ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY
Animal Kingdom ★★★★★
Set the machine to record this brooding Melbourne-set crime saga,which cleaned up at the 2010 Australian Film Institute awards. A calling card for first-time writer/director David Michod, it depicts the Cody family – grandma, three sons, a surrogate son, a grandson – small-time crooks rather than full-blown monsters, except for “Pope” (the inscrutable Ben Mendelsohn), who is capable of anything, while middle brother Craig (Sullivan Stapleton, in Russell Crowe mode) is a loudmouth thug. The atmosphere is hot and dry, as per the setting: people wear vests and shorts, doors and windows are left open. But no cool breeze will prevent the pressure cooker going off when a cop is killed. Guy Pearce plays the detective on the Cody clan’s trail, but newcomer James Frecheville is the focus of the family’s moral dilemma as the conflicted grandson. There’s even a link with the Aussie new wave of the 70s via Oscar-nominated Jacki Weaver, who was in Picnic at Hanging Rock.
How the West Was Won ★★★★
Kind of does what it says on the tin. James Stewart, Gregory Peck and John Wayne (of course) star in master director John Ford’s epic tale that takes in the building of railroads, the American Civil War and battles with native Americans.
PREMIERE 9.00-11.25pm C5
Will people never learn? You don’t cross Jason Statham. Here he stars as a thief who is betrayed and left for dead by former cohorts, so he’s miffed and out for revenge. Jenny from the block provides suitable eye candy as Stath is knocking blocks off.
Bugsy Malone ★★★★
11.00am-1.00pm Film Four
It could have been so wrong, but Alan Parker got everything right about this sublime musical, in which a cast of kids play wise-talking Prohibition-era gangsters, floosies and wannabes.
Wes Craven resurrected the teen slasher flick in 1996 with this knowing yet surprise-filled story of a bloodthirsty maniac who resents the fading popularity of horror movies.
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