Pay-tv films

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

The skies have al­ways been a fer­tile source of in­spi­ra­tion in art, mu­sic and lit­er­a­ture. But in our de­sire to rise above them and ex­plore, hu­man­ity has had to over­come many ob­sta­cles. This three­part se­ries delves into the in­cred­i­ble break­throughs, turn­ing points, tri­umphs and dis­as­ters that en­abled the con­quest of the skies, through three key in­ven­tions: the space suit, the ejec­tor seat and the para­chute. And fas­ci­nat­ing it is too. The se­ries is from Bri­tain’s Ar­row Pro­duc­tions, which has deep roots in avi­a­tion and space pro­gram­ming, and it brings us the lit­tle­known sto­ries of th­ese in­ven­tions, which have al­lowed pi­lots and as­tro­nauts to fly ever higher and faster. From the as­tro­naut who faced drown­ing in­side his own space suit to the pi­lot Pre­mier­ing this week is the show for any­one who ei­ther owns a ute or has dreamt of own­ing one. In the world of diesel ve­hi­cles, no one has more fun or builds big­ger, bad­der trucks than Heavy D, Diesel Dave and their crew at DieselSellerz. Their mega builds and awe­some truck give­aways are the stuff of diesel leg­end and this fran­tic, often very funny se­ries fol­lows the team mem­bers as they trick out trucks, work hard and play harder in the process. Olive Kitteridge Presto Os­car win­ner Frances McDor­mand ( Fargo) and Os­car nom­i­nee Richard Jenk­ins ( The Visi­tor) star in this four-part, much-awarded HBO drama adapted from El­iz­a­beth Strout’s Pulitzer prizewin­ning novel. Zoe Kazan, John Gal­lagher Jr, Jesse Ple­mons and Bill Mur­ray also ex­cel in this Olive Kitteridge por­trait of a dif­fi­cult Maine wo­man who finds hap­pi­ness elu­sive. It was adapted by the ac­claimed screen­writer Jane An­der­son, and di­rected by the ac­com­plished Lisa Cholo­denko, who is com­pletely em­pa­thetic to the book’s com­plex­i­ties and ap­proached it as a four-hour film. “I wanted to get un­der the skin of th­ese peo­ple in a way that was com­pelling, where the dark was off­set by things that were funny,” Cholo­denko says. She got that right, chill­ingly so, and this is one of HBO’s finest achieve­ments. Elec­tri­fy­ing bio flick Straight Outta Comp­ton (Sun­day, 8.30pm, Pre­miere) chronicles the rise and fall of the Cal­i­for­nia hip-hop group NWA who used their voices and lyrics as so­cial weapons. Di­rected with en­ergy and high style by F. Gary Gray, it stars O’Shea Jack­son Jr as Ice Cube, Corey Hawkins as Dr Dre, Ja­son Mitchell as Eazy-E and Paul Gia­matti as NWA’s con­tro­ver­sial man­ager Jerry Heller. A fine adap­ta­tion of great crime writer Lawrence Block’s novel A Walk Among the Tomb­stones (Monday, 8.30pm, Thriller) fea­tures Liam Nee­son as Matt Scud­der, for­merly of the NYPD, now work­ing as an un­li­censed pri­vate de­tec­tive who “does favours for peo­ple”, in this case a drug traf­ficker whose wife was kid­napped and mur­dered. Presto has re­cently re­leased Jeremy Sims’s award-win­ning Last Cab to Dar­win, in which a ter­mi­nally ill Bro­ken Hill cab­driver (Michael Ca­ton) picks up an in­dige­nous drifter (Mark Coles Smith) and a back­packer (Emma Hamil­ton) while trav­el­ling through the Aus­tralian out­back to get eu­thanased. Based on Reg Cribb’s stage play, this fine movie, as poignant as it’s en­ter­tain­ing, also stars Jacki Weaver and Nin­gali Law­ford. A won­der­fully touch­ing per­for­mance from Ca­ton.

McDor­mand and Jenk­ins in

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