HD Highlights: August 18

Sky Movies Greats Premiere: Wanted (Sky 22, 8.30, 5.1) Wanted wants for virtually everything except action. Its non-stop assault on physics and logic makes for a funny and inventive first half but thereafter not even James McAvoy’s bravura turn as a uptight claustrophobe who’s recruited to be an assassin for a secret fraternity can stop this initially exhilarating conspiracy thriller from self-destructing into an orgy of violence and silliness. At least the special effects are fantastic and the HD presentation is breathtaking. Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie co-star;  Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) directs. ✭✭✭

Hyundai Country Calendar (TV One, 7.00) A hobby vineyard develops into a big family-run winery. ✭✭✭✭

ITM Fishing Show (TV3, 7.00) Matt is new to Kayak fishing, and he’s never fished the South Taranaki coast. So it’s the perfect place for him to go and compete with 200 kayak fishing enthusiasts. ✭✭✭

CSI: New York (TV3, 8.30, 5.1) The CSIs probe the murders of a journalist and his friend, who were investigating gold fraud. ✭✭✭

Network Movie Premiere: The Other Man (TV2, 9.30, 5.1) A cuckolded husband tracks down his rival in this critically derided thriller starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney. “The biggest mystery in this wannabe thriller is why such top-notch actors would sign on for such a dreary movie that amounts to a mediocre soap opera,” said USA Today while the New York Times summed it up as a “muddled little dud of a melodrama”. (2009) ✭✩

CSI: Miami (TV3 9.30, 5.1) Horatio tries to protect a mixed-martial-arts fighter from his brother, who recently escaped from prison. ✭✭✭

Movie: The Namesake (TV3, 10.25, 5.1, R) This deceptively simple culture clash-cum-generation gap drama about an Indian family trying to assimilate into American society is slow moving but intimate, absorbing and thoughtful. Irrfan Khan and Tabu play an immigrant couple who, after an arranged marriage, settle in suburban New York so they can offer their children the opportunities they never had. Their maturing relationship and cultural estrangement are subtly contrasted with their son (House’s Kal Penn) and daughter’s (Sahira Nair) evolution into adults who have more of an affinity with Americana than their Indian traditions, creating a rift over roots that only grief can reverse. (2006) ✭✭✭✩

Network Movie Premiere: Surrogates (TV2, 11.15, 5.1) This big-budget sci-fi thriller from the director of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Jonathan Mostow, shows there’s no substitute for good writing. The idea behind Surrogates, which is set in a future where avatar-like robots do the work of the humans who control them from the safety of their homes, is inspired but the bland execution never capitalises on its possibilities while the special effects are surprisingly underwhelming. Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell and Rosamund Pike star. (2009) ✭✭✭✩

Network Movie Premiere: Rocknrolla (TV2, 1.05, 5.1)  Rocknrolla snatches moments of the “Mockney” magic that made writer/director Guy Ritchie’s first movie about dodgy EastEnd gangsters, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, so memorable. But after a rollicking start, the marathon of head-banging, back-stabbing, foul-mouthed mayhem starts to lose momentum as it becomes clear that this aging rocknrolla, despite wanting to illuminate how the new-millennium London’s changed, is still stuck in the same old groove – unlike Tom Wilkinson, who gets to let his hair down with a vengeance. (2010) ✭✭✭✩

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