The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Satel­lite Boy (PG) Satur­day, 8.40am, Mas­ter­piece (402) Freaks (PG) Sun­day, 8.30pm, TCM (428) Fierce Crea­tures (M) Mon­day, 8.30pm, Com­edy (407)

An in­dige­nous boy treks across the out­back to plead for the preser­va­tion of his grand­fa­ther’s home in di­rec­tor Ca­tri­ona McKen­zie’s deeply af­fect­ing 2012 gen­er­a­tional drama Satel­lite Boy (Satur­day, 8.40am, Mas­ter­piece). Ten-year-old new­comer Cameron Wal­laby plays young Pete, and the iconic David Gulpilil is his grandad, nur­tur­ing the young­ster in the ways of Abo­rig­i­nal tra­di­tion. Cin­e­matog­ra­pher Ge­of­frey Simp­son’s wide-screen com­po­si­tions of­fer stun­ning vis­tas of the Bun­gle Bun­gle Range, with McKen­zie’s lev­el­headed bal­ance of ways old and new giv­ing the film added ur­gency.

It isn’t strictly a se­quel to A Fish Called Wanda, but the same cast re­assem­bled nine years af­ter that comic tri­umph to tell an en­tirely dif­fer­ent yet equally guf­faw-pro­vok­ing tale in the 1997 com­edy Fierce Crea­tures (Mon­day, 8.30pm, Com­edy). Kevin Kline plays the dual roles of a media mogul and his gung-ho son, and Jamie Lee Curtis is the em­ployee who in­volves them in the wrong­headed run­ning of a Lon­don zoo un­der the man­age­ment of for­mer cop John Cleese (who also co-wrote the script). Mel­bourne’s own Fred Schep­isi was brought in to fin­ish di­rect­ing the film when pro­duc­tion trou­bles be­set Bri­tish TV vet­eran Robert Young. Cleese’s off-kil­ter and of­f­colour sen­si­bil­i­ties are on full view.

It is of­ten clas­si­fied as a hor­ror film, but it may also be seen as a lurid melo­drama with star­tling im­agery. The movie in ques­tion is di­rec­tor Tod Browning’s one-of-a-kind 1932 pro­duc­tion

Freaks (Sun­day, 8.30pm, TCM), and it was inspired by his job as a teenager in the sideshow of a trav­el­ling cir­cus. The story in­volves a con­niv­ing trapeze artist who mar­ries a col­league with dwarfism for his money and suf­fers the con­se­quences from his tight-knit band of mis­shapen out­siders. No mat­ter how it’s de­scribed, there’s noth­ing else in movie history quite like it.

A pair of thrillers on Tues­day ais worth a men­tion. The re­tired ac­tor Gene Hack­man con­tin­ues to be greatly missed as a force­ful lead­ing man. One of his last films, and among his best, is writer-di­rec­tor David Mamet’s clockwork 2001 crime drama Heist (Tues­day, 6.35pm, Ac­tion). Iron­i­cally, the film is about a master thief plan­ning to re­tire who is drawn back into the game for one last job — rob­bing an aero­plane filled with gold. As is usual for a Mamet film, the di­a­logue is terse and the sup­port­ing cast of Danny DeVito, Del­roy Lindo, Sam Rock­well, Ricky Jay and Re­becca Pid­geon (Mamet’s wife) de­liv­ers it with pre­ci­sion.

Later in the evening comes writer-di­rec­tor James Man­gold’s 1997 drama Cop Land (Tues­day, 10.20pm, Ac­tion). Back in the day the film was con­sid­ered some­thing of a come­back for Sylvester Stal­lone, who plays a stout small-town New Jersey po­lice­man be­set by cor­rup­tion. He’s quite good in it.

David Gulpilil in a scene from Satel­lite Boy

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