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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Evan Wil­liams

IN the year 2110, a gi­ant cor­po­ra­tion, Buy n Large, hav­ing colonised the world’s re­tail mar­kets and buried the land­scape in junk, has led a mass ex­o­dus from the planet. Mil­lions of earth­lings now live in an or­bit­ing space re­sort, while back on Earth a plucky lit­tle ro­bot called Wall.E — Waste Al­lo­ca­tion Load Lifter Earth­class — has been work­ing alone for 700 years, clean­ing up the rub­bish left by prof­li­gate hu­mans. Wall.E (Sun­day, 6.30pm, 7Mate) is like no other an­i­mated film I have seen, an eerily beau­ti­ful fa­ble from the Dis­ney-Pixar peo­ple. It taps into a host of pre­vail­ing fears: en­vi­ron­men­tal disas­ter, ram­pant con­sump­tion, a sense of fu­til­ity and loss even in the midst of plenty. Con­ser­va­tive voices in the US branded it left-wing pro­pa­ganda. But its themes of cos­mic lone­li­ness and vul­ner­a­bil­ity have been ex­plored be­fore in science-fic­tion classics. Writer-di­rec­tor An­drew Stan­ton’s achieve­ment has been to weld the con­ven­tions of an­i­mated sto­ry­telling to ideas of great dar­ing and some im­por­tance. The re­sult is a rich and provoca­tive work of art that also man­ages to be fun.

With his air of sleazy in­tel­li­gence, Ni­co­las Cage is a nat­u­ral in ob­ses­sive and delu­sional roles. David Lynch once called him the jazz mu­si­cian of ac­tors. In Match­stick Men (Satur­day, 11.30pm, Nine) he plays a con­man, Roy, who works with his part­ner Frank (Sam Rock­well) to bring off small-time swin­dles — trick­ing gullible house­wives out of a lit­tle cash, some­times aim­ing for big­ger pick­ings, but play­ing it safe. His fatherly in­stincts are awak­ened when he meets 14-year-old An­gela (Ali­son Lohman), who is equally pleased to be re­united with her long-lost dad. How much does she know about Roy’s real ac­tiv­i­ties? There’s a bit­ter lit­tle se­quence when he in­structs her in the ways of swin­dling and pulls off a scam with her col­lab­o­ra­tion. But when Roy sets his sights on a for­eign cur­rency swin­dle, he finds him­self in­volved in the big­gest scam of his ca­reer. The in­tri­cate and beau­ti­fully tai­lored screen­play never signals its punches or labours its points.

I was never as keen on Arthur (Satur­day, 1pm, Nine) as some peo­ple, de­spite Dud­ley Moore’s charis­matic turn as a dis­so­lute play­boy and John Giel­gud’s Os­car-win­ning per­for­mance as a su­per­cil­ious but­ler. In the fum­bling lover depart­ment, give me Woody Allen’s An­nie Hall (Sun­day, 12.55am, ABC1), made in 1977 when Diane Keaton was as big a star as Cate Blanchett is to­day. Keaton’s An­nie is an as­pir­ing singer who wins the heart of Woody’s neu­rotic and in­se­cure Alvy Singer, a typ­i­cal Allen cre­ation loosely based on his own ex­pe­ri­ences. The film is crammed with trade­mark Allen touches: abun­dant one-lin­ers, lovely New York lo­ca­tions, child­hood flash­backs and plenty of asides to cam­era. This charm­ing por­trait of a hope­less love af­fair is as fresh and funny as ever.

(G) ★★★★✩ Sun­day, 6.30pm, 7Mate

(M) ★★★★✩ Sun­day, 12.55am, ABC1

(M) ★★★ Satur­day, 11.30pm, Nine

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