Pay-tv films

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television -

Nar­rated by TV vet Chris Brown, this prom­ises to be an un­usu­ally pop­u­lar doc­u­men­tary se­ries as Dis­cov­ery ex­plores how dogs have be­come one of the most in­flu­en­tial an­i­mals in hu­man his­tory. There are a bil­lion ca­nines on earth and this pro­gram trav­els the world to show how they en­hance ev­ery as­pect of our lives, from de­tect­ing can­cer, fight­ing be­side us in bat­tle, de­fend­ing threat­ened species against ex­tinc­tion or res­cu­ing peo­ple in treach­er­ous seas. The show has renowned nat­u­ral his­tory ex­pert and film­maker Martha Holmes at the helm and it’s a flu­ent blend­ing of tra­di­tional doc­u­men­tary and sto­ry­telling, look­ing at each breed and how they have de­vel­oped a spe­cific set of char­ac­ter­is­tics to help them live along­side hu­man be­ings. The hit se­ries has ex­plored ex­treme dan­ger and shared male ex­pe­ri­ence, with a lim­ited cast of pro­tag­o­nists fac­ing death at ev­ery mo­ment for 12 sea­sons. It fol­lows the now leg­endary cap­tains and crews of six crab-fish­ing ves­sels do­ing one of the most per­ilous, and lu­cra­tive, jobs in the world: fish­ing for king and opilio crab in frigid Alaskan wa­ters. A spin-off was in­evitable and Dun­geon Cove takes fans into the world of the most vi­o­lent stretches of wa­ter yet: the “Grave­yard of the Pa­cific”. The stretches of open wa­ter be­tween Ore­gon and Bri­tish Columbia are home to thou­sands of ves­sels and hun­dreds of lives lost the bat­tle with the dead­li­est com­mer­cial fish­ery in the world. The show’s fa­mil­iar cin­ema verite pre­sen­ta­tion takes us on board the ves­sels that nav­i­gate this stretch of the ocean dur­ing the crab sea­son. Made By De­struc­tion Tues­day, 9.30pm, SCI This is a ter­rific orig­i­nal doc­u­men­tary se­ries from Canada pro­vid­ing a glimpse into how the sim­plest ev­ery­day items, which seem to have just one sim­ple pur­pose, can be reused in the most un­ex­pected ways. Reusing and re­cy­cling ob­jects is hardly new, but the se­ries of­fers a look at the in­ge­nious ways in which it is done on an in­dus­trial scale, a rarely seen process. Pho­to­copiers be­come brass trum­pets, pota­toes are re-formed into biodegrad­able egg car­tons, milk con­tain­ers are trans­formed into park benches and old mat­tresses are re­cy­cled into knives. Ser­gio Leone’s A Fist­ful of Dol­lars (Tues­day, 8.35pm, Fox Clas­sics) is the sem­i­nal spaghetti western that was the break­through for the di­rec­tor and Clint East­wood, whose por­trayal of the mytho­log­i­cal war­rior made him a star. Leone pre­sented a more des­o­late and law­less world than au­di­ences had been ac­cus­tomed to in tra­di­tional west­erns, his plots more akin to Ja­cobean or Span­ish Re­nais­sance tragedy, and he chal­lenged the stereo­type of the white-hat­ted hero by mak­ing East­wood’s char­ac­ter more morally am­bigu­ous. Alexan­der Payne’s crit­i­cally ac­claimed Academy award-win­ning Side­ways (Thursday, 2.10am, Mas­ter­piece), from 2004, sees mid­dle-aged school­teacher Miles (Paul Gia­matti) dwelling on his non-ac­com­plish­ments while cling­ing to the hope his novel will be pub­lished, as he takes his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on a road trip through Cal­i­for­nian wine coun­try. An Aussie clas­sic from the glory days of the lo­cal film in­dus­try, The Chant of Jim­mie Black­smith (Fri­day, 10.45pm, Fox Clas­sics), di­rected by Fred Schep­isi, is based on the novel by Thomas Ke­neally that in turn was in­spired by ac­tual events. A stel­lar cast in­cludes Tommy Lewis as the tit­u­lar char­ac­ter.

Paul Gia­matti and Thomas Haden Church go on a road trip in Side­ways

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