HDTV Movie Premieres: June 11-17

Movie of the Week – We Were Soldiers: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Friday.

Exceptionally vivid and moving Vietnam war drama that reunites Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace with star Mel Gibson. It’s based on the true-life exploits of Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore who, in 1965, led a few hundred Marines against an enemy fourfold in the Ira Drang Valley. The 7th Cavalry’s skin-of-their-teeth survival opened Moore’s eyes to the impossibility of the US ever “running those little bastards back home” but the movie is more concerned with courage and commitment than politics. The battle scenes are heartstopping — even better than Band of Brothers’ and Black Hawk Down’s — and Gibson seamlessly segues from Action Man to Actor Sublime. The rest of the cast is five-star, particularly Sam Elliott’s mix of gruffness and gravitas as a sergeant with a heart of bold. (2002)

The Hitcher: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Saturday.

In this remake of the 1982 Rutger Hauer thriller, a psychopathic hitchhiker plays cat-and-mouse with a couple in New Mexico. Sharpe’s Sean Bean and FlashForward’s Zachary Knighton star. Reviews ranged from “the Jessica Simpson of psycho-killer flicks – cheerfully in touch with its own brainlessness” (New York Post) to “just plain bad, and boring to boot” (Los Angeles Times). Surprisingly, it’s airing on Sky’s ‘modern classics’ movie channel. (2007)

Iron Man 2: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

Whatever the shortcomings of this pyrotechnic extravaganaza, ranging from an insufferably smug superhero that Robert Downey Jr makes even less likeable to a screenplay, by Tropic Thunder’s Justin Theroux, that flies off in as many directions as Iron Man, it was a marvel to behold on Blu-ray. Jon Favreau again directs; Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle also return while new to the franchise are Scarlett Johansson, as Black Widow, and Mickey Rourke, as Whiplash.(2010)

Awake: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Sunday.

Quipped Film Threat of this thriller about a man whose “anaesthetic awareness” affliction sees him undergoing heart surgery while conscious but paralysed: “This is a movie that should have a medical warning in its trailer. Caution: viewing may be hazardous to your filmgoing fun; side effects can include drowsiness, irritation and difficulty swallowing.” Jumper’s Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba star. (2007)

Scott Pilgrim vs the World: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Wednesday.

Michael Cera plays a 23-year-old musician who must defeat the “seven exes of evil” to win his true love. Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) directs a screenplay he adapted from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel with Inglourious Basterds star Michael Bacall. The Dominion Post’s Graeme Tuckett likened it to a cross between Juno and The Matrix: “An audacious, gleeful, mischievous little film.” (2010)

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