Free-to-air films

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

Georges Si­menon’s char­ac­ter Jules Mai­gret re­turns in Night at the Cross­road, which makes its free-to-air de­but af­ter first screen­ing on Fox­tel’s BBC First chan­nel in May last year. At that time, its star Rowan Atkin­son ( Johnny English, Mr Bean, Black­ad­der) said he had not read the (ad­mit­tedly mixed) re­views of his first two per­for­mances as the beloved char­ac­ter. “I know very lit­tle, un­for­tu­nately, about the view­ers’ re­ac­tions be­cause I tend not to read re­views. You just get a vibe from what peo­ple say to you in shops and things. Or what peo­ple don’t say to you. And the vibe seemed to be gen­er­ally a pos­i­tive one,” he said. This in­stal­ment be­gins on a maudlin note. “Mai­gret is at the funeral of an old col­league who died, for­got­ten by those who once loved him. It makes him think about the lot of a po­lice of­fi­cer. The of­fi­cer who died was a drinker who drank him­self to death. He had sep­a­rated from his wife, his whole life had col­lapsed and he died alone,” he says. “Maybe that’s not un­known in this day and age but I’m sure it was a rel­a­tively com­mon thing in Paris in 1955. It’s very sober­ing for him.” Mai­gret is then drawn into a mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, cen­tring on Carl An­der­sen ( Game of Thrones’ Tom Wlaschiha). An­der­sen, a Dan­ish cit­i­zen, main­tains his in­no­cence de­spite all the ev­i­dence stacked against him. To boot, An­der­sen has a strangely close re­la­tion­ship with his sis­ter Else (Mia Jexen). The Plague Stream­ing on SBS On De­mand This new six-episode Span­ish-lan­guage se­ries, which ar­rived last week on SBS On De­mand, is set in me­dieval Seville dur­ing the epi­demic known as the Black Death. Pablo Mo­linero plays Mateo, a for­mer heretic who re­turns to Seville hop­ing to gain a par­don by solv­ing mur­ders thought to be re­lated to de­monic rit­u­als. As the plague be­gins to con­sume the city, the walls are closed and the pur­suit of the mur­der­ers in­ten­si­fies. Waco Waco Thurs­day, 8.30pm, SBS This ter­rific six-part se­ries con­tin­ues this week with an­other dou­ble episode, con­tin­u­ing the drama­ti­sa­tion of 1993’s 51-day stand­off be­tween the au­thor­i­ties and David Koresh’s Branch Da­vid­i­ans, in Waco, Texas. It stars Michael Shan­non, Melissa Benoist, Tay­lor Kitsch and John Leguizamo. “O cap­tain! My cap­tain!” must be one of the most par­o­died film lines of the past 30 years. As such, there are no prizes for cor­rectly guess­ing it comes from the 1989 Peter Weir-di­rected film Dead Po­ets So­ci­ety (Sun­day, 8.40pm, 10 Peach) star­ring Robin Wil­liams as the un­ortho­dox but in­spir­ing English teacher John Keat­ing. The film won an Os­car for best screen­play and I reckon that many teach­ers would ad­mit pri­vately that it in­spired their ca­reers (as many jour­nal­ists of a cer­tain vin­tage say of All the Pres­i­dent’s Men). It is hard to be­lieve Steven Spiel­berg’s Jaws (Thurs­day, 8.30pm, 7mate) is more than 40 years old; it is still deeply im­pres­sive to watch any of the doc­u­men­taries that por­tray the sheer am­bi­tion of the film­mak­ing process. Of course the le­gacy of hu­man hos­til­ity to sharks of all shapes and sizes is a dif­fi­cult one. On the other hand, the film and its se­quels may have pre­vented a lot of skin can­cers, keep­ing peo­ple away from the beaches. Once Were War­riors (Thurs­day, 9.30pm, NITV) from 1994, star­ring Te­muera Mor­ri­son as Jake the Muss, is a film made mem­o­rable by some truly fright­en­ing fight scenes. Of course, they were in aid of a story of so­cial marginal­i­sa­tion. But still; un­for­get­table biff.

Melissa Benoist in

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