HDTV Movie Premieres: July 23-29

Eagle vs Shark: TV3, 9.30pm Saturday.

This geeky, goofy comedy stars Loren Horsley and Jemaine Clement as looney, lonelyheart losers for whom true love takes a twisted and, for the viewer, increasingly tortuous path. The charm of the leads and Taika Waititi’s (Boy) enterprising direction keep Eagle vs Shark from imploding with idiosyncratic navel-gazing. But the hilarious trailer shows how much funnier the movie could have been with tighter writing and editing, not to mention a plot that offered more to ponder than bizarre behaviour. (2007)

How to Train Your Dragon: Sky Movies, 4.40pm Sunday.

A puny teenage Viking becomes a dragon whisperer when he shows the rest of the village how to tame the most feared fire-breather of all in this comedy-adventure with characters as well drawn as the animation. It’s often breathtakingly cinematic but what makes Dragon magical is how it enchants with a refreshing innocence and wonder long thought extinct in ‘toons. Features the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, David Tennant and America Ferrera. Lilo & Stitch’s Chris Sanders and Dean DeBois direct. (2010)

Grown Ups: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

Five childhood friends reunite for a July 4 weekend in memorial to their former basketball coach. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade star in what the Christian Science Monitor succinctly summed up as “a movie that at best is irrelevant and at worst is unwatchable”. Concurred the New York Times: “It doesn’t get worse than Grown Ups, Adam Sandler’s sloppy entry into this year’s man-child-comedy sweepstakes. Lazy, mean-spirited, incoherent, infantile and, above all, witless.” (2010)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine: TV3, 8.30pm Monday.

Nine-year-old boys and X-Men fans will think Wolverine just the cat’s whiskers but the first in a new prequel franchise barely scratches the surface of what might have been with sharper scripting and more emphasis on mythology than mayhem. Still, it’s good fun in a “Thank God It’s Friday” kind of way, with the sensational stunts and visual effects offsetting a storyline that demands leaps of logic beyond even the mutant hero’s sprightliness. Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber and Danny Huston star. (2009)

The Losers: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Monday.

The Losers make The A-Team look like the B-team. They’re a crack squad of special forces soldiers who go rogue after a CIA double-cross puts them on the trail of a fiendishly evil mastermind who plans to get rich from an eco-friendly bomb that destroys from within without polluting the environment. Most of the movie makes even less sense but if you’re in the mood for a live-action cartoon that’s big on numbskull banter and mind-numbing boom-boom, then The Losers will be a winner. (2009)

The Fabulous Baker Boys: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Monday.

Smart, sassy romantic drama with a wry, bittersweet sense of humour and performances so irresistible you’ll want an encore. Michelle Pfeiffer plays a gum-chewing, chain-smoking, ex-escort companion whose raw honesty and spirited pragmatism lights up the lives of over-the-hill piano men Jeff and Beau Bridges when they hire her as their sultry torch singer. Pfeiffer’s earthy sensuality dominates but it’s not only her who sings: so does the dialogue by director Steve Koves, whose drama is as fascinating as the rhythm. (1989)

Leap Year: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Wednesday.

The critics didn’t fall for this romantic-comedy about an American woman (Amy Adams) who goes to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend of four years – only to encounter plenty of “troubles” en route: “trips and thuds” (USA Today); “an uneven romantic comedy that feels as fresh as a hunk of week-old soda bread” (The Hollywood Reporter); “pleasant enough overall, if also somewhat gratingly old-fashioned” (Variety);  “mostly awful” (Time); “Irish eyes will be hard pressed to grimace, let alone smile” (Empire). (2010)

Ghost Town: TV3, 8.30pm Thursday.

Said the New York Times of Ricky Gervais’ first starring role in a Hollywood feature: “A misanthropic dentist, a roguish ghost and a zany Egyptologist: as these unlikely companions scamper around Manhattan in the buoyant comedy Ghost Town, they resurrect the spirits of classic movie curmudgeons like WC Fields and such romantic comedians as Cary Grant and Carole Lombard in Woody Allen territory.” Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni co-star; David Koepp (Secret Window, Stir of Echoes) directs his own screenplay. (2008)

Hide and Seek: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Thursday.

Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning head an excellent cast in an otherwise undistinguished thriller about a newly widowed psychologist who moves to the country to raise his traumatised daughter. It’s not just audiences who were in two minds about Hide and Seek: it was released on DVD with four alternate endings. Harper’s Island creator Ari Schlossberg wrote the screenplay; X-Men’s Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue (Piranha), ex-Mrs Steven Spielberg Amy Irving and Melissa Leo (The Fighter) co-star. (2005)

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

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

Leave a Reply