Screen grabs: The best of the small screen



Generally I overlook the problems of the obviously ageing Lego format – the repetitive gameplay, frustrating controls and uninspired puzzles – because the fun that Lego brings to nostalgic franchises is undeniable. But while the jokes, banter and optionally co-operative jumping and punching of prior games is all here in Lego The Incredibles, the narrow scope makes for a less enjoyable experience. With only two films' worth of content to work with, the game lacks the fun references and fan service that makes the endless brick-punching and collecting palatable. You play through the stories of the films (starting with the sequel, which is an odd choice), switching characters to use various powers, smash everything down to its component parts and rebuild to solve puzzles, all while collecting tiny studs to unlock special extras. Outside the story there are 100 characters to unlock and use in the enjoyable and crime-filled open world. But it's clear the developers had to stretch to get this much stuff out of The Incredibles, especially as compared to previous games centred around Marvel or DC.

Lego Incredibles.

Lego Incredibles.



It's such a simple premise, yet ABC's You Can't Ask That, returning for a third series, has resonated with viewers; the format, in which groups of minority, misunderstood or marginalised Australians answer uncomfortable questions submitted anonymously by members of the public, straight to camera, has exceeded four million plays on ABC iview and has been licensed internationally. Earlier this year the series won the award for best reality and factual entertainment at the prestigious Rose d'Or Awards in Berlin. With the aim of breaking down stereotypes and offering insights into the lives of people who endure curiosity, judgement and often outright abuse on a daily basis, You Can't Ask That has previously covered blindness, refugees, former prisoners, the homeless. wheelchair users, transgender people and those in the military. This new season includes people who have appeared on reality TV, former cult members, people with schizophrenia and, interestingly, priests. Eye-opening, poignant, sad and funny – often all at once – this is one of the ABC's best original programs in years.

Scene from the film For the Plasma.

Scene from the film For the Plasma.



There's been a curious boom in films about young women in the woods, but this knowingly lo-fi first feature, from the young American team of Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan, plots a course all its own. Helen (Rosalie Lowe) and her assistant Charlie (Anabelle LeMieux) are old friends sharing a summer house in the woods of Maine, where they monitor an elaborate surveillance system meant to warn of forest fires – though Helen has another, more mysterious goal in view. What takes shape isn't so much a story as a perplexing intellectual design, involving international finance, frames within the frame, naval flags, a nearby lighthouse, and a possibly fictional species of Japanese dung beetle. As in Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess, seeming realism develops into uncanny science fiction, as if the film itself were an abstract system constantly in the process of transformation: the performances are wilfully stilted, while the whimsical electronic score by Japanese composer Keiichi Suzuki suggests we could be watching interludes from some inscrutable video game. It's as precious as it sounds, but the non-sequiturs have a sunny, elusive charm.



Now in its 10th season, but its first on Netflix, Jerry Seinfeld's former web series now has a bigger budget, but the premise remains the same: Seinfeld picks up a high-profile comedian (except for that episode in which he was driven around with Barack Obama) in a usually highly desirable or collectible car, and takes them out for coffee and a supposedly unscripted chat. The format – which was originally designed to be watched on smartphones – remains the same, although some of Seinfeld's guests this season are picked up decidedly unremarkable cars: talk show host Ellen DeGeneres gets a lift in a Toyota Land Cruiser and the opening episode sees Alec Baldwin travelling back to his home town (where Seinfeld also grew up) in a 1970s "bomb" of a BMW coupe. Guests talking trivia, comedy and anecdotes from their careers this season include Dana Carvey, Dave Chappelle, Tracy Morgan and, in one of his final interviews, Seinfeld's own comedy hero, Jerry Lewis.

The third series of You Can't Ask That on ABC.

The third series of You Can’t Ask That on ABC.



Sam Raimi helped create the modern superhero movie with his Spider-Man films, but those who prefer his early, goofy work should check out this 1990 pulp fantasy, made between the second and third instalments of his Evil Dead trilogy. Liam Neeson stars as a mild-mannered, cardigan-wearing scientist who survives an attack on his laboratory by the henchmen of an evil real-estate developer (Colin Friels), emerging horribly disfigured and impervious to pain. Luckily, his current research project involves creating "synthetic skin," allowing him to adopt a series of disguises and carry out his revenge – that is, if he doesn't expose his true identity by staying too long in the sunlight. This plot is the stuff of expressionist nightmare, but the main emotion conveyed is the fun of making a movie: the visual distortions and over-the-top plot flourishes (like a villain who collects severed fingers) are cheerfully tongue-in-cheek. But Neeson and his love interest Francis McDormand deliver the corny dialogue with all the sincerity they can muster, and this is a far more personal, eccentric artistic statement than most Hollywood fantasy blockbusters today.

Jerry Seinfeld with Jerry Lewis in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Jerry Seinfeld with Jerry Lewis in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

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