Pay-tv films

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television -

Eas­ily Ben Stiller’s best work as a di­rec­tor thus far, the seven-part dra­matic series Escape at Dan­nemora was only up to episode five at press time but will be avail­able in its en­tirety on Stan by the time you read this. It’s based on the true story of a pair of in­mates at the epony­mous up­state New York prison who use sex to per­suade an un­hap­pily mar­ried civil­ian su­per­vi­sor to help them escape. The show’s writ­ers, Brett John­son ( Mad Men, Break­ing Bad) and Michael Tolkin (who wrote/di­rected the creepy 1991 film The Rap­ture) have cre­ated vivid char­ac­ters from th­ese work­ing class un­for­tu­nates that are in­hab­ited in ca­reer-best turns by Beni­cio Del Toro, Paul Dano and Pa­tri­cia Ar­quette. This is one of the past year’s best series. For the fifth year, the col­lege grid­iron cham­pion will be de­ter­mined via a sub­jec­tive brack­eted com­pe­ti­tion that cul­mi­nates in the Col­lege Football Play­off. Weirdly, the con­test isn’t of­fi­cially sanc­tioned by the Na­tional Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (NCAA), and the rea­sons for that are en­er­vat­ingly com­pli­cated. The match will be broad­cast from the five-year-old Levi’s Sta­dium in the San Fran­cisco area, and will pit the De­cem­ber 29 win­ners of the Or­ange Bowl (Al­bama Crim­son Tide vs. Ok­la­homa Soon­ers) and Cot­ton Bowl (Clem­son Tigers vs. Notre Dame Fight­ing Ir­ish) for brag­ging rights. Sen­si­ble money’s on Alabama. The Day the Rock Star Died: Jimi Hen­drix Thurs­day, 8.30pm, Fox­tel Arts Shows such as this series of 15 suc­cinct bi­ogra­phies and un­timely ends of popular mu­si­cians have upped de­mand for dig­i­tally re­vi­talised film clips. In­no­va­tive gui­tarist Jimi Hen­drix died in Lon­don at the peak of his suc­cess in 1970 un­der mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances, thought to be a bar­bi­t­u­ate over­dose. But the show is more in­ter­ested in his legacy: Vet­eran jour­nal­ist Mick Wall mod­estly refers to Hen­drix’s ren­di­tion of Wild Thing as “a sex rit­ual which in­vokes the gods in a realm be­yond space and time”, while au­thor Bar­ney Hoskyns merely calls him “the Pa­ganini of the Fender Stra­to­caster”. Hen­drix sets his gui­tar on fire dur­ing 1967’s Mon­terey Pop fes­ti­val and it all looks and sounds ter­rific. As we all know, ac­tor Bill Mur­ray is not only im­mensely popular, but also no­tably ec­cen­tric. The Bill Mur­ray Sto­ries: Life Lessons Learned from a Myth­i­cal Man (stream­ing on Net­flix from Tues­day) is an an­thol­ogy of those odd sight­ings of Mur­ray photo-bomb­ing wed­ding pho­tos, show­ing up unan­nounced at par­ties and gen­er­ally sur­pris­ing strangers with his ge­nial, patently zonked-out pres­ence. Ac­tors-turned-writer/ di­rec­tors John Fran­cis Da­ley and Jonathan Gold­stein ( Hor­ri­ble Bosses, Va­ca­tion) scored a comic thriller hit last year with Game Night (stream­ing now on FoxFlicks). Ja­son Bate­man and Rachel McA­dams play an oth­er­wise hap­pily mar­ried cou­ple whose com­pet­i­tive­ness gets them in­volved in a sim­u­lated re­al­ity com­pe­ti­tion that be­comes in­creas­ingly less sim­u­lated and fright­en­ingly real — or does it? As the hor­ror film genre con­tin­ues adapt­ing to height­ened ex­pec­ta­tions, it had a ban­ner year in 2018, led by the crit­i­cal and box of­fice suc­cess of ac­tor John Krasin­ski’s di­rec­to­rial ef­fort, A Quiet Place (stream­ing now on FoxFlicks). In a postapoc­a­lyp­tic Amer­ica over­run by blind mon­sters with en­hanced hear­ing, a fam­ily tries to sur­vive by mak­ing no sound what­so­ever.

Pa­tri­cia Ar­quette

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