The Searchers (G) Tuesday, 8.35pm, Fox Classics (113) Sweeney Todd (MA15+) Monday, 6.30pm, Masterpiece (402) Mystery Road (M) Monday, 8.30pm, Thriller (409) “I’ve been in the middle my whole life,” Aaron Pedersen’s indigenous detective Jay Swann says ruefully at one point, and the observation is a major theme of Ivan Sen’s 2013 Queensland-set western noir Mystery Road (Monday, 8.30pm, Thriller Movies). Swann returns to his remote bush town to investigate the murder of a teenage girl, and discovers hostility and corruption on both sides of the racial divide. One of the best Australian movies of its year, Mystery Road is highly recommended.
On the other end of the local spectrum, break out your thongarang as two mobs of TV characters go head-to-head in bogan mastermind Paul Fenech’s 2014 hit Fat Pizza vs Housos (Saturday, 8.30pm, Premiere). The plot is selfevident, the humour employs equal opportunity offensiveness, and it is a marvel how Fenech continues to get away with it.
Based on the provocative 1959 science fiction short story All You Zombies by revered genre author Robert A. Heinlein, the time-travel thriller
Predestination (Saturday, 6.45pm, Masterpiece), is a triumph of literary expansion and adaptation from the minds of German-born, Brisbane-based filmmakers Michael and Peter Spierig. Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook face off in a story that illustrates Heinlein’s genius for making the wildly improbable seem possible.
Generally considered to be director John Ford’s defining work and one of the greatest — if not the greatest — western made, the 1956 adventure The Searchers (Tuesday, 8.35pm, Fox Classics) stars John Wayne as a Civil War veteran who spends years searching for the niece (Natalie Wood) abducted by members of the Comanche tribe. It was modestly ahead of its time for views on racism and personal obsession, and Wayne’s performance is a standout, as is Winton C. Hoch’s Technicolor VistaVision photography.
Even without the then-nascent 3-D process, the 1953 Vincent Price horror vehicle House of
Wax (Sunday, 8.30pm, TCM) is still a powerfully entertaining genre exercise. Price is the horribly disfigured (well, for the 1950s, anyway) sculptor whose waxworks cover the corpses of his murder victims. The actor built a distinguished career in horror, based on the wild success of the film.
A pair of director Tim Burton’s more Grand Guignol/Victorian gothic efforts, both adaptations starring Johnny Depp, liven up the selection of horror films available in the weeklong run-up to Halloween. The 1999 opus Sleepy
Hollow (Friday, 8.30pm, Thriller) expands on the Washington Irving story about the investigation of Depp’s Ichabod Crane into the business of the headless horseman. A much jauntier time may be had with Burton’s fun 2007 musical Sweeney
Todd (Monday, 6.30pm, Masterpiece), in which Depp admirably brings to life the Demon Barber as only he can.
Sarah Snook in sci-fi thriller