FREE- TO- AIR FILMS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - EVAN WIL­LIAMS

SEVEN’S fes­ti­val of in­ap­pro­pri­ate in- flight movies kicks off this Sun­day with Red Eye ( 8.30pm), con­tin­ues with Con Air ( 10.15pm) and ends, for those with the strong­est stom­achs, with Tur­bu­lence II: Fear of Fly­ing ( 12.30am). Of course a bumpy flight isn’t scary enough th­ese days with­out a ter­ror­ist threat thrown in, and Red Eye has it all. Lisa ( Rachel McA­dams) hates fly­ing and dis­cov­ers that the creepy pas­sen­ger in the seat be­side her ( Cil­lian Mur­phy) is plan­ning to kill the deputy di­rec­tor of home­land se­cu­rity. If Lisa re­fuses to co- op­er­ate, her fa­ther will be killed by an as­sas­sin. This su­perb piece of hokum, di­rected by shock spe­cial­ist Wes Craven, was ar­guably the best Hol­ly­wood thriller of 2005, mak­ing Con Air ( in which a dozen jail­birds hi­jack a trans­port plane) and Tur­bu­lence II ( an­other hi­jack­ing) look like the mind­less, hy­per­ki­netic ac­tion flicks I al­ways thought they were. I’d hap­pily swap the lot for The Wizard of Oz ( Satur­day, 7.30pm, Nine), which be­gins with Dorothy’s tur­bu­lent flight from Kansas. Is there any­thing more to be said about this loveli­est of fan­tasies? Whole li­braries of Oz trivia have been writ­ten. Who re­mem­bers that Judy Gar­land’s part al­most went to Shirley Tem­ple and that the part of the Wizard was orig­i­nally slated for W. C. Fields? It’s said that a fe­male Munchkin can be heard shout­ing ‘‘ Judy’’ in­stead of ‘‘ Dorothy’’ af­ter the first exit of the Wicked Witch of the West ( Mar­garet Hamil­ton). Yes, we’ll just have to watch it again. Oth­er­wise it’s The Golden Child ( Sun­day, 3.15pm, Ten), with Ed­die Mur­phy as an LA so­cial worker who spe­cialises in find­ing lost chil­dren. Mur­phy has to trace a miss­ing boy mis­taken by cer­tain wise Ori­en­tal per­sons as their Cho­sen One, re­quir­ing him to cut down on his usual quota of dirty wisecracks. This was one of the first Hol­ly­wood films af­ter Big Trou­ble in Lit­tle China to go in for East­ern mar­tial arts rou­tines and is there­fore to be re­gret­ted. And speak­ing of firsts, David and Lisa ( Tues­day, noon, Seven) was one of the first Hol­ly­wood films to ex­plore the ro­man­tic pos­si­bil­i­ties of men­tal ill­ness. Frank Perry’s low- bud­get love story has be­come a mi­nor clas­sic, with Keir Dul­lea play­ing a bright young man who can­not bear to be touched, and Janet Mar­golin the fel­low pa­tient he meets while un­der­go­ing treat­ment. I thought of this del­i­cate and poignant film years later while watch­ing Michael Rymer’s An­gel Baby, one of the great Aus­tralian films of the 1990s. The Rid­dle of the Sands ( Thurs­day, 12.30am, ABC) should have been one of the great Bri­tish films of the ’ 70s, but alas, no. Based on Ersk­ine Childers’s fa­mous ad­ven­ture novel about two

ec­cen­tric English­men who dis­cover a Ger­man plot to in­vade Bri­tain’s coast­line ( in 1903!), the re­sult is slow, man­nered and much too pretty. The ABC also has No­body Runs For­ever ( Mon­day 12.20am), which I think was shown here as The High Com­mis­sioner , the ti­tle of Jon Cleary’s novel. Rod Tay­lor is an Aussie cop in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mur­der of the wife of the Aus­tralian high com­mis­sioner in Lon­don ( who must, of course, be name­less). Ex­cel­lent cast, dumb movie. And avoid Shall We Dance ( Fri­day, 8.30pm, Seven), in which Richard Gere’s jaded Chicago lawyer finds a new zest for life in ball­room danc­ing, a re­make of a much su­pe­rior Ja­panese film di­rected by Masayuki Suo, which SBS should screen as soon as pos­si­ble.

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