Pick of the week
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
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?
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
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.
Zero Dark Thirty
‘monumental and moving biopic’