HDTV Movie Premieres: October 2-8

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Saturday.

Johnny Depp is the Bugs Bunny of buccaneers in this pirates-parrots-and-pearls romp that nearly won him his first Oscar. His goofy, roguish classic trickster owes more to the Looney Tunes gang and Groucho Marx than Long John Silver. Hence, this pirate ghost ship lark being packed to the gunnels with as much humour and hi-jinks as high-seas heroics. But while absurdism and special effects abound, so does authenticity. Director Gore Verbinksi insisted on Depp sporting a genuine, 17th century pistol and the stars were trained in swordmanship by veteran swordmaster Bob Anderson (whose first film was the 1952 Errol Flynn swashbuckler, The Master Of Ballantrae). Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley co-star. (2003)

Drag Me To Hell: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

Fans of Evil Dead director Sam Raimi’s first horror film since 2000’s The Gift would have been mad as hell about it not being released here on Blu-ray. So this is their first chance to see it in HD – although the 1080i presentation is unlikely to make enduring the gory, tawdry, daffy thriller about a young woman who’s cursed to die in three days anything less than purgatory. Alison Lohman, Justin Long (Going the Distance) and David Paymer (TV’s The Good Wife) star; the Blu-ray of Raimi’s far better Evil Dead is due here in December (the sequel, which was released by a different distributor, already is on Blu-ray). (2009)

Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer: TV3, 8.30pm Monday.

Dopey but diverting sequel in which the freakish superheroes team with their nemesis, Dr Doom, to save the world from extra-terrestrial extermination. It’s not as much fun as the cheesy original, although the liberties it takes with comic book conventions are entertaining and enterprising. But given the CVs of screenwriters Mark Frost (The Greatest Game Ever Played, Twin Peaks) and Don Payne (The Simpsons, My Super Ex-Girlfriend), more could have been expected by way of wit than Fantastic 4 creator Stan Lee being refused entry to the wedding of Mr Fantastic and The Invisible Woman. Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans star. (2007)

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