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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television -

The Tai­lor of Panama (MA 15+) ★★★ ✩ Sun­day, 8.30pm, M Thriller/Crime

Mid­night Run (M) ★★★ ✩ Mon­day, 7.50am, M Ac­tion/Ad­ven­ture

The Good Thief (MA 15+) ★★★ ✩ Sun­day, 12.15am, M Thriller/Crime

IF ever a movie de­served a proper se­quel, it is di­rec­tor Martin Brest’s ac­com­plished 1988 ac­tion com­edy Mid­night Run (Mon­day, 7.50am, M Ac­tion/Ad­ven­ture). Robert De Niro is a tough-as­nails bounty hunter worn down by mo­tor-mouth fugi­tive ac­coun­tant Charles Grodin. The men’s chem­istry is pal­pa­ble: Brest is adept at stag­ing ac­tion — he di­rected Bev­erly Hills Cop, too — and De Niro’s per­for­mance is among the fun­ni­est of his ca­reer to date. I say proper se­quel be­cause three tele­vi­sion se­quels were pro­duced in 1994, but none of the orig­i­nal prin­ci­pals was in­volved.

Some good films just get lost in the shuf­fle, and that seems to have been the case with Neil Jor­dan’s 2002 ca­per movie The Good Thief (Sun­day, 12.15am, M Thriller/Crime). It’s a shrewd re­make of Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1955 French orig­i­nal Bob le flam­beur, and Nick Nolte is at his best as the dis­so­lute thief in­tent on one big fi­nal score. Sim­i­larly adrift in the mists of time is di­rec­tor Ge­orge Cukor’s grace­ful 1972 com­edy from the Gra­ham Greene novel Trav­els with My Aunt (Mon­day, 11.30am, TCM). The mar­vel­lous Alec Mc­Cowen is the Lon­don bank man­ager who falls into the or­bit of ec­cen­tric rel­a­tive Au­gusta Ber­tram (Mag­gie Smith) on a se­ries of out­landish adventures across the con­ti­nent.

Another film far bet­ter than its rep­u­ta­tion and legacy is di­rec­tor John Boor­man’s darkly satir­i­cal 2001 adap­ta­tion of John le Carre’s The Tai­lor of Panama (Sun­day, 8.30pm, M Thriller/Crime). Ge­of­frey Rush plays the ti­tle char­ac­ter, whose per­pet­ual money prob­lems prompt him to ex­ag­ger­ate the in­tel­li­gence he has been hired to feed to re­as­signed spy Pierce Bros­nan. Le Carre col­lab­o­rated on the snappy script.

In­flu­enced by di­rec­tor Robert Ze­meckis’s fas­ci­na­tion with cut­ting-edge spe­cial ef­fects and the TV horror an­thol­ogy on which he was work­ing at the time, the black com­edy Death Be­comes Her (Mon­day, 11.35pm, M Com­edy) is a glee­fully grisly fa­ble of jeal­ousy gone awry. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn are the oil-and-wa­ter friends, bick­er­ing over Bruce Wil­lis, who dis­cover an im­mor­tal­ity po­tion and take it be­fore they start killing’’ each other in in­creas­ingly messy ways.

Go­ing by the long wide shots in Jackie Chan’s Rum­ble in the Bronx (Mon­day, 6.10am, M Ac­tion/ Ad­ven­ture), there’s a snow-capped moun­tain range just out­side New York City. The film was shot in Van­cou­ver, but this lax at­ten­tion to de­tail is typ­i­cal of the film’s half-hearted sto­ry­telling, which finds Hong Kong cop Chan in­volved with seed­ier el­e­ments in the faux Big Ap­ple.

Mid­night Run

Charles Grodin, right, and Robert De Niro, sec­ond from right, in

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