The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

TALES of peo­ple who pick up an item for a few bucks at a garage sale that turns out to be not only of huge sig­nif­i­cance but also worth a for­tune are com­pelling be­cause they could hap­pen to any of us. Take Teri Hor­ton, the 73- year- old car­a­van parkd­welling truck driver who pur­chased a large paint­ing at an op shop for $ US5. A lo­cal art teacher said it looked like a Jack­son Pol­lock ( the ti­tle comes from her re­ac­tion) and a quest was born. The art world re­acted to her with hos­tile dis­be­lief, so a foren­sic ex­pert was brought in to au­then­ti­cate it. It’s a great story and it’s well told here, clearly map­ping out the he­roes ( Hor­ton) and the vil­lains ( art ex­perts). The snob­bery of the art world is hardly en­dear­ing. Thomas Hov­ing may be right that it isn’t a Pol­lock, but he could have put forth a more con­vinc­ing ar­gu­ment than ‘‘ be­cause I am a ( smug, self- sat­is­fied) ex­pert’’. Maybe that’s a de­lib­er­ate choice by the mak­ers to fit the story- line. Other ex­perts fea­tured less promi­nently make more rea­soned points. Watch­ing th­ese mo­ments, you can’t help but wish there was slightly more rigour to this doc­u­men­tary’s method­ol­ogy. How much does Hor­ton’s story in­flu­ence var­i­ous ex­perts and should the ex­perts on both sides have gone in blind? It also clear we’re sup­posed to ad­mire Hor­ton’s earthy stub­born­ness, but it’s like in­vok­ing the ar­gu­ment that no one be­lieved Galileo when he said the Earth re­volved around the sun. But even with a healthy sense of scep­ti­cism for both sides of the de­bate, it’s a tale worth watch­ing, rais­ing ques­tions about how we val­i­date art.


Who the #$&% is Jack­son Pol­lock? ( M) Road­show ( 74 min­utes) $ 39.95

Ker­rie Mur­phy WHEN Faces in the Mob was first re­leased in 1992, it was im­me­di­ately recog­nised as a land­mark piece of nat­u­ral his­tory doc­u­men­tary- mak­ing and no end of peo­ple queued up to del­uge it with awards, not least an Emmy. It has taken 15 years for it to emerge on DVD on ABC shop shelves af­ter a long in­car­na­tion on tape, but it has cel­lared well and this glimpse into the lives of a mob of east­ern grey kan­ga­roos looks as rav­ish­ing as it did back then. Film­mak­ers Jan Alden­hoven and Glen Car­ruthers spent two years around the roos in a val­ley ( pru­dently left un­named) some­where in east­ern Aus­tralia, fol­low­ing them through their cy­cles of birth, ed­u­ca­tion, courtship, breed­ing and death. The re­sult is a reve­la­tion for the vast bulk of us who had no idea how pow­er­ful mother- joey bonds are or how com­plex mob life can be, es­pe­cially for the dom­i­nant male who not only has to keep see­ing off ri­vals but also has to keep tabs on his harem, rou­tinely tast­ing their urine to see if they’re in heat. All the roos are given names ( Sun­shade, Jaffa, Ur­sid and so on). This may seem a touch an­thro­po­mor­phic but it’s just a prac­ti­cal way of keep­ing tabs on the in­di­vid­u­als as they pass through their tri­als by fire, gale and dingo. There’s no mu­sic to cloy Alden­hoven’s crisply mea­sured nar­ra­tion and the sound­track is pro­vided by the roos — mainly rit­ual cough­ing and grunt­ing among the males — and the birds.

James Jef­frey


Kan­ga­roos: Faces in the Mob ( G) Green Cape Wildlife Films ( 59 min­utes) $ 29.95

HOW much en­joy­ment can you rea­son­ably ex­pect from the third part in a movie fran­chise? All of the good ideas get used up in the first two films so, un­less the mak­ers are aton­ing for a par­tic­u­larly abom­inable part two ( cough, Ocean’s Twelve ), the best you can re­ally ex­pect is for it not to suck. By that mea­sure, Shrek the Third de­liv­ers, but it en­ter­tains spo­rad­i­cally and drags in be­tween as too many un­der­done sto­ry­lines com­pete to be­come a plot. Shrek’s fa­ther- in- law dies, leav­ing Shrek ( Mike My­ers) a re­luc­tant heir to the throne un­less he can per­suade dis­tant rel­a­tive Arthur ( Justin Tim­ber­lake) to ac­cept the crown. Im­pend­ing fa­ther­hood also daunts Shrek. And Prince Charm­ing ( Ru­pert Everett) har­nesses the might of fairy­tale vil­lains such as Cap­tain Hook to usurp the throne. Shrek’s wife, Fiona ( Cameron Diaz), mean­while, has to teach Snow White, Sleep­ing Beauty and Cin­derella em­pow­er­ment. The last two sto­ries par­tic­u­larly feel un­der- ex­plored. The other prob­lem is Shrek. He’s cranky, self­ish and stub­born, which are ex­cel­lent qual­i­ties in an ogre, but af­ter three films, each un­do­ing the char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment of the pre­vi­ous one, you can’t help but wish he’d stop be­ing such a sook. There are some good belly laughs, and things such as the me­dieval takes on mod­ern life and the side­kicks are fun, as al­ways, es­pe­cially the hi­lar­i­ous Puss in Boots ( An­to­nio Ban­deras). Still, you can’t help but wish the mak­ers had spent less time on that mer­chan­dis­ing blitz and cre­at­ing con­vinc­ing com­put­er­gen­er­ated hair, and more on the story.

Ker­rie Mur­phy

EX­TRAS: Fea­turettes; games

Shrek the Third ( PG) Paramount ( fea­ture runs 89 min­utes) $ 39.95

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