Free-to-air films

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free To Air -

Il­lu­sion­ists have been with us since TV be­gan, part of its rich show-business tra­di­tion. I can still re­mem­ber the Great Fran­quin on the va­ri­ety shows of the late 1960s and his ex­hi­bi­tions of mes­merism and hyp­no­tism that had peo­ple plucked from his vast audiences play­ing imag­i­nary xy­lo­phones, swim­ming for their lives and be­ing held up by gun­men in night­clubs. In this more con­tem­po­rary TV for­mat, Penn Jil­lette and Ray­mond Teller sit in the au­di­ence and watch as as­pir­ing ma­gi­cians try to im­press them with a trick the fa­mous il­lu­sion­ists are un­able to du­pli­cate. If a ma­gi­cian suc­cess­fully hood­winks the leg­endary duo with a trick, that per­son wins a trip to Las Ve­gas to per­form as an open­ing act in Penn & Teller’s show at the Rio Ho­tel & Casino. You might have no­ticed the re­turn of this splen­did ABC pro­gram­ming slate. The prime space cel­e­brates the art and craft of some of the cin­ema’s most con­fronting and en­ter­tain­ing fea­ture doc­u­men­taries. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing way to ex­plore the way film­mak­ers work­ing in non­fic­tion are ex­plor­ing those in­creas­ingly blurred lines be­tween re­al­ity and agenda doc­u­men­tary cin­ema. And this one is a real-life thriller, un­fold­ing by the minute and giv­ing audiences un­prece­dented ac­cess to film­maker Laura Poitras and jour­nal­ist Glenn Green­wald’s en­coun­ters with Ed­ward Snow­den in Hong Kong as he hands over clas­si­fied doc­u­ments pro­vid­ing ev­i­dence of in­dis­crim­i­nate and il­le­gal in­va­sions of pri­vacy by the US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency. You will never trust your phone, email, credit card, web browser, or so­cial me­dia pro­file ever again. Open­ing Shot: Can­di­date Games Wed­nes­day, 9.30pm, ABC Two This is the fourth in­stal­ment of five half-hour Bought a Zoo We doc­u­men­taries from Aus­tralia’s next gen­er­a­tion of doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ers; films that bring a fresh per­spec­tive to some of the big is­sues fac­ing younger Aus­tralians. Sam Bodhi Field’s doco fol­lows an ex­plo­sive postal elec­tion, in which three can­di­dates — a 28-year-old, an en­tre­pre­neur and a pop­u­lar two-term in­cum­bent — will go head to head. After all, with an an­nual coun­cil bud­get of $200 mil­lion after the min­ing boom, the role of lord mayor of Perth is a tempt­ing prize. What We Do in the Shad­ows (Satur­day, 8.30pm, SBS)(1.25am, WA) writ­ten, di­rected by and star­ring Je­maine Cle­ment and Taika Waititi, this very funny mock­u­men­tary ex­plores the comic mis­ad­ven­tures of four vam­pire room­mates who re­veal the hi­lar­i­ous de­tails of their noc­tur­nal life in present-day Welling­ton, New Zealand. In­spired by the life of Ben­jamin Mee, a Bri­tish writer who res­cued a fail­ing zoo while com­ing to terms with life as a wid­ower and single fa­ther, Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo (Sun­day, 7.30pm, Ten) is quirky and en­dear­ing. Matt Da­mon is a Los An­ge­les news­pa­per colum­nist and ad­ven­ture writer strug­gling to raise his two young kids after the death of their beloved mother so, to lift their spirits, he buys a zoo called the Rose­moor An­i­mal Park, where Scar­lett Jo­hans­son’s Kelly Foster is the head of the an­i­mal keep­ers. Emile Ar­dolino’s pe­riod teen movie clas­sic Dirty Danc­ing (Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm, Ten) retains its charm nearly three decades on. It’s the story of headstrong 17-year-old Baby House­man (Jen­nifer Grey), who gets lessons in dance and love at a sleepy re­sort in the Catskills from dance in­struc­tor Johnny Cas­tle, a role that cat­a­pulted Pa­trick Swayze to star­dom.

Scar­lett Jo­hans­son and Matt Da­mon in

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