HDTV Movie Premieres: December 11-17

High Crimes: TV3, 8.30pm Saturday.

High Crimes isn’t high crime drama but it offers two hours of engaging escapism with charismatic leads embroiled in an intriguing, military-elite conspiracy. Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman play odd-couple lawyers defending her ex-Marine husband (Jim Caviezel) after he’s arrested for murdering nine El Salvadorans 10 years earlier. When not making an enemy of the authorities or dodging an El Salvadoran hit man, Judd’s trying to keep recovering alcoholic Freeman clean and sober. (2002)

Old Dogs: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

How can you not put down old dogs like John Travolta and Robin Williams when they headline a comedy this lame? They star as long-time business partners babysitting precocious, seven-year-old twins on the eve of clinching the deal of their lifetimes. (2009)

Separate Lies: TV3, 11.20pm Sunday.

Separate Lies takes one suspenseful, surprising turn after another as it chronicles the breakdown of a marriage amid the wreckage of a fatal hit-and-run accident in a quintessentially English hamlet. A consummate cast helps writer-director Julian Fellowes to navigate the tricky transition from a Hitchcockian thriller, in which good people do bad for the sake of others, to a touching love story that’s typically British in its understatement. Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson and Rupert Everett star. (2004)

Bride and Prejudice: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Monday.

Bollywood spin on Pride and Prejudice that the New York Times quipped was “as rife with cliché as anything ever churned out by Hollywood, but with worse production values and a load of sanctimonious political correctness.” Bend It Like Beckham’s Gurinder Chadha directs Martin Henderson. (2004)

Red Dragon: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Tuesday.

The fourth Hannibal Lecter movie is an effective re-make of the first, Manhunter, which starred CSI’s William Petersen. This version, also set in the ’80s, casts Edward Norton as the ex-FBI agent who, having been nearly murdered by Lecter, enlists his help to trap another ingenious fiend dubbed ‘The Tooth Fairy’ (Ralph Fiennes). Red Dragon isn’t as sleek or thrilling as The Silence Of The Lambs but is more satisfying — and scarier — than the preposterously purple Hannibal (see below). (2002)

My Sister’s Keeper: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Wednesday.

A couple contemplates genetic engineering to try to save their two-year-old’s life in a Kleenex drama that raises challenging dilemmas but ultimately opts for soft and easy solutions. Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook) directs Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin and Jason Partric. (2009)

Team America: World Police: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Wednesday.

South Park meets Thunderbirds in this wicked puppet parody of American foreign policy and Hollywood action movies. As much an assault on Jerry Bruckheimer’s empire as George W Bush’s, it’s a profane, ribald, broadly funny satire that targets everyone in its crossfire, from Michael Moore to North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il (think the Elmer Fudd of despots). Writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone voice most of the characters; Parker also directs. (2004)

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York: TV3, 7.30pm Thursday.

The setting for this kitset sequel shifts to a Big Apple brownstone but otherwise it might as well been called Home Alone Again (naturally). However, what passes for humour this time is mean-spirited and sometimes downright cruel. Less knockabout fun, more knockabout mayhem. (1992)

Hannibal: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Friday.

Grotesquely silly but sumptuously produced sequel to The Silence Of The Lambs, in which Julianne Moore succeeds Jodie Foster as FBI serial killer-stalker Clarice Starling. The third movie to feature fiendish foodie Hannibal Lecter gives him star treatment but is so stylistically overwrought and puerile in its plotting that the result is more risible than bloodcurdling. Ray Liotta co-stars; Ridley Scott directs a screenplay by David Mamet (Ronin, Wag the Dog) and Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List, American Gangster). (2001)

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