HDTV Movie Premieres: December 25-31

Up: Sky Movies, 4.55pm Saturday.

Toon titan Pixar is on the up and up with this funny and touching fantasy about a cranky old man and an eager-beaver boy scout who float off to a mystical South American jungle in a house held aloft by thousands of balloons. It seems you’re never too old or young for adventure, or for movies as enchanting, imaginative and pixel-perfect as this. Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer and Jordan Nagai provide the key voices; Peter Docter (Monsters, Inc) and Bob Peterson direct their own screenplay. (2009)

Ice Age 2: Meltdown: TV3, 7pm Sunday.

Ice Age 2 puts the “stink” into extinction but not into sequels. Meltdown is just as much fun as the first Ice Age, thanks to the dazzling splendour of its ingenious computer-generated animation and a witty screenplay that advances the original. (2008)

The Wolfman: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

Benicio Del Toro is the screen’s first Puerto Rican werewolf in London – although in this re-make he plays Lawrence Talbot as a Victorian thespian whose love of the Bard takes a back seat to the lure of the beast: a wolf-like creature terrorising the English village where his family harbours a fearsome secret. Not surprisingly, the special effects are more startling than the storyline but The Wolfman also is recommended for its art direction. Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt co-star. (2009)

Meet the Spartans: TV3, 8.50pm Sunday.

300 spoof from the Disaster Movie crowd that’s unbelievably imbecilic. Variety summed up the shambles best: “Lazy, lame and painfully unfunny, Meet the Spartans is yet another scrambled-genre parody.” (2008)

Armoured: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Monday.

Predators director Nimrod Antal helmed this heist thriller about a gang of security guards who fall out over plans to hi-jack an armoured truck owned by their employer. The cast is solid – Columbus Short, Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, Amaury Nolasco (TV’s Prison Break) – but critics thought the movie routine at best. Acknowledged the Boston Globe: “A movie like Armoured has been done better in the past. But it has also been done much, much worse, and Antal knows enough not to mess with the sturdy bones of the thing.” (2009)

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