Pay-tv films

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television -

There is a sad pro­logue to this ad­ven­ture doc­u­men­tary from 2013. It doesn’t have to do with any of the pre­vi­ous ex­pe­di­tions Ben Fogle and James Crack­nell had un­der­taken to­gether, in­clud­ing an al­most 5000km row­ing race across the At­lantic and the re-en­act­ment of the his­toric 1911 race be­tween Amund­sen and Scott across the Antarc­tic. It is ac­tu­ally about an ac­ci­dent, the long road to re­cov­ery, and re­pair­ing a friend­ship. A few years be­fore film­ing this three part se­ries, Crack­nell was knocked from his bi­cy­cle and suf­fered a near-fa­tal brain in­jury. Dur­ing his re­cov­ery he re­port­edly ex­pe­ri­enced per­son­al­ity changes and some­times vi­o­lent out­bursts. “I’m just not the same per­son I was be­fore it, and I prob­a­bly never will be,” Crack­nell, a former Al­low the host Greg Davies to in­tro­duce this new show in his own words: “I make some ac­com­plished but needy co­me­di­ans do stupid things for me.” So there. Sea­son one, episode one fea­tures the co­me­di­ans Frank Skin­ner, Josh Wid­di­combe, Roisin Conaty, Romesh Ran­ganathan and Tim Keyes. Three sea­sons of this se­ries have al­ready been shown in Bri­tain, and there will be two more this year. So if you like it, there’s plenty more to come. An­i­mals Mon­day, 10.10pm, Com­edy If you think rats, pi­geons and other ver­min hav­ing An­i­mals ex­is­ten­tial crises and emo­tional prob­lems is funny — how could you not? — then this se­ries from cre­ators Phil Matarese and Mike Lu­ciano is for you. The show uses largely im­pro­vised di­a­logue from Matarese, Lu­ciano and a huge cast of fa­mous co­me­di­ans, voic­ing pi­geons, rats, cats, dogs, fleas and squir­rels, with the re­sult­ing di­a­logue then an­i­mated. In this episode, a teen pi­geon goes on a “spirit quest” to learn about courage. He en­coun­ters a cer­tain char­ac­ter from Fam­ily Guy, in a sur­pris­ing and hi­lar­i­ous cameo. With Jeff Ni­chols’s Lov­ing star­ring Joel Edger­ton in cine­mas now, check out his pre­vi­ous film Mid­night Spe­cial (Tues­day, 8.30pm, Pre­miere), where he first en­coun­tered the Aus­tralian ac­tor. Also star­ring Michael Shan­non, Kirsten Dunst and Adam Driver, it tells the story of a fa­ther and son on the run from mul­ti­ple par­ties who want to ex­ploit the boy’s su­per­nat­u­ral pow­ers. Ira­nian film­maker Ja­far Panahi is forced by a gov­ern­ment ban into ever more in­ge­nious ways of con­tin­u­ing his craft. In the past, he has made a film ti­tled This is Not a Film, which fea­tured him sit­ting around his apart­ment dis­cussing his le­gal trou­bles on the phone, among other mun­dane ac­tiv­i­ties. (The film was en­tered at Cannes, re­port­edly smug­gled there on a USB drive in­side a cake.) In the same vein Tehran Taxi (Tues­day, 11.50am, World Movies) fea­tures Panahi driv­ing around the streets of his city, pick­ing up pas­sen­gers and strik­ing up can­did con­ver­sa­tions. A film that for all its lack of so­phis­ti­ca­tion has al­ways left me pon­der­ing its deeper mean­ings is The Leg­end of Bag­ger Vance (Tues­day, 10.10pm, Mas­ter­piece). Di­rected by Robert Red­ford, it stars Matt Da­mon and Char­l­ize Theron, with Will Smith as the ti­tle char­ac­ter.

Rats dis­cuss their prob­lems in

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