Pay-tv films

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television -

Gen­er­ally au­di­ences judge a se­ries by its first episode, and will in some cases think: no thanks, not for me, there are plenty of other shows I might like bet­ter. I jumped to that con­clu­sion view­ing the first episode of Mas­ter of None, tired as I some­times get of tele­vi­sion se­ries that are thinly dis­guised au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal works com­plain­ing about how dis­cour­ag­ing it is to be an ac­tor, or how hu­mil­i­at­ing to be an as­pir­ing writer, or how hard it is to find love in an in­dus­try town like Los An­ge­les. Yawn. I can’t tell you what hap­pened be­tween that episode and this, the premiere of sea­son two, ex­cept to say: this is a so­phis­ti­cated and stylish piece of work — mea culpa. Aziz An­sari stars as Dev Shah in this episode ti­tled The Thief, en­tirely shot in black- Hav­ing grown up with a book­shelf heav­ing with the pa­per­back nov­els of Len Deighton (and Leon Uris, James Clavell and James A. Mich­ener), I am very par­tial to this new alt-history se­ries, wherein Germany has won World War II and oc­cu­pies Bri­tain. Adapted by James Bond writ­ers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, it is cer­tainly en­ter­tain­ing. But, un­for­tu­nately, it comes on the heels of The Man in the High Cas­tle, adapted by Ama­zon Prime Video from the novel by Philip K. Dick, which is a much more height­ened offering. Watch both if you can; but if you have to choose only one, make it the lat­ter. Bake Off: Creme de la Creme Tues­day, 8.30pm, Life­style Food From the mak­ers of The Great Bri­tish Bake Off Mas­ter of None comes the sec­ond sea­son of this se­ries in which pro­fes­sional pas­try chefs duke it out for the ac­claim of judges Tom Ker­ridge, Benoit Blin, and the painfully blunt Cher­ish Fin­den. This is not the kind of show where you iden­tify with the am­a­teur con­tes­tants and dream­ily imag­ine bak­ing what you see on screen; this is where you mar­vel at demigods who, or­gan­ised into teams, cre­ate desserts, cakes, pas­tries, con­fec­tionery and sculp­tures be­yond the abil­i­ties of mere mor­tals. I seem to be in a mi­nor­ity, but I loved Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (Satur­day, 9.45am, Fox­tel Movies More). From the open­ing scene of an “en­gi­neer” ge­net­i­cally dis­in­te­grat­ing him­self over a wa­ter­fall to Michael Fass­ben­der’s David speak­ing proto-Indo-Euro­pean, to the fas­ci­nat­ing the­matic per­mu­ta­tions of neg­a­tiv­ity and vi­o­lence be­tween cre­ator and creation, par­ent and child … it was a bril­liant film. But for those who like more gore, Fox­tel is play­ing all 10 films in the com­bined Alien and Preda­tor fran­chises through the week­end. (See David Strat­ton’s re­view of Alien: Covenant on Page 15.) For those with en­tirely dif­fer­ent cin­e­matic tastes, try Daniel Day-Lewis in Lin­coln (Satur­day, 12.10am, Mas­ter­piece), the Os­car-win­ning 2012 film di­rected by Steven Spiel­berg. It fea­tures such mem­o­rable lines as: “Buz­zard’s guts, man! I am the pres­i­dent of the United States of Amer­ica, clothed in im­mense power! You will pro­cure me th­ese votes.” And fi­nally, the in­ef­fa­bly sad film, House of Sand and Fog (Satur­day, 8.30pm, Thriller), about a prop­erty con­flict, fea­tures Ben Kings­ley as a for­mer colonel work­ing me­nial jobs to keep up ap­pear­ances, along­side Shohreh Agh­dashloo ( The Ex­panse) and Jen­nifer Con­nelly.

Aziz An­sari in

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