Pay-tv films

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television -

Beau­ti­fully pho­tographed and stylishly pro­duced, this BBC doc­u­men­tary series cel­e­brates the men and women who work in Bri­tain’s ports, those places where the sea shapes peo­ple’s lives and serves as a medium con­nect­ing land to the sea, ful­fill­ing the com­mer­cial in­ter­ests of navies, gov­ern­ments and mer­chants. Be­gin­ning with Ply­mouth, home to the Royal Navy’s frigates and base for the train­ing of their crews — each ship’s com­pany put to the test be­fore join­ing the fleet — the series also fea­tures the ports at Ty­ne­side, Portsmouth, the Hum­ber es­tu­ary, Liver­pool and Southamp­ton. As one may ex­pect it’s splen­didly edited, the char­ac­ters well-cho­sen, and the series has just the right voyeuris­tic im­pulse to make the parochial uni­ver­sally in­ter­est­ing. Deeply knowl­edge­able pas­try chefs Mary Berry and Paul Hol­ly­wood, hosts of this hugely pop­u­lar Bri­tish re­al­ity cook­ing series, are stars in more than 200 coun­tries, with 20 hav­ing cooked up their own ver­sions too, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia. It’s the for­mat that has seen resur­gence in home bak­ing all around the world. The two cheer­fully ban­ter­ing pre­sen­ters plan their Christ­mas in this spe­cial fes­tive mas­ter­class, Berry kick­ing off with a pavlova wreath and Hol­ly­wood a Chelsea bun Christ­mas tree. Dual Sur­vival Tues­day, 9.30pm, Dis­cov­ery This series strands two wilder­ness ex­perts in var­i­ous in­hos­pitable lo­ca­tions and watches them work to­gether us­ing widely dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to sur­vival. It’s yet an­other sur­vival­ist re­al­ity TV show, a pro­gram­ming genre that seems all the rage at the mo­ment. This one is even more con­trived than some, but the Odd Cou­ple Gran Torino chem­istry, or lack of it, between the pro­tag­o­nists makes it en­ter­tain­ing. This new sea­son in­tro­duces tough com­bat vet­eran EJ Sny­der and hunter and peak climber Jeff Zausch, to see how they en­dure and sur­vive the wilder­ness from Louisiana to the Cau­ca­sus Moun­tains in Ge­or­gia. It’s all about im­me­di­ate se­cu­rity, self-pro­tec­tion, and men­tal en­durance. In this open­ing episode, they’re lost in the Arau­caria For­est of South Amer­ica with pit vipers and a wild boar for com­pany. Jonathan Demme’s The Si­lence of the Lambs (Sunday, 12.50pm, Thriller), while chill­ing and elec­tri­fy­ing, like Thomas Har­ris’s fa­mous novel from which it is adapted, is sur­pris­ingly witty. An­thony Hopkins is Dr Han­ni­bal Lecter, a bril­liant psy­chi­a­trist who is also a vi­o­lent psy­chopath, serv­ing life be­hind bars for var­i­ous acts of mur­der and can­ni­bal­ism. Jodie Foster’s Clarice Star­ling is a top stu­dent at the FBI’s train­ing academy whose shrewd analy­ses of se­rial killers land her the spe­cial as­sign­ment of in­ter­view­ing the fa­mous Lecter. In Greg McLean’s out­back clas­sic Wolf Creek (Mon­day, 10.30pm, Thriller), John Jar­ratt’s Mick Taylor wages psy­chotic war on ban­ter­ing, flirt­ing back­pack­ers, an Aus­tralian lad (Nathan Phillips) and two young English­women (Cassandra Ma­grath and Kestie Mo­rassi), his con­trolled malev­o­lence so mas­terly that you feel no one is be­yond his reach. Clint East­wood’s gritty Gran Torino (Tues­day, 12.40pm, Master­piece), from 2008, is the story of a griz­zled Korean War vet­eran (East­wood) at the end of his tether who be­friends a young Hmong boy to set him on the right path. East­wood is in top form here as he snarls and spits his way through one of his best per­for­mances.

Clint East­wood’s

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