Free to air film

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

There is an ex­tent to which the ven­er­a­ble MKR has soiled it­self of late with a pen­chant for cast­ing un­like­able con­tes­tants to man­u­fac­ture con­flict. Not that this is any­thing new in the re­al­ity TV realm, but as sea­son eight has proved again, the gam­bit is a dou­ble-edged sword. No amount of clever and/or de­cep­tive edit­ing could mask the, uh, re­al­ity that des­ig­nated vil­lain Josh lacked ei­ther the req­ui­site culi­nary skills to be a cred­i­ble con­tender in the kitchen or the charis­matic venom re­quired of a con­sis­tently tele­genic an­ti­hero. Thus, the heav­ily pro­moted clashes with con­tes­tants never made for le­git­i­mate drama. Of the four like­able and hon­estly tal­ented teams re­main­ing as we go to press, smart money tips Amy and Tyson to reign supreme. Segue to ... The sea­son nine pre­miere of that other culi­nary fran­chise finds cook­ing made fun again, with the emo­tional re­tool­ing of the fran­chise a wel­come cor­rec­tive to un­wanted fric­tion and story over sub­stance. There are stir­rings of an epi­curean love-in: food critic Matt Pre­ston pairs a dis­tin­guished new white beard with more flat­ter­ing three-piece suits, while for­merly moody chef Ge­orge Calom­baris is so giddy he’s caught mug­ging be­hind some­one’s back; they’re an­i­mated enough to ren­der al­ways af­fa­ble restau­ra­teur Gary Me­hi­gan nearly sub­dued by com­par­i­son. But MasterChef is all about the cook­ing, and the food: when just the se­cond au­di­tion­ing con­tes­tant blows the judges away with her gnoc­chi, it be­comes abun­dantly clear a newly ren­o­vated kitchen is now open. Grantch­ester Sun­day, 8.30pm, ABC “How does a man drown in the mid­dle of a church?” per­pet­u­ally har­ried De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Ge­ordie Keat­ing (Robson Green) asks his part­ner in crime-solv­ing and worldly lo­cal Angli­can vicar Sid­ney Cham­bers (James Nor­ton) upon dis­cov­er­ing the head of the soup kitchen spread­ea­gled on the floor with wa­ter com­ing out of his mouth. And what’s with the dead ravens left as omi­nous keep­sakes? It’s just an­other case for this ap­peal­ing odd cou­ple in a show fa­mously called “Cluedo with cas­socks” by one Bri­tish wag. It is still 1950s Granch­ester and still an atyp­i­cal Bri­tish crime se­ries where the chem­istry of the leads mat­ters more than the vis­cera of the dead. A guilty plea­sure it may be, but there are few screen mu­si­cals as un­abashedly joy­ous and de­fi­antly rough around the edges as di­rec­tor Phyl­l­ida Lloyd’s bold, fluid 2008 adap­ta­tion of the hit stage mu­si­cal Mamma Mia! (Fri­day, 8.35pm, SBS). It’s no se­cret that by this time Meryl Streep was ac­tively look­ing for projects in which she could dis­play her fine singing voice, and her ex­u­ber­ant Donna Sheri­dan is one of her finest roles. Chris­tine Baran­ski and, un­likely as it seems, Pierce Bros­nan are fear­less in sup­port. In the wake of the in­creas­ingly bloated se­quels, it is easy to for­get that the orig­i­nal 2003 Pi­rates of the Caribbean (Satur­day, 7pm, Seven), sub­ti­tled The Curse of the Black Pearl, is a fun ad­ven­ture an­chored by Johnny Depp’s ec­cen­tric per­for­mance as Cap­tain Jack Spar­row and Ge­of­frey Rush’s con­niv­ing vil­lain, Hec­tor Bar­bossa. New Zealand-born ac­tor Anna Paquin made her debut in 1993’s The Pi­ano and won an Os­car for her per­for­mance. Three years later she again en­thralled in di­rec­tor Car­roll Bal­lard’s lovely fam­ily drama Fly Away Home (Satur­day, 5pm, 7Flix) op­po­site Jeff Daniels; she plays Amy Alden, who in­her­its a gag­gle of geese and teaches them how to fly.

Chris­tine Baran­ski, Meryl Streep and Julie Wal­ters in Mamma Mia!

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