Free to air films
The Voice is set to kick off its sixth season with Destiny’s Child alumna Kelly Rowland as its fourth and final judge, joining Boy George, Seal and Delta Goodrem. The new additions are a massive coup for the show; apart from the unquestionable value that Rowland and George bring to the table with their visibility, both artists, as mentors, have stories that will resonate with the contestants. Kelly Rowland found fame as an 11-year-old while the Karma Chameleon emerged as part of the transformative new romantic music movement of the late 70s, with a subsequent career marked by as much notoriety (heroin addition, bankruptcy) as success. Phenomenon son Cosimo (Richard Madden, Game of Thrones) inherits the bank that bears the family name. Among those with whom he must deal are his brother Lorenzo (Stuart Martin, Bablyon) and various officials, family members and courtesans. Created by the seemingly odd-couple team of Frank Spotnitz ( The X-Files) and Nicholas Meyer ( Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), Medici: Masters of Florence is an experience for viewers who like byzantine and sprawling stories, cloaked in plush period production values and stirring locations. Among the lesser-remembered but more satisfying films in the long career of John Travolta is the 1996 romantic fantasy Phenomenon (Tuesday, 12pm, Seven). The actor plays George, a northern California mechanic whose life is changed when a ball of light hits him in the head. To the astonishment of friends Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker and Robert Duvall, George develops an acute intelligence, eschews sleep and transforms their lives. The film was considered a hit and has some interesting ideas about small-town life and the lure of the unexplained. The score features Eric Clapton’s Change the World. The teaming of actor Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright has paid dividends in such inspired comedies as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Their so-called Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy concluded with the 2013 comedy At World’s End (Saturday, 2:15am, SBS), in which a clutch of childhood friends must survive an alien invasion while on a pub crawl. Though hard to ascertain just what went wrong with the 2012 fantasy John Carter (Saturday, 10pm, Seven), since it is based — loosely — on Edgar Rice Burroughs’s A Princess of Mars, it is time more or less well spent.
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