HDTV Movie Premieres: February 19-25

Walk The Line: TV3, 8.30pm Saturday

This account of the dark forces that bedevilled Man in Black Johnny Cash might tread the same rise-and-fall path as other showbiz bios but is distinguished by an ambitious narrative and authentic performers who are musicians and singers in their own right (Joaquin Phoenix captures Cash’s every nuance and was as deserving of an Oscar as Reese Witherspoon). James Mangold (Knight and Day, 3:10 to Yuma) directs; Gennifer Goodwin (TV’s Big Love) and Robert Patrick co-star. (2005)

Batman Forever: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Saturday

Pow! Sock! Wallop! You might marvel at the careening comic book carnage if you’re a Batman-forever freak but not if you like your fun and thrills leavened with wit rather than humour, storytelling rather than non-stop action. Val Kilmer is a better Batman than Michael Keaton but Jim Carrey’s The Riddler is a kind of Nutty Professor from hell while Tommy Lee Jones’s Two-Face could be mistaken for Jack Nicholson’s The Joker playing with a split deck. Nicole Kidman, Drew Barrymore and Chris O’Donnell co-star. (1995)

Shutter Island: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday

This exercise in suspense and panache relies on too many contrivances to convince but the layers of Hitchcockian intrigue make Martin Scorsese’s sumptuous, psychological thriller hypnotic and evocative of the McCarthy-ist era in which it’s set. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a grief-stricken US Marshal reluctantly investigating the disappearance of an inmate from an isolated asylum for the criminally insane. Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow co-star. (2010)

The Wedding Date: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Sunday

Rocky romantic-comedy about a single New Yorker (Debra Messing) who hires a professional escort (Dermot Mulroney, who’s been cast as the new Jim Rockford in a re-make of The Rockford Files) to be her “boyfriend” at her sister’s wedding in London, where the best man is her ex-fiancé. Amy Adams, Jack Davenport and Sarah Parish co-star; Dana Fox (What Happens in Vegas, Couples Retreat) wrote the screenplay. As the Washington Post said: “Amusing premise, not-so-amusing execution.” (2005)

Ninja Assassin: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Monday

Quipped the Boston Globe of this chop-socky tosh, starring Naomie Harris (Street Kings) as a killer who turns the tables on the gang that raised him: “It’s like Bob Fosse night at the martial-arts studio. Most of the killing here is done with bladed throwing stars that, like the ninjas themselves, arrive from nowhere. They appear to have been used to edit the film as well.” James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) directs; Babylon 5 creator J Michael Straczynski had a hand in the screenplay. (2009)

A Lot Like Love: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Monday

Nigel Cole (Made in Dagenham, Calendar Girls) directed this romantic-comedy/drama about a man and a woman who meet on a flight from Los Angeles to New York, where they join the mile High Club but afterwards decide they’re ill suited. However, over the next seven years they keep running into each other until the inevitable happens … Ashton Kutcher, Gulliver’s Travels’ Amanda Peet, Hawaii Five-O’s Taryn Manning and Off the Map’s Aimee Garcia star. Watch for screenwriter Colin Patrick Lynch as the upstairs neighbour. (2005)

The Haunting in Connecticut: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Wednesday

The Fourth Kind’s Elias Koteas stars in this variation on The Amityville Horror, about a dying teenager who starts to see dead people when his family rents a house haunted by its past: a funeral home that was used for seances. Based on an apparently true story, it initially intrigues and unnerves but then becomes more frustrating than frightening as the characters and their predicament descend into genre clichés. (2009)

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One Response to “HDTV Movie Premieres: February 19-25”

  1. Walk the Line was in 1.78, not the original 2.40 aspect ratio. Boo Hiss.

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