HDTV Movie Premieres: January 29-February 4

The Brothers Bloom: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Saturday.

Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo play dirty rotten siblings – globe-trotting swindlers – who get their “con”-uppance when they embark on one last scam targeting a naïve, New Jersey heiress (Rachel Weisz). Reviews ranged from the ecstatic to the execrable but most echoed Roger Ebert’s: “This movie is lively at times, it’s lovely to look at, and the actors are persuasive in very difficult material. But around and around it goes, and where it stops, nobody by that point much cares.” (2009)

Sin City: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Saturday.

Viewing this ultra-cool, ultra-violent, live-action, digital noir ‘toon is like reading a black-and-white comic book on film. Instead of trying to turn Frank Miller’s graphic novel into a movie, director/editor Robert Rodriguez tried to make cinema into a comic book. The result is gorgeous to behold but also grotesquely and gratuitously ghoulish. Think sinfully seductive pulp fiction with a sadistic, pornographic streak. Mainstream movies don’t come sicker or slicker. Bruce Willis, Clive Owen and Jessica Alba star. (2005)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End: TV2, 7pm Sunday.

“Do you think he plans it all out or just makes it up as he goes along?” The question is asked of that pirate of pizzazz, Captain Jack Sparrow, but it could just as well be directed at the writers of his third extravagant excursion into lionhearted looniness, complete with the pirate lord casting of Rolling Stone Keith Richard. The supernatural plot may be ‘nigh incomprehensible but the comical dialogue, wily characters and eye-popping spectacle still make for remarkably buoyant escapism. (2007)

The Simpsons Movie: TV3, 7pm Sunday.

“D’oh!” nuts rejoice. In the Simpsons’ first big-screen escapade, the gags fly faster and funnier than those of recent TV episodes while the richer, panoramic visuals lend depth and novelty. Credit to the writers for breaking from the show’s confines to sustain a movie-length scenario – Homer puts Springfield on the map by almost having it wiped off the map by the Environmental Protection Agency – even at the risk of too many peripheral characters getting worse than a Kwik-e-Mart deal. (2007)

Up in the Air: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

George Clooney’s “terminator facilitator” loves firing people for a living because of the travel perks – until he has to confront what he does to save his own job. En route he falls for another high flyer (Vera Farmiga) who finds living out of a suitcase just as liberating. How their surprising relationship unfolds amid his showing high-strung rookie Anna Kendrick the ups and downs of what he does makes for adult entertainment that’s funny, telling and, just as you think it’s about to nosedive into sentimental tosh, heartbreakingly grounded. (2009)

There’s Something About Mary: TV3, 8.45pm Sunday.

In this infamous Farrelly Brothers hit, Ben Stiller plays a lonelyheart loser who battles loony stalkers to win the heart of the drop-dead gorgeous high school sweetheart he hasn’t seen since being rushed to hospital as a “bleeder” on prom night 13 years earlier. Thereupon ensues a marathon of gags to gag on — masturbation, lacerated genitals, wizened breasts, seminal fluids, flatulence, eczema, the handicapped — but you’ll laugh so hard you’ll risk an involuntary bodily function of your own. Cameron Diaz and Matt Dillon co-star. (1998)

Taken: TV3, 8.30pm Monday.

Taken would have been a terrific thriller if Transporter scribes Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen didn’t take so many liberties with reality. Liam Neeson is a fantastic tough-guy hero with heart, a resourceful ex-spy who tries to rescue his estranged, teenage daughter (Lost’s Maggie Grace) from white slave traders who abduct her while she’s in Paris. How he ingeniously tracks her down strains credulity but it’s the extreme, albeit expertly edited, over-the-top action that turns Taken into token escapism. (2009)

Amelia: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Wednesday.

Hilary Swank plays America’s sweetheart of the skies, legendary aviator Amelia Earhart, in this wing-and-a-prayer account of her life and disappearance. Most critics scorned Namesake director Mira Nair’s dramatisation. Noted The Los Angeles Times: “So a pioneering feminist in the hands of a feminist filmmaker should have been a perfect match. But like her subject, the filmmaker gets lost in the clouds.” Ewan McGregor, Richard Gere and Christopher Eccleston co-star. (2009)

Saw VI: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Friday.

Sagely observed The Onion AV Club: “Because Saw does nothing to alter the look, tone, and engineered gimmickry from one movie to the next, it keeps going deeper into backstory and character arcs than horror series past, as if this ugly, cheap-looking schlock were somehow The Lord of the Rings.” Or, as Variety so cogently quipped: “A film so frighteningly familiar it could well be called Saw It Already.” (2009)

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