EVAN WIL­LIAMS

FREE- TO- AIR FILMS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

WHAT does an am­per­sand ( as dis­tinct from the word and) sig­nify in a movie ti­tle? Why do we have Thelma & Louise but not Antony & Cleopa­tra? Does the & sug­gest closer in­ti­macy be­tween the char­ac­ters, a keener sense of cin­e­matic style? I raise this press­ing ques­tion be­cause Kate & Leopold ( Fri­day, 8.30pm, Seven; Syd­ney and Bris­bane) has lit­tle style and no in­ti­macy. This is a time- warp com­edy in which Hugh Jack­man plays a 19th- cen­tury English duke mys­te­ri­ously trans­ported to mod­ern- day New York, where he meets ad­ver­tis­ing ex­ec­u­tive Kate ( Meg Ryan). Leopold seems re­mark­ably un­fazed by his new sur­round­ings, swan­ning about with Wildean epi­grams and lots of gal­lantry. But Ryan isn’t her young, sweet self and doesn’t look mean enough to be a tough exec. The re­sult is limp & soggy & a big dis­ap­point­ment. I’m also sus­pi­cious of films with au­tumn in their ti­tle, even those di­rected by Ing­mar Bergman. You know they will be very, well, au­tum­nal: del­i­cately wispy and cloy­ing. Au­tumn in New York ( Mon­day, mid­day, Nine; Syd­ney, Melbourne and Bris­bane) proves to be thump­ingly wispy and cloy­ing, with Richard Gere’s restau­rant owner fall­ing in the au­tumn of mid­dle age for the dy­ing Wi­nona Ry­der, a 21- year- old fash­ion de­signer. Fort Apache ( Wed­nes­day, 1.20am, ABC) is one for true be­liev­ers, the first of John Ford’s cavalry se­ries, his tril­ogy of west­erns with set­tings and char­ac­ters loosely in­spired by the mas­sacre of Ge­orge Custer’s 7th Cavalry at Lit­tle Big Horn. English film writer David Thom­son is sniffy about Ford in his Bi­o­graph­i­cal Dic­tionary of Film, but I’m here to tell you that John Wayne is mag­nif­i­cent as Cap­tain Kirby York, Henry Fonda has a great part as a dis­graced colonel, the ac­tion scenes and out­door panora­mas are in a class of their own, and there’s even a role for the grown- up Shirley Tem­ple. More cavalry in The Charge of the Light Brigade ( Fri­day, mid­day, Seven), Tony Richard­son’s 1968 re­make of the 1936 film with Er­rol Flynn. As ev­ery film critic and school­child knows, the fa­mous charge, for all its leg­endary hero­ics, was a supreme ex­am­ple of high- minded mil­i­tary id­iocy lead­ing to fear­ful loss of life. At least Richard­son con­veys its es­sen­tially tragic na­ture ( un­like the old movie, which was more rous­ing but his­tor­i­cally fraud­u­lent). Ac­tion films to­day are vastly more so­phis­ti­cated, but I’m al­ways con­fus­ing the ti­tles. While we await the forth­com­ing Harry Pot­ter and the King­dom of

the Crys­tal Skull — or is it In­di­ana Jones and the Tem­ple of the Sorcerer’s Gob­let? — Seven is get­ting back to ba­sics with the orig­i­nal Raiders of the Lost Ark ( Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm). Yes, it’s 27 years old. I must have seen it at least six times and, as 1930s- style ad­ven­ture se­ri­als go, it’s the best: a sprawl­ing, non­stop cliffhanger with as­tound­ing ac­tion se­quences, bril­liant at­mos­phere, Nazi vil­lains, great chase scenes, snake- in­fested cav­erns and a youngish Har­ri­son Ford. I can’t imag­ine that In­di­ana Jones and the King­dom of the Crys­tal Skull will be bet­ter, but we’ll soon know. And a quick re­minder that ABC1 is show­ing the science fiction clas­sic The Day of the Trif­fids at 12.35am on Sun­day night.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.