FREE- TO- AIR FILMS
ANOTHER run for that venerable cult classic The Gods Must Be Crazy ( Sunday, 11.30am, Seven), and the gods at Seven would be crazy if they didn’t relish another chance to show it.
This quirky, one- off charmer from South Africa, a throwback to the days of slapstick silent comedy, looks at first like a documentary about the Kalahari bushmen.
We meet Xixo, a respected tribesman whose people live simply and spurn material possessions. Then a light plane drops a Coke bottle into their midst and the rush to exploit its potential uses and supposed powers leads to much comic mayhem and misunderstanding.
Modern tastes may find the comedy a trifle patronising ( it was released in 1981, directed by Jamie Uys, when apartheid was still the rule in South Africa), but the old- fashioned sight gags haven’t palled.
Quirkiness seems to be everywhere this week. In Tony McNamara’s Australian comedy The Rage in Placid Lake ( Saturday, 9.30pm, SBS), Placid Lake is a mixed- up 17- year- old youth, barely out of school. He is so called because his parents, Doug and Sylvia Lake, liberated, spaced- out, free- thinking swingers from the baby- booming ’ 60s, are determined to rear him as a sensitive, peace- loving softie. Pop singer Ben Lee is spot on as Placid: he has a mild, sweetly mournful face that suggests querulous good humour.
This is an adaptation of McNamara’s play The Cafe Latte Kid , and there are some good laughs. But the film goes for too many targets: middle- class values, big business, corporate ambition, parental irresponsibility, selfishness and greed.
William Zappa, as a hard- headed chief executive, offers the film’s main text: ‘‘ We ask for your loyalty, your heart, your mind, your soul — and in exchange you’ll get saloon cars and a big house.’’ It’s a world that Placid rejects, but he’s too silly to evoke much sympathy.
The quirkiness is a lot more violent in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 2 ( Saturday, 10pm, Seven). Uma Thurman returns as the blood- spattered Bride seeking revenge for the massacre on her wedding day. In the process she is buried alive by a liquor- sozzled maniac ( Michael Madsen), but with one bound ( and after a little transcendental meditation) is free to pursue her nemesis to a bloody showdown.
There are homages by Tarantino to just about everyone except Rodgers and Hammerstein, with prominent references to noir thrillers, spaghetti westerns and ’ 70s
martial arts movies, not to mention Tarantino’s own pretentiousness and self- obsession.
In Garden State ( Sunday 10.30pm, Seven), first- time director Zack Braff plays a mixed- up Jewish lad who has achieved precocious fame as a Hollywood star and returns home to his estranged family for his mother’s funeral. His father ( Ian Holm) is less than delighted to see him, and relatives and friends treat him with mild disdain. Then he meets the spry, impish Sam ( Natalie Portman) and we are launched into a comedy of considerable charm and sophistication. Braff’s direction is a model of poise and restraint, and the humour is so delicate that we are scarcely aware of it until afterwards. The ending is rich and exhilarating.