Pick of the week

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

The Face Aus­tralia

Tues­day, 9pm, Fox 8 I con­fess I have avoided watch­ing all the re­al­ity shows cur­rently on TV. But dur­ing this pe­riod of de­lib­er­ate ne­glect, the genre seems to have taken on the prop­er­ties of a su­per­bug, while my bi­o­log­i­cal de­fences have with­ered. It’s a long way of say­ing: I to­tally love this show. The first thing to know is that it’s all about Naomi Camp­bell. She has al­ready hosted ver­sions in the US and Bri­tain and her rep­u­ta­tion for com­bat­ive­ness makes for great drama. Aus­tralian mod­els Ni­cole Trun­fio and Cheyenne Tozzi join her as judges, and fol­low­ing the for­mat of The Voice, they

The Walk­ing Dead

Mon­day, 8.30pm, FX In­dia’s revered fa­ther-fig­ure, played with full-on saintly rev­er­ence by Ben Kings­ley. The film may be a lit­tle too cloy­ing at times, but the great events of the time are su­perbly achieved in this mon­u­men­tal and mov­ing biopic.

Cate Blanchett was such a stand­out win­ner for Blue Jas­mine that we for­get how good the film was — typ­i­cally funny, in­sight­ful and sad, one of Woody Allen’s best. It came a year af­ter Woody’s

(Satur­day, 12.05pm, Mas­ter­piece), which might be called an old man’s med­i­ta­tion on mor­tal­ity, a hymn to the lost pos­si­bil­i­ties of youth.

Allen has a small part as Jerry, a re­tired New York opera pro­ducer who har­bours vague dreams of a late-life come­back. There are 13 ma­jor char­ac­ters, and none of their sto­ries amounts to much on its own, but each has a lovely comic twist and the film is made with such skill that ev­ery­thing flows eas­ily. And what a cast! — Judy Davis, Alec Bald­win, Jesse Eisen­berg, Pene­lope Cruz, An­to­nio Al­banese.

For an­other look at the eter­nal city, there’s Wil­liam Wyler’s (Mon­day,

To Rome With Love

cream, and en­joy the show. Co­me­dian Neil De­lamere trav­els the length and breadth of Ire­land to quiz ex­perts, his­to­ri­ans and rev­ellers about the real story of the coun­try’s pa­tron saint. Spoiler alert: St Patrick may have been Welsh. It is re­mark­able for a tele­vi­sion show to com­mand our pa­tience in the way The Walk­ing Dead has done for so long. Con­sider: ever since the zom­bie apoca­lypse be­gan, the group of sur­vivors led by Rick Grimes (Bri­tish ac­tor Andrew Lin­coln) has searched for a sanc­tu­ary. They’ve left be­hind their orig­i­nal en­camp­ment, fled Her­shel’s farm­house when it was over­run, and half­way through this sea­son were blasted out of their prison home by a man in a tank. The group is dis­persed into twos and threes, on the run, and go­ing from house to house look­ing for food. It’s al­most ex­actly how the se­ries be­gan. The hope­less­ness of it might all seem too much, ex­cept for the Ter­mi­nus. Signs that say “Sanc­tu­ary for all. Com­mu­nity for all. Those that

Ro­man Hol­i­day

com­pete against each other for mod­els to join their teams. Naomi quickly de­cides to take Ni­cole down a peg (she doesn’t know whether to be flat­tered or put out). As we know, only three things count in mak­ing a re­al­ity TV show: cast­ing, cast­ing and cast­ing, and here it’s done very well. There is Su­san from South Sudan, who tugs the heart strings with her naivety. On the other end of the scale, blonde Brit­taney (of course) de­clares: “I have re­ceived sig­nals from the uni­verse that I am go­ing to win.” There is quite a lot of pout­ing, preen­ing, and scream­ing. The prod­uct place­ment is no more or less than we ex­pect these days. About 10 years ago, Camp­bell wore a T-shirt that had “Naomi hit me” on the front, “and I loved it” on the back. Bad taste, maybe, but I un­der­stand the sen­ti­ment. ar­rive, sur­vive” are ap­pear­ing with greater fre­quency, with maps point­ing to the Ter­mi­nus. Poor prose, per­haps. But, in­ter­est­ingly, Ter­mi­nus was the orig­i­nal name for At­lanta, Ge­or­gia, when the south­ern city was merely the end of the rail­way line. What will our sur­vivors find when they get there? Who is in charge of it? And will it prove the haven they hope for, or just an­other mi­rage?

Ken­tucky Bid­ders

Tues­day, 8pm, A&E If you are sad that the very best Ken­tucky-based tele­vi­sion show (that would be Jus­ti­fied, I’m sure you’re aware) fin­ished last week, fill the hole in your tele­vi­sion diet with some Hick-sploita­tion. This se­ries pre­mieres on Tues­day and fea­tures a fa­mil­iar premise: a fam­ily-owned busi­ness that buys and sells rare and some­times out­ra­geous items. In the episode screen­ing this week, “Big” Sam­mie and “Lit­tle” Sam­mie ar­gue over the auc­tion house’s an­ti­quated sound sys­tem, and a bid­ding war over a vin­tage toy has an ex­plo­sive out­come. Just un­til Jus­ti­fied comes back on. Hope­fully you didn’t miss Michael Bodey’s in­ter­view with Jimmy Fal­lon in these pages last week (sub­scribers can still check it out on­line). The suc­ces­sor to the throne of Johnny Carson and Jay Leno said: “This is a priv­i­lege... but even if it wasn’t me, I would be ex­cited (about the new host of The Tonight Show) be­cause I’m a fan of tele­vi­sion and a fan of pop cul­ture. I re­ally am, I’m ob­sessed by it.” And, as it turns out, Amer­i­cans are ob­sessed but him. Fal­lon is smash­ing the rat­ings, eas­ily eclips­ing David Let­ter­man and Jimmy Kim­mel. You have to go back to Carson’s last week in 1992 to find so many people watch­ing a late-night show. He has had a starstud­ded cast of guests, in­clud­ing Michelle Obama and Toronto mayor Rob Ford (best known for a video of him smok­ing crack). It was re­cently re­ported that NBC has stip­u­lated they must agree not to do talk shows on CBS, ABC or even day­time shows. Nonethe­less, Fal­lon has cap­tured the zeit­geist. You heard it here first.

Masterchef: The Pro­fes­sion­als

Week­nights, 9.30pm, Life­Style Food Can you be­lieve that the orig­i­nal Masterchef pre­miered in Bri­tain al­most 24 years ago? Sea­son six of Masterchef: The Pro­fes­sion­als pre­mieres this week. Many swear by the Bri­tish orig­i­nal over the lo­cal ver­sion, hosted by dou­ble Miche­lin­starred chef Michel Roux Jr and Gregg Wal­lace. If you are a fan of Roux Jr in par­tic­u­lar, now is your last chance as he re­cently an­nounced his de­par­ture from the show be­cause of a “con­flict in commercial in­ter­ests”. In the past, the show’s cre­ator Franc Rod­dam said: “We would never crit­i­cise the people, we would only crit­i­cise the food,” say­ing that re­al­ity TV had turned into ”hu­mil­i­a­tion and degra­da­tion”. He did say, though, that the Aus­tralian ver­sion of MasterChef was “the best thing in the world”.

Steal a Mil­lion

A Pas­sage to In­dia

Wit­ness

Lyn­dall Crisp will re­turn next week.

March 15-16, 2014 8.35pm, Fox Clas­sics), an ab­so­lute charmer, for which Au­drey Hep­burn won a best ac­tress Os­car in 1953.

She plays a Euro­pean princess who wan­ders incog­nito one night through the streets of Rome and meets, of all people, Gre­gory Peck, a news­pa­per­man. Hep­burn went on to star in an­other Wyler film, the art heist com­edy

(Mon­day, 8.30pm, Mas­ter­piece), with Peter O’Toole.

And brief men­tions for other choice of­fer­ings this week: Kathryn Bigelow’s (Sun­day, 8.30pm, Pre­miere), a doc­u­men­tarystyle thriller about the search for Osama bin Laden; (Wed­nes­day, 8.35pm, Fox Clas­sics), David Lean’s fine adap­ta­tion of EM Forster’s novel, with Judy Davis; and (Tues­day, 8.35pm, Fox Clas­sics), Peter Weir’s first Hol­ly­wood film, a bril­liant thriller about a small boy who wit­nesses a mur­der.

The ru­ral set­tings, in­clud­ing scenes in an Amish com­mu­nity in Penn­syl­va­nia, are beau­ti­fully pho­tographed by Aus­tralian John Seale.

How to

Zero Dark Thirty

Gandhi,

a

‘mon­u­men­tal and mov­ing biopic’

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