The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - EVAN WIL­LIAMS

THE in­ter­est­ing one this week isn’t very good, but check out On Deadly Ground ( Tues­day, mid­night, Nine). In some ways it an­tic­i­pated Al Gore’s An In­con­ve­nient Truth, end­ing with a five- minute lec­ture from the di­rec­tor Steven Sea­gal ( cut from 15 min­utes in the orig­i­nal) about the dan­gers of eco­log­i­cal dam­age. Sea­gal, a com­mit­ted en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist, blamed big busi­ness for a threat to hu­man­ity from in­dus­trial pol­lu­tion. ( Those were the days be­fore cli­mate change be­came the en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist’s prime con­cern.)

Sea­gal’s vil­lain was Michael Caine. Hol­ly­wood had al­ways loved cast­ing smoothtalk­ing English ac­tors in ne­far­i­ous roles ( James Ma­son, Alan Rick­man, et al), and Caine plays a ruth­less ty­coon des­per­ate to plun­der the oil re­serves on Inuit land in the Arc­tic. A con­spir­acy drama with promis­ing moral im­pli­ca­tions be­comes a fairly con­ven­tional ac­tion thriller. And for Caine the film was a dis­as­ter. Ac­cord­ing to his bi­og­ra­pher Christo­pher Bray, Caine vowed never to work with Sea­gal again and in­sisted that he was never cut out to play bad guys any­way. In Blown Away ( Satur­day, 11.10pm, Seven), Jeff Bridges stars as a bomb dis­posal ex­pert in Bos­ton, which is be­ing ter­rorised by a mad bomber in the di­a­bol­i­cal per­son of Tommy Lee Jones, a loony from the IRA. Th­ese days the plot would have more top­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions, but do­mes­tic ter­ror­ist thrillers are one genre the stu­dios now pre­fer to avoid. Bridges must have liked them be­cause he went on to play the hero in Ar­ling­ton Road, a not dis­sim­i­lar story about a ter­ror­ist bomber, and a bet­ter film than this one.

Two this week for Steve Martin fans. Fa­ther of the Bride Part 2 ( Fri­day, 8.30pm, Seven) takes up the story of Martin’s anx­ious, over­pro­tec­tive dad af­ter the wed­ding of his daugh­ter. If the source of the first film was the old Spencer Tracy com­edy, the in­spi­ra­tion this time was the Tracy se­quel, Fa­ther’s Lit­tle Div­i­dend ( 1951). The whole thing is like a feel­good com­mer­cial for happy Amer­i­can fam­i­lies, cul­mi­nat­ing in mul­ti­ple births af­ter Martin’s wife ( Diane Keaton) gets preg­nant at the same time as their daugh­ter ( Kim­berly Wil­liams). Kids and grand­kids ev­ery­where. In Hous­eSit­ter ( Sun­day, 1pm, Ten), Martin plays a rather stuffy ar­chi­tect whose one- night stand with wacky wait­ress Goldie Hawn leads to her mov­ing into his house and tak­ing over his life. Hawn emerges as the film’s real star,

a fun­nier char­ac­ter than Martin in Mark Stein’s screen­play. Af­ter her smash­ing suc­cess with The Pi­ano in Cannes, Jane Cam­pion di­rected an un­even film of Henry James’s The Por­trait of a Lady and fol­lowed with this ex­cel­lent jeu d’esprit, Holy Smoke ( Mon­day, mid­day, Nine).

It’s the story of the beau­ti­ful and slightly ec­cen­tric Ruth ( Kate Winslet), a girl from sub­ur­ban Syd­ney whose life is changed when she meets a guru while back­pack­ing in In­dia. Her fam­ily hire a spir­i­tual coun­sel­lor ( Har­vey Kei­tel) to dis­suade her from be­com­ing an­other of the guru’s sev­eral wives.

The film is am­bi­tious, un­com­pro­mis­ing, crammed with big ideas, boldly ex­e­cuted and beau­ti­fully acted.

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