The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television | Pay -

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


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