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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

(M) Thurs­day, 8.30pm, 7Two

(MA15+) Sun­day, 11.30pm, ABC1

(M) Fri­day, 11pm, Gem


Lucky Miles

Cool Hand Luke


(Sun­day, 11.30pm, ABC1) is a cu­ri­ously light-hearted film about boat­peo­ple ar­riv­ing on Aus­tralian shores, de­scribed by its pro­duc­ers as “a metaphor for the con­se­quences of glob­al­i­sa­tion”. An In­done­sian fish­ing boat de­posits a bunch of Cam­bo­dian and Iraqi asy­lum­seek­ers on an empty beach some­where in north Aus­tralia, and we fol­low the ad­ven­tures of three men flung to­gether by chance in the desert. The film felt oddly dated on its re­lease in 2007, when boat ar­rivals had pretty well ceased, and may well feel dated now for the same rea­son. Di­rec­tor Michael James Row­land gives us plenty to think about in this won­der­fully strange and en­joy­able comic es­capade, which man­ages to put a warm, quirky spin on sto­ries of be­trayal, ex­ploita­tion, cul­tural prej­u­dice and at­tempted mur­der. How you re­act may de­pend on how se­ri­ously you re­act to boat­peo­ple, and the ef­forts of gov­ern­ments to stop them.

M. Night Shya­malan is re­mem­bered for his hugely pop­u­lar su­per­nat­u­ral thriller The Sixth Sense, which he fol­lowed a year later with

(Thurs­day, 8.30pm, 7Two), a much darker, more trou­bling film. Bruce Wil­lis is David Dunn, a pas­sen­ger on a New York com­muter train that runs off the rails, killing ev­ery­one on board save one. Dunn walks away un­scathed, con­vinced by this and other ex­pe­ri­ences that he’s im­per­vi­ous to in­jury or dis­ease — an “un­break­able”. He’s tracked down by Eli­jah (Sa­muel L. Jack­son), a dealer in old comic strips, who be­lieves Dunn may ex­plain the ori­gins of comic book su­per­heroes, caped cru­saders and the like. A loopy plot, to be sure, but it got me in. Is it pos­si­ble that Dunn in­spired Marvel Comics’ X-Man fran­chise, whose lat­est in­stal­ment, X-Men: Days of Fu­ture Past, is com­ing


soon to cin­e­mas? Mean­while you can see the third film in the se­ries,

(Satur­day, 8.30pm, Ten), the usual slick blend of vi­o­lence, creepi­ness and spec­tac­u­lar ef­fects, with Hugh Jack­man keep­ing a straight face through­out.

For those, like me, who can’t get enough of them, there’s a cou­ple of Fred As­taire-Gin­ger Rogers mu­si­cals — (Mon­day, 2am, ABC1), fol­lowed by (3.25am) — so set the recorder or pre­pare for a long night. Both are crammed with great Irv­ing Berlin songs, among them (in Fol­low the Fleet) Fred and Gin­ger’s out-of-sync comic rou­tine, I’m Putting All My Eggs in One Bas­ket. This song would have played well be­neath the end-cred­its of

(Fri­day, 11pm, Gem), the Stu­art Rosen­berg prison drama fa­mous for its eggeat­ing con­test, when Paul New­man puts all his eggs down one throat — his own — in one of the yuck­i­est comic scenes in movies. Not much else is funny. This grim, of­ten bru­tal film has Luke serv­ing in a chain gang while ral­ly­ing fel­low crims. It was one of New­man’s great per­for­mances.


Hand Luke

X-Men Ori­gins: Care­free Fol­low the Fleet


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