Free-to-air films

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

It’s time again for this an­nual rit­ual, this year mark­ing the Queen’s 90th birth­day, and cel­e­brated as al­ways in front of the ma­jes­tic Ed­in­burgh Cas­tle dur­ing the Ed­in­burgh Fes­ti­val be­fore an au­di­ence of more than 200,000 over three weeks. But Her Majesty’s birth­day is not the only mile­stone be­ing cel­e­brated in 2016: the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines is on hand to mark the cen­te­nary of the naval Bat­tle of Jut­land dur­ing World War I, and the Jor­da­nian Royal Guard, Band and Drill Team mark a cen­tury since the Great Arab Re­volt. New Zealand is also rep­re­sented with the Locheil March­ing Drill Team and the New Zealand Army Band, plus the Band and Drill Team of the King of Nor­way’s Guard. Ter­rific TV, if you like this sort of thing. Heather Ewart sin­gle­hand­edly puts paid to many of Aunty’s crit­ics with this charm­ing se­ries, ex­plor­ing ru­ral and re­gional Aus­tralia. Here, in episode five of nine, she vis­its Katan­ning in West­ern Aus­tralia to meet the lo­cals and share with au­di­ences their of­ten sur­pris­ing ways of life. She meets Ben Poett, driver of a B-dou­ble road train car­ry­ing 550 ewes for sale; Alep My­die, a lo­cal cof­fee shop owner, shire coun­cil­lor and imam; and Zee Sul­tani, who im­mi­grated to Katan­ning from Afghanistan aged 10 with her fam­ily more than a decade ago, and now works as a com­mu­nity and youth of­fi­cer with the shire. Full Metal Joust­ing Mon­day, 11pm, 7Mate I like to look for ex­am­ples of how Game of Thrones has af­fected our broader cul­ture. (It wasn’t so long ago that The Hunger Games film fran­chise pre­ci­pated a boom in young women tak­ing up archery like their hero­ine Kat­niss Everdeen.) Lo and be­hold, a push came from an Full Metal Joust­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion called English Her­itage ear­lier this year for joust­ing to be in­cluded as an Olympic sport. “If skate­board­ing can be in­cluded then joust­ing has a good chance,” said a spokesper­son. The Olympics is prob­a­bly a long shot, but in any case it’s al­ready the sub­ject of a re­al­ity TV show from the History chan­nel, and it’s not half bad. Full Metal Joust­ing fea­tures 16 con­tes­tants from all walks of life, split into two teams of eight, com­pet­ing for a $100,000 prize. There is some hu­mour — and blood­shed, as you would ex­pect. SBS OnDe­mand has a peer­less se­lec­tion of films to choose from in­clud­ing Ter­rence Mal­ick’s The Tree of Life star­ring Brad Pitt, Jes­sica Chas­tain and Sean Penn. A tri­umph of vis­ual sto­ry­telling — more med­i­ta­tive than nar­ra­tive — it touches on some­thing very real about fam­i­lies, love and the mean­ing of life. Also on the free plat­form is the 2014 sci-fi film Pre­des­ti­na­tion, a genre-defin­ing ef­fort by the Spierig Broth­ers and star­ring Ethan Hawke and Aus­tralian ac­tors Noah Tay­lor and Sarah Snook. Not sur­pris­ingly the Spierigs are set to di­rect the next Saw movie, and Snook has a full slate of forth­com­ing TV and film projects. For comic re­lief, try 2008’s Tropic Thun­der (Tues­day, 8.30pm, Eleven), star­ring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr, Steve Coogan, Matthew McConaughey and Nick Nolte. Tom Cruise steals the show with his por­trayal of a fat, pro­fane stu­dio ex­ec­u­tive, Les Gross­man, a per­for­mance that went a long way to­wards re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing him in au­di­ences’ minds af­ter his couch-jump­ing an­tics on Oprah Win­frey’s show in 2005. Cruise is ar­guably equalled here only by Downey Jr’s por­trayal of an un­named Aus­tralian ac­tor in black­face, and the fake trail­ers at the start of the film.

Rid­ers in ac­tion in

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