HDTV Movie Highlights: May 22-28

No Country for Old Men: TV3, 8.30pm Saturday.

Joel and Ethan Coen ventured back into Fargo country with this fierce, tense, weirdly atmospheric thriller about a botched drug deal with lethal tentacles. Tommy Lee Jones plays the Andy Taylor of West Texas, a sage, soulful sheriff on the trail of a killer with a compressed air canister (Javier Bardem) whose victims range from the random to the targeted, including a hunter on the run with fortune in drug money (Josh Brolin). Complex, complicated and bloodcurdling but leavened with breathtaking artistry and haunting, homespun wisdom, No Country for Old Men revitalises the western genre with a vengeance. (2007)

The Reader: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Saturday.

Stephen Daldry (The Hours, Billy Elliot) earned his third consecutive Oscar and Bafta directing nominations for The Reader. But it was star Kate Winslet who took home a trophy of each, for playing a traumatised tram conductor in 1958 Berlin whose affair with a teenager (David Kross) has tragic repercussions. Whether you interpret The Reader as being about German guilt over the Holocaust or coming to terms with having loved someone with a dark, unspeakable past, it’s a powerful, complex depiction of the fundamental differences between legality and morality. (2008)

Jurassic Park 3: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Saturday.

They’re back … and more ferocious than ever. Think T-Rex on steroids, and with appetites to match. This sequel is a lost cause if analysed beyond its special effects-driven spectacle and suspense but a must-see when you live in a country without a Jurassic Park theme park ride. Sam Neill, William H Macy, Tea Leoni and Laura Dern star. (2001)

Transporter 3: Sky Movies 8.30pm Sunday.

The latest in the rowdy Audi franchise breaks as many laws of physics as the hero does his own rules of conduct. Jason Statham buckles up for another exciting but spectacularly stupid spin as the ultra-cool killer courier who usually delivers dangerous goods without deliberation — except when his “cargo” is a young Ukranian woman who’s been abducted to exploit her father’s powerful political connections. There are some great hi-tech twists but the stunts and heroics are so extreme that the movie becomes ludicrous. (2008)

City of Angels: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Sunday.

Hollywood re-make of Wings Of Desire, starring Nicolas Cage as an angel who forfeits his celestial privileges to make a life on Earth with Meg Ryan’s surgeon. Angels never soars as it should but is imaginatively made and rewarding. Brad Silberling (Land of the Lost) directs; Dennis Franz (NYPD Blue) and Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street) co-star. (1998)

The Namesake: TV3, 10.25pm Sunday.

The Namesake is deceptively simple culture clash-cum-generation gap drama about an Indian family trying to assimilate into American society. Slow moving but intimate, absorbing and thoughtful, it stars Kal Penn and Tabu as 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 (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)

SWAT: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Wednesday.

Big-gun re-make of the ‘70s TV series about the Special Weapons And Tactics squad that controversial LA police chief Darryl Gates set up. The tag line, “Even cops dial 911,” suggests the shoot-ups will be tinged with sly humour but the cliche and body counts far out-number the gags. While fans of the original may not like all the liberties taken with the characters, at least the plot stretches the series’ format by having a rogue SWAT cop turn bad and rope in most of LA’s gangs to reap a $100 million reward from a criminal in police custody. Samuel L Jackson, Colin Farrell and Michelle Rodriguez star. (2003)

Joy Ride: TV3, 8.30pm Thursday.

Duel meets Breakdown in this exciting cross-country thriller about odd-couple brothers who play a prank that backfires — their truck-driver victim turns out to be a psychotic with a grudge. John Dahl (Red Rock West, The Great Raid) directs Paul Walker (Fast & Furious) and Steve Zahn (Sahara, A Perfect Getaway). (2001)

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