TV Films

By Sarah Barnett In Uncategorized

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26th November, 2005 Leave a Comment

SATURDAY November 26

Proof of Life, TV2, 8.30pm. Russell Crowe perfected his Serious Face in The Insider, discovered that it worked for him, and has grimly hung onto it ever since. And why not? It can be applied to anything from gladiator to lunatic genius, it seems. In Proof of Life he is a serious hostage negotiator, if you can stump up the cash. Meg Ryan, whose husband David Morse (lamentably underused here) has been snatched somewhere in South America, does not have the cash. Happily, she is so freakin’ cute that Russ comes back to try to save the day, seriously torn over whether he should mack onto his (albeit pro-bono) client. Ryan’s Serious Face is a slightly more nebulous thing, but there are moments when the chemistry between the two almost lives up to the gossip that was flying at the time, and at times the ethical dilemmas get really interesting, if not particularly engrossing. (2000) 6

Dude, Where’s My Car?, TV3, 8.30pm. With so many contenders in the dumb buddy comedy category, and only so much public appetite for it, the men (Bill and Ted, Wayne and Garth) are very quickly sorted from the boys (every-one else, especially Jim Carrey). The premise for this outing was taken from a live action Beavis and Butthead concept that was rejected in the late 90s. Would that it had stayed so. The dudes wake up with no memory of the night before to find their car gone, and so they begin to retrace their steps, discovering stupid tattoos, drugs, Nordic ladies, etc, etc. Despite the exceptionally pretty leads (Sean William Scott, Ashton Kutcher) and all manner of homoerotic subtext, it never flies. Best summed up by a four-word film reviewer ( “Dud. Where’s My Coat?” (2000) 2

SUNDAY November 27

Legally Blonde, TV2, 8.30pm. Reese Witherspoon is a tiny thing, but still bending under the weight of this candyfloss flick. Elle Woods (Witherspoon), campus queen, is expecting a proposal from her boyfriend as the perfect finish to a perfect university career. Instead, he ditches her, because he needs “a Jackie, not a Marilyn”. Smarting, and determined to prove her smarts, she follows the ex to Harvard Law School, which she manages, courtesy of a video application in which she wears a bikini and cites soap opera plots chapter and verse. And somehow Witherspoon carries it – an achievement she wouldn’t repeat in the sequel. Underneath the many messages – not all blondes are dumb, most brunettes are mean, but they come around eventually, even chunky girls deserve love and so on – the movie is based on friendships between women, and Witherspoon is the quintessential sorority girl. (2001) 6

I, Robot, Sky Movies 1, 8.30pm. Thirty years hence, robots have become commonplace; harmless, predictable and endlessly useful, to the point where humans are utterly dependent on them. When the grandaddy of robotics leaps to his death, only intrepid anti-android cop Will Smith suspects something other than suicide, and tails rogue tin man Sonny. Sonny, it seems, has begun dreaming, and we enter the crazy mixed-up world of the robotic psyche – an exploration that is sometimes intriguing and occasionally even challenging, until we stray away from Isaac Asimov’s source material. Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) was brought in late to tailor the script for Smith, apparently, and it would appear that he had a hankering for speed and loud noises that outweighed Asimov’s original thoughtful offering. Still good fun. (2004) 7

WEDNESDAY November 30

Austin Powers in Goldmember, TV2, 8.30pm. The joke was really beginning to pall the third time round, but there’s still quite enough silliness, 70s slang, scatology and genius casting for the audience to coast quite happily to the end of the trilogy. Dr Evil and Mini Me break out of a maximum security jail, team up with the self-explanatory Goldmember and kidnap Austin’s dad Nigel (Michael Caine, the old smoothie). Together with Foxxy Cleopatra (BeyoncĂ© Knowles in her superfly debut), Austin travels back and forth between 1975 and the present in order to foil the kidnapping plot, save the world and make poo jokes. Myers has said he conceived the Austin Powers character in tribute to his British dad, who died in 1991 and had a soft spot for Bond spoofs – and Goldmember is riddled with father-son (non)moments, notably, in a fantastic Dr Evil revelation at the climax. If Goldmember grates with his bizarre pseudo Dutch accent, all is forgiven when his ancestry is revealed as a plot device contrived purely to allow Caine to deliver the movie’s funniest line. (2002) 6

FRIDAY December 2

Contact, Prime, 8.30pm. Based on a novel that Carl Sagan based on an idea he had for a movie, Contact is, apparently, about the meeting of science and faith. Replace faith with cynical sentimentality, and you’re almost there, though where “there” is really is a matter of faith. Jodie Foster, as Ellie Arroway, deciphers a signal from deep space as a set of blueprints for a machine. Taking (on faith) that the mysterious instructions are friendly, or at least benign, she and her fellow scientists build the machine. It doesn’t destroy the world, so that’s lucky. It seems instead to be a transportation device, so Ellie volunteers herself, at which point the movie becomes either a poignant exploration of belief, or a manipulative and maudlin cry-fest. Take your pick. (1997) 4

26th November, 2005 Leave a Comment

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