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Saturday: ‘PU-239’

[IMG:L]PU-239 — 8/7c on HBO

As we all know by now, Saturday night spent in front of the TV is all about the movies.

Tonight, HBO takes a break from premiering blockbusters to debut one of its own: PU-239.

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For those unable to remember back to their high school chemistry days, the symbol “PU” stands for plutonium, and plutonium-239 is partly what nuclear weapons are comprised of.

It’s also the type of factory at which Timofey Berezin (Paddy Considine) works in small-town, post-Soviet Russia. Early on in PU-239, Timofey is exposed to a massive amount of radiation that will kill him in days. But before he can let his wife (Radha Mitchell) and young son find out what has happened, he tries to secure their financial future by stealing some plutonium from his old workplace and selling it in Moscow. (Despite how it may sound, I promise this is not a sci-fi movie!)

PU-239, which until now was only shown at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, marks the directorial debut of Bourne Ultimatum co-writer Scott Z. Burns and was exec-produced by Steven SoderberghGeorge Clooney and Peter Berg, among others.

ALSO…

[IMG:R]Hostel — 9/8c, 11:35/10:35c on TMC
If you’re feeling a little courageous tonight and haven’t eaten a full meal in a couple hours, switch over to TMC for Eli Roth’s bloodbath. Easily the best of the torture-porn sub-genre (sorry, Saw fans), Hostel is also much better than its sequel, recently released on DVD. Because aside from the blood and guts, Roth’s story is actually horrifying, inventive and surprisingly funny. But for the few who haven’t yet seen it, beware: Hostel, unlike its neo-horror brethren, doesn’t let up when it starts to reach disturbing proportions. So snack accordingly!

[IMG:L]Terminator 2: Judgment Day — 8/7c on Encore
Of course, you can always play it totally safe with one of the best sequels of all time. When T2 first hit theaters in 1991, it took the movie biz by storm with James Cameron’s then groundbreaking use of CGI for the special effects. (Not to mention its ridiculous-for-1991 box office take, which now is beaten by several movies each year–thanks, inflation!) Cut to present day, in which CGI is used ad nauseam and ineffectively–meaning Cameron’s collabo with the current California governor still holds up as exciting and fresh. And if you’re looking to piss off those whiny neighbors with a little noise, there’s no better movie for the job.

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