HDTV Movie Premieres: December 4-10

Philadelphia: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Saturday.

Jonathan Demme’s tepid potboiler with a conscience stars Tom Hanks, in Oscar-winning form, as a hotshot lawyer who is fired from his heavyweight firm because he has contracted Aids — or so he claims when he hires homophobic, streetwise attorney Denzel Washington to take senior partner Jason Robards to court. Painfully longwinded and politically correct, Philadelphia’s prostitution of a cause for slick, safe drama makes a mockery of the bleeding heart it wears on its sleeve. (1994)

It’s Complicated: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

It’s funny – much more so than you would expect given the track record of writer/director Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, Father of the Bride). True, the trite last act is reminiscent of her previous comedies but for the most part It’s Complicated is a sweet, droll romp, with a love triangle twist, about middle-aged dread: not only learning to date again but, worse, having an affair with the philandering ex- you dumped 10 years earlier. Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep and Steve Martin star. (2009)

Elf: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Wednesday.

Will Ferrell plays an elephantine elf who quits the North Pole for New York City because he literally doesn’t fit in with the rest of Santa’s helpers. What happens next makes for one of the merriest mistletoe romps yet, a joyful take on the meaning of Christmas that’s crammed with inspired sight gags, droll wit, delightful characterisations, exquisite casting and a sweet, soulful innocence that will make you a believer again — if not in Father Christmas then in the magic of movies (and a hilariously buttoned-down Bob Newhart as Papa Elf). (2003)

Home Alone: TV3, 7.30pm Thursday.

This Holy Cow! blockbuster stars Macaulay Culkin as a nine-year-old who’s inadvertently left home alone when his family goes abroad for Christmas. Therein ensues enough juvenile hi-jinks and sentimental twaddle to pad the John Hughes (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes, Trains & Automobiles)-scripted comedy’s length before it climaxes in one of the screen’s funniest slapstick sequences. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern co-star; Chris Columbus, who helmed the first two Harry Potter adventures, directs. (1990)

School of Rock: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Friday.

Jack Black’s knack for transcending hackneyed material continues with this pseudo-subversive feelgood comedy. He plays a dazed and confused guitarist with more ego than talent who impersonates a substitute teacher to make some quick cash — and then tries to win a Battle of the Bands contest using his pupils as backing musicians. Only a performer as wickedly charismatic as Black could enliven such corny, cliched shenanigans. Richard Linklater (Me and Orson Welles, A Scanner Darkly) directs. (2003)

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply