HDTV Movie Premieres: April 2-8

Edward Scissorhands: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Saturday.

Frequently disarming and fanciful fable, a kind of Frankenstein’s Monster Meets the Avon Lady. In his first collaboration with director Tim Burton, Johnny Depp plays, with wondrous sensitivity, the creation of a benevolent inventor who gives him shears for digits. Is it any wonder that an Avon Lady’s daughter (Winona Ryder) finds him a cut above the rest? Both a sly play on Frankenstein’s legacy and a touching morality tale about ignorance and intolerance, it suffers from humdrum humour but boasts heart-tugging tragedy. (1990)

Robin Hood: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

Ridley Scott’s entertaining but flawed take on the Sherwood Forest outlaw was his fourth consecutive collaboration with Russell Crowe. His visually impressive revisionism cloaks the 900-year-old legend within the guise of historical credibility but isn’t dark or Elizabeth-an enough to satisfy adults while being too sombre and complex for kids. If only the storytelling stood out as much as the production and costume design. Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Mark Strong and Max von Sydow co-star. (2010)

Monster in Law: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Sunday.

Why would a double-Oscar winner like Jane Fonda have chosen a romantic-comedy this monstrous for her screen comeback? The former wife of CNN-founder Ted Turner plays a dumped talk show queen who tries to thwart the marriage of her son, a doctor (Michael Vartan), to an office temp-cum-dog walker (Jennifer Lopez). Think Mommie Dearest meets Bridezilla but with the kind of banter that makes every mother-in-law joke you’ve heard sound like an Oscar Wilde witticism. (2005)

The Children of Huang Shi: TV3, 11.55pm Sunday.

This so-called “sweeping but intimate story set against war-torn China in the 1930s” has plenty of creative shortcomings but technically it shines, especially in HD. As the Los Angeles Times observed of the true-life dramatisation, “If you can get past the Eurocentric focus, there are worse ways to pass the time … if only because the glimpse into the time and place are captivating and the images are gorgeous.” Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies) directs Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell and Yun-Fat Chow. (2008)

The Last Song: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Wednesday.

Miley Cyrus plays a stroppy city girl who’s packed off to spend summer with her estranged father in a beachside town. Greg Kinnear co-stars; Julie Anne Robinson, who tried to turn Outrageous Fortune into Scoundrels for US TV, directed the Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook) screenplay. Quipped the New York Times: “A movie that is as stuffed with bogus feeling and overwrought incident as a fast-food burrito.” (2010)


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