The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - STEPHEN ROMEI

THE first half of the 1970s pro­duced some of my favourite films in Amer­i­can cin­ema: The God­fa­ther and its first se­quel, The French Con­nec­tion , Dirty Harry , De­liv­er­ance , Ser­pico , Dog Day Af­ter­noon . Lesser known but un­em­bar­rassed in this

The Me­chanic com­pany is ( 11.30pm, Satur­day, Seven), di­rected by English­man Michael Win­ner. It is also one of Charles Bron­son’ s finest, be­fore his orig­i­nal­ity got Death Wish fran­chise. Bron­son iced by the plays an age­ing hit man who spe­cialises in mak­ing as­sas­si­na­tions look like ac­ci­dents. He wants to re­tire and when he meets a cold young man keen to learn the trade ( an ef­fec­tive Jan- Michael Vin­cent), he sees his chance to groom a suc­ces­sor. But it was never go­ing to be that easy. A riv­et­ing film with one

there ’ s of the best open­ing se­quences — a t least 15 min­utes be­fore a word is spo­ken — and an end­ing that will stick in the mind for a

week ’ s long time. This block­buster is Ri­d­ley

Gla­di­a­tor Scott ’ s

( 9.25pm, Satur­day, Ten), for which Rus­sell Crowe claimed the Os­car he should have won for The Out­sider . Crowe is Max­imus, a be­trayed Ro­man gen­eral who must fight for his life as a gla­di­a­tor, sur­viv­ing on his mil­i­tary skill and the slow burn of his ha­tred for the man who un­did him, the young em­peror Com­modus ( Joaquin Phoenix). A su­perb en­ter­tain­ment lifted be­yond that by Crowe ’ s

im­pas­sioned per­for­mance. Aside from th­ese two films, the top picks are on

No Man ’ s Land SBS, headed by ( 12.25am, Mon­day), which won best for­eign film for Bos­nia at the 2002 Os­cars. Set in the for­mer Yu­goslavia in 1993, this con­vinc­ing anti- war film cen­tres on three sol­diers, two Bos­ni­ans and a Serb, trapped in a trench in the no­man’ s-

land be­tween their lines. To make mat­ters worse, one is lay­ing on a live mine. With sub­tlety and hu­mour, di­rec­tor Da­nis Tanovic ex­plores the fu­til­ity of war and the

There ’ s short­com­ings of the UN. not as much

Fly­ing Leath­er­necks re­flec­tion in ( 12.30am, Sun­day, ABC), which is not sur­pris­ing in a McCarthy- era war film di­rected by Ni­cholas

Hughes ’ s Ray for Howard RKO stu­dio. Even so, this story of World War II avi­a­tors is not with­out intelligence, not least be­cause of the ten­sion be­tween the squadron com­man­ders, played by John Wayne and Robert Ryan, which no doubt ex­tended off screen, given their

In the dif­fer­ent pol­i­tics. Back to SBS and Mood for Love

( 10pm, Wed­nes­day) a crit­i­cally lauded love quad­ran­gle from Hong Kong

It’ s di­rec­tor Wong Kar- wai. 1962 in the then Bri­tish colony and two cou­ples move into the same apart­ment block on the same day. It soon be­comes clear that two of the spouses are hav­ing an af­fair. The other two be­come

didn’ t friends as a re­sult. I love this as much as oth­ers did but it is beau­ti­ful to look at, as it un­folds at glacial pace. No such pac­ing

Bring­ing Out Scors­ese ’ s prob­lems in Martin the Dead ,

which Seven has on its HD chan­nel ( 10.30pm, Satur­day). Fol­low­ing 48 hours in the life of a burned- out New York City

it’ s para­medic ( Ni­co­las Cage), over- the- top but

haven’ t Lee’ s still worth the ride. I seen Ang Hulk

( 8.30pm, Sun­day, Ten) but will tune in as I ’ m in­ter­ested

in any­thing its star Eric Bana does, even comic book adap­ta­tions.

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