HDTV Movie Premieres: July 16-22

Despicable Me: Sky Movies, 5pm Saturday.

This ingenious ‘toon, about a dastardly criminal mastermind who must fend off an upstart challenger to his world domination plans while resisting the angelic overtures of three orphans, is impeccably presented in HD. The fabulous animation has a retro-futuristic continental feel while the storyline nails what it’s like to be an adult no longer in control. Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin direct; Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews and Will Arnertt lend their voices. (2010)

The Matrix Revolutions: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Saturday.

The last and least in the trilogy was succinctly summed up by the Los Angeles Times when it wondered: “How did something that started out so cool get so dorky?” Concurred the Washington Post: “The film is a soggy mess, essentially a loud, wild 100-minute battle movie bookended by an incomprehensible beginning and a laughable ending.” Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Hugo Weaving star in a sequel the Wachowski Brothers made back-to-back with Matrix Reloaded. (2003)

Toy Story 3: Sky Movies, 7pm Sunday.

Don’t mistake this marvellous Toy sequel for toddler fodder. Indeed, adults probably will appreciate its sophistication more than kids. Funny, touching and ingeniously executed, it continues Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang’s adventures 10 years on from Toy Story 2, when Andy’s off to college and they’re off to the dump – or, even worse, a stalag-like daycare centre. Although this is meant to be the last Toy Story, it’s so great you’ll wish the franchise could continue to infinity … and beyond! (2010)

The Karate Kid: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

The kidult kung-fu crowdpleaser gets dusted off for a new generation with this overlong re-make set in China, where an apartment block caretaker  teaches a bullied Detroit youngster self-defence. It’s more exotic than the original but has none of the punch or personality. Harald Zwart (Pink Panther 2) directs Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. As The Hollywood Reporter said: “It’s a measure of the times that the new version of The Karate Kid manages to be longer and bigger-budgeted than the original while having lesser impact.” (2010)

Pulp Fiction: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Sunday.

Quentin Tarantino’s hip gangster hit mixes black comedy with pop culture chic, graphic violence, sly laughs, warped wit and false alarms. It also offers three stories for the price of one: a boxer who’s supposed to throw a Mob fight but doesn’t; a hit man babysitting his boss’s drug-addled wife for the evening; and the same hired gun and his partner executing their boss’s orders. John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz and Samuel L Jackson star. (1994)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: TV3, 8.30pm Monday.

Revenge of the Fallen is one loud, effing sequel. Not surprisingly, critics hammered it but if you’re in the mood for mind-blowing, mechanised mayhem leavened by goofy, Gremlins-style gags, this sci-fi spectacular delivers with dynamite grunt. It’s more fun than the original and director Michael Bay and his crew crank up the visual effects to a level that’s so beyond state of the art it transforms expectations of what Hollywood’s whizzkid will do next — just as Transformers: Dark of the Moon has done. (2009)

Deadly Impact: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Monday.

Sean Patrick Flannery, who was TV’s Young Indiana Jones, can’t keep up with his namesake in this straight-to-DVD thriller about a traumatised cop who helps the FBI track the serial bomber responsible for forcing him out of the force eight years earlier. It was directed by Robert Kurtzman, who shouldn’t have given up his visual effects day job on franchises like the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix) and Amanda Wyss, who was Nate Haskell’s ex-wife on CSI, co-star. (2010)

The Runaways: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Wednesday.

This adaptation of Cherie Currie’s book, Neon Angel, about how she and Joan Jett stormed the charts with their rock ban, stars Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart in a dramatisation that earned critical applause if not a standing ovation. As The Dominion Post observed: “A pretty good, but maybe slightly cock-eyed account of the birth, life, and implosion of the world’s first all-woman rock band.” Director Floria Sigismondi and Currie collaborated on the screenplay; Tatum O’Neal plays Currie’s mother. (2010)

I Love You, Man: TV3, 8.30pm Thursday.

Quipped Entertainment Weekly of this comedy about a friendless groom-to-be who embarks on a run of “dates” to find a bloke he can bond quickly enough with to be his best man: “By far the best Judd Apatow comedy that Judd Apatow had nothing at all to do with.” John Hamburg, who scripted Little Fockers, directs his own screenplay; Paul Rudd (Role Models), Rashida Jones (Cop Out), Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother), Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl) and JK Simmons (The Closer) star. (2009)

30 Days of Night: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Thursday.

It’s a pity the filmmakers didn’t exploit 30 Days of Night’s blood-curdling premise about a small town in Alaska under attack from vampires more provocatively than settling for clichéd townsfolk being picked off one-at-a-time by the nocturnal killers, particularly when the vampires are depicted with such creepy panache. There’s a handful of startling scenes but not enough to stop 30 Days from being even longer in the telling than in the tooth. David Slade (Eclipse) directs Josh Hartnett, Melissa George and Danny Huston. (2007)

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