FREE- TO- AIR FILMS
IT’S hard to go past My Fair Lady ( Sunday, 1.10pm, Seven). In cinemas it was shown in two parts, with a break before the embassy ball, intermissions being a mark of big- studio pretensions in those days. When George Cukor turned the ball scene into a full- scale suspense sequence, with a speaking part for the sinister Zoltan Karpathy, the whole thing felt a bit unbalanced, showy and overblown, but the movie remains the greatest filmed musical, even with Rex Harrison looking a shade too old as Henry Higgins. Cecil Beaton’s Ascot hats are miracles of gravity- defying opulence and the songs, of course, are luvverly. Having given one of my cautious raves to the new Pixar animated feature WALL- E, I should warn viewers that Cars ( Saturday, 6.30pm, Seven) is probably the weakest thing the studio has done. The idea of a little hot- rod racer venturing into a timewarped 1960s town and discovering life’s simpler pleasures will appeal to sentimentalists, but there’s too much pointless revving and roaring, and the visuals are surprisingly muddied and repetitive. One of the characters in WALL- E is EVE. In Stealth ( Saturday, 9.45pm, Nine, NSW, Queensland only), the main character is EDI, who happens to be a UCAV. In other words, we have an unmanned combat aerial vehicle called Extreme Deep Invader, a US navy plane piloted by a computer. Stealth was the first Hollywood action thriller about the war on terror, and the human cast included Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel. The North Korean sequences were shot in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I’m surprised they’re still standing. If fires and explosions could make a good film, Stealth would be a masterpiece. Fox boasted that for one scene director Rob Cohen detonated Australia’s biggest petrol blast, a fireball visible from space. Fortunately, NASA was tipped off in case anyone retaliated with strikes against New Zealand. In 2006 the Oscar for best foreign film went to Tsotsi ( Sunday, 9.05pm, SBS), written and directed by Gavin Hood from a novel by playwright Athol Fugard. Tsotsi ( Presley Chweneyagae) is a teenage thug living in a South African township on the fringes of Johannesburg. One night he steals a car from a woman in an affluent white suburb and discovers, driving off, a three- month- old baby on the back seat. Restrained by some tender impulse from abandoning the child, he decides to care for it himself, improvising nappies from old newspapers, feeding it condensed milk and carrying it around in a paper shopping bag,
where it obligingly sleeps for most of the film. As Tsotsi’s angry, brutalised nature yields gradually to the presence of the child, only the hardest heart could resist such a story, and you may soon find yourself overlooking its frequent excesses and improbabilities. Crackerjack ( Saturday, 8.30pm, Ten) is an amiable Aussie comedy written by Mick Molloy and his brother Richard. Mick plays a brash scallywag who joins a Melbourne bowling club to gain access to the members’ car park and finds himself roped in at short notice to compete ( hilariously) in a tournament. On the usual assumption that bowls is a sedate and boring game for geriatrics, old- fogy jokes occur frequently. But there’s plenty of good fun.