HD Highlights: September 2

Sky Movies Premiere: Cowboys & Aliens (Sky 20, 8.30, 5.1) The weirdest western since 1966’s Billy the Kid vs Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter is also the real McCoy. The fantastical plot may revolve around an ET conspiracy to plunder gold from the Wild West. But everything else, from the rugged New Mexico landscapes to the cross-draw holsters and unheroic hats, have the ring of true-grit truth while Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig provide the Butch-and-Sundance chemistry. Iron Man’s Jon Favreau directs. (2011) ✭✭✭✩

❑ The Zoo (TV One, 7.00) The Zoo’s new spider monkeys deliver a lot of laughs; Molek the tiger undergoes a root canal; and keepers uncover some of the mysteries of our rarest frogs. ✭✭✭✩

❑ Modern Family (TV3, 7.00, 5.1, R) Gloria isn’t pleased with Jay’s reaction to the arrival of Javier, Manny’s infamously unreliable dad. Benjamin Bratt guest stars. ✭✭✭✭

❑ Nothing Trivial (TV One, 8.30) Brian’s let off the hook by Courtney; Emma introduces Brian to her parents; and Michelle deals with an unruly visitor. ✭✭✭

Movie: The 40 Year Old Virgin (TV3, 8.30, 5.1, R) This ribald romantic-comedy about a bachelor with a monk’s personal life stars Steve Carell as a 40-year-old who’s never had sex – until his workmates find out and try to engineer some close encounters of the fervid kind. Virgin is smarter — and sweeter — than it sounds but can’t disguise a coarse, misogynistic streak and uneven writing that veers from mean-spirited to sentimentally contrived. Judd Apatow directs; Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen co-star. (2005) ✭✭✭✩

Network Movie Premiere: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (TV2, 8.35, 5.1) The adopted son of a Persian king joins forces with a rival empire’s princess to retrieve from the clutches of evil a dagger that can turn back time … Even the most undemanding of action-fantasy fans may want to turn back time after watching this juvenile video game adaptation that’s handsomely filmed but ham-fistedly made. The dialogue’s diabolical while the twist makes the whole adventure as meaningless as most of Ben Kinglsey’s post-Gandhi career. Gemma Arterton (Tamara Drewe, Clash of the Titans) and Alfred Molina co-star. (2010) ✭✭✩

❑ Offspring (TV One, 9.30) Season premiere: Dr Nina Proudman and the fabulously messy Proudman family return in their search for love, fulfilment and balance in the chaos of modern life. ✭✭✭

❑ Homeland (TV3, 10.50, 5.1, R) As Carrie and Saul reel from the news that Walker is alive, the intelligence community clashes on the best way to capture him. ✭✭✭✭✭

Network Movie Premiere: A Nightmare on Elm Street (TV2, 11.00, 5.1) This child-scratcher is reborn in a re-make that’s more competent than blood-curdling. There’s not a lot here that’s new if you’re familiar with the ‘80s franchise about a supernatural killer who avenges his death in the dreams of those he blames. But it’s sharply made and updates Freddy Kruger’s CV with a child molestation twist. Rock music video vet Samuel Bayer directs Jackie Earle Haley (TV’s Human Target), Kyle Gallner (The Haunting in Connecticut) and Rooney Mara (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). (2010) ✭✭✩

❑ The Good Wife (TV3, 12.30, 5.1, R) Alicia and Will have only 72 hours to find the smoking gun that proves the train company, and not the three engineers, is responsible for the crash, thus securing the widows their pensions the company is holding back. Raising Hope’s Martha Plimpton guest stars. ✭✭✭✭

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