in charge of the army checkpoint. Tavira is majestic; he won Best Male Performance at Cannes in 2007. (2005) ***1/2

Scream 3 (TV2, 11.00pm). A lesser director would have turned this self-referential threequel into a muddled nightmare, but veteran shockmeister Wes Craven keeps a handle on things, even as the story folds in on itself and characters play characters who are other characters. The film centres around the production of Stab 3, a film franchise, and Parker Posey and Matt Keeslar play “Jennifer Jolie and Tom Prinze”, who in turn are playing … well, it’s possibly a spoof too far, although it does take a clever stab (ha ha) at Hollywood. (2000) **1/2


Eagle Eye (TV3, 8.30pm). Although Salon described Eagle Eye as an “ambitious political thriller”, it is, in fact, a completely preposterous actioner that is more video game than movie – all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride and the deus ex machina plot twists. This century’s Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, plays a slacker Chicagoan who works in a copy shop (called Copy Cabana. Nice). When his overachieving twin dies, strange things start happening, and LaBeouf is forced to do every­thing that a mysterious Big Sister, who can control every computer system and mobile phone in the city, tells him. Also being coerced is single mother Michelle ­Monaghan, and the pair must avoid FBI agent Billy Bob Thornton. Lots of stuff gets blown up and people cark it left, right and centre. You want more? How about the animated game to play on your BlackBerry? (2008) ***

Picture Perfect (Four, 9.00pm). Back in 1997, a movie like Picture Perfect seemed like a stepping stone to the brilliant post-Friends career that awaited Jennifer Aniston. It was her first leading movie role, an okay romcom with a couple of good zingers, and she got decent reviews (“She looks good front and centre,” said Rolling Stone). Thirteen years later … sad, really. (1997) **


The Last Boy Scout (TV1, 8.30pm). Tony Scott continues his macho run after the vapid bollocks of Days of Thunder, although this isn’t so much vapid bollocks as just bollocks. Bruce Willis teams up with Damon Wayons to find the murderer of Wayons’s girlfriend (an early role for Halle Berry). Roger Ebert could barely disguise his disgust: “This movie is the future. It assumes the average audience now has no standards except those of the Mob,” he wrote, which, 20 years on, is something to think about. Meanwhile, the Washington Post described it as “the filmic equivalent of a hate crime” and “a cynical piece of nastiness”. It also doesn’t like women very much, and is happy to hold a gun to a 13-year-old’s head. Wow, a trifecta of awfulness. (1991) *

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