HDTV Movie Premieres: April 9-15

The Devil Wears Prada: TV3, 8.30pm Saturday.

The model for TV’s Ugly Betty is a smarter and funnier high-fashion spoof but still not without its “Ahem” moments. Meryl Streep runs away with the catwalk cattiness crown as a Machiavellian magazine editor who grooms grungy wannabe-journo Anne Hathaway into a gopher with glam. The first hour is witty, wicked and slick but Devil’s second half wears its true colours — sanctimony and sentimentality — on its sleeve. Talk about all dressed up with no place to go … Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci and Simon Baker co-star. (2006)

Donnie Brasco: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Saturday.

Stunning Mob drama in which Al Pacino plays a down-and-out wiseguy who’s betrayed by an FBI agent (Johnny Depp) close to cracking up under the schizophrenic strain of working undercover. You might think you’ve seen it all before — Mob infiltrator gets too close to his quarry and is seduced by their friendship and power — but Donnie Brasco skirts genre cliches to present a mesmerising and unglamourous spin on the premise, one that’s melancholic, intimate and immensely satisfying. (1997)

The Gift: TV3, 10.45pm Saturday.

Red herring-rife murder-mystery starring Cate Blanchett as a widowed solo mum with a psychic’s knack for seeing both into the future and the past who becomes the skeptical police’s last resort when the floozy fiancee (Katie Holmes) of her son’s teacher (Greg Kinnear) disappears and the prime suspect is the wife-beating husband (Keanu Reeves) of a client (Hilary Swank). The script isn’t without shortcomings but it’s refreshingly dense and keenly realised by Sam Raimi’s tense, atmospheric direction. (2001)

Men in Black II: TV3, 7pm Sunday.

Move over Cliffie and Newman — posties have a new icon: Tommy Lee Jones’ Man In Black-turned-Man In Blue Shorts is one of this snappy sequel’s funniest running gags. The ex-secret agent is brought out of Post Office retirement by former MIB partner Will Smith to thwart sexy-yet-lethal ET Lara Flynn Boyle … Forget the plot, just sit back and enjoy the fantastic effects, sensational creatures and deadpan humour that make this a droll, eye-popping hoot. (2002)

Law Abiding Citizen: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

This sleek cat-and-mouse thriller breaks laws of reason with gung-ho gusto but still captivates with ingenious twists, sharp production values and the troubling ethical questions it raises about crime and punishment. Gerard Butler plays the unbelievably resourceful victim of a brutal home invasion who, having avenged his family’s slaying, targets from behind bars those in the criminal justice system that had let the killer off lightly, including expedient prosecutor Jamie Foxx. (2009)

Love Happens: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Wednesday.

Something else happens in this misjudged romance starring Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston. As the Los Angeles Times observed: “That this superficial romance between a successful self-help author and a nurturing florist is also a film about overcoming the tragedy of losing a loved one only makes its clichéd insipidity that much more irksome.” However, the Washington Post called it “the rare Hollywood romance concerned with emotions other than love at first sight”. (2009)

Shrek: Sky Movies Greats, 7pm Friday.

An anything-but by-the-book fairytale about an oafish, ostracised ogre and a wisecracking donkey who rescue a princess bride. This new breed of ‘toon delighted kids with its gross and often naughty humour while enchanting adults with its sophistication, irreverence and realism. Kiwi Andrew Adamson (the first two Narnia chronicles) and Shark Tale’s Vicky Jenson direct; Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and John Lithgow lend their voices. (2001)


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