HD Feed: September 23

HD movies abound tonight, from the network premiere of Cop Out (TV2, 8.30) to another re-run of There’s Something About Mary (TV3, 8.30) and the Sky premieres of The Help (Sky 20, 8.30) and A History of Violence (Sky 22, 8.30). Action-comedy Cop Out stars Bruce Willis and 30 Rock’s Tracy Morgan as two of New York’s not-so-funniest while  more grit(s) and less molasses would have helped ‘60s civil rights drama The Help to transcend its purple “coloured folks” patches. It stars Emma Stone as a Mississippi maverick-cum-aspiring journalist who exposes the working conditions of black maids in her racist hometown of Jackson  and is supremely filmed and acted but overlong and over-egged. David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence is  a bloody retribution thriller with a veneer of complexity about the human condition, starring Viggo Mortensen as a small-town nobody whose startling heroism summons up ghosts from a suspected gangster past.

According to Cronenberg’s DVD commentary, 2005’s Violence was the first American studio release to show a “69” sex scene. But it was There’s Something About Mary that had everyone recoiling in horror and hilarity seven years earlier. In this infamous Farrelly Brothers hit, Ben Stiller plays a lonelyheart loser who battles loony stalkers to win the heart of the drop-dead gorgeous high school sweetheart (Cameron Diaz) he hasn’t seen since being rushed to hospital as a “bleeder” on prom night 13 years earlier. Thereupon ensues a marathon of gags to gag on — masturbation, lacerated genitals, wizened breasts, seminal fluids, flatulence, eczema, the handicapped — but you’ll laugh so hard you’ll risk an involuntary bodily function of your own. 

Stiller’s production company has just sold two comedies to the ABC network. Please Knock is loosely based on Stiller’s life and revolves around a top actor who moves back into the apartment building where his parents live when he fears he’s losing touch with reality and his family; The Notorious Mollie Flowers is named after a small-town do-gooder who does an about-face after her reputation is sullied by a crime she didn’t commit. If the pilots are greenlit as series, they will air on TV2 because TVNZ has an output deal with ABC Studios, which will be producing the shows.

Under its deal with 20th Century Fox TV, TV3 could wind up with a live-action comedy series from Family Guy’s Seth McFarlane. He is teaming with two of his Ted collaborators to make a pilot about two men in their 30s whose lives are turned upside down when their fathers — the world’s worst dads — unexpectedly move in with them. And in the works at TVNZ’s biggest supplier, Warner Bros, is a conspiracy drama from JJ Abrams (Fringe, Person of Interest) and Oscar-nominated director Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).

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