HDTV Movie Premieres: October 29-November 4

The Invention of Lying: TV3, 8.30pm Sunday.

Ricky Gervais’ movie directing debut opens as a novel and engaging take on a parallel universe in which lying doesn’t exist, until one overweight, snub-nosed loser exploits his discovery for romantic and career conquests. But then the screenplay he wrote with co-director Matthew Robinson sacrifices its fable-esque magic for broad, religious satire that’s not inventive enough to sustain even barely 90 minutes. Jennifer Garner and Tina Fey co-star. (2009)

The Expendables: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

After making a great fist of helming Rambo’s comeback, Sylvester Stallone fumbles this action extravaganza about dinosaur mercenaries who are duped into toppling a South American dictator. It’s ironic that a movie this big on brawn and brutality, and this short on wit and originality (think an ultra-violent Wild Geese), was packaged on Blu-ray with a top making-of doco and an engrossing commentary in which Stallone’s more audible off-screen than on. (2010)

Derailed: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Sunday.

In this strangers-on-a-train thriller, Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston play commuters with a fatal attraction that leads to a one-night stand with a nightmarish morning after. The set-up is explained at the outset, when Owen’s ad executive tells his daughter to write in her book report, “The author intrigues the reader by twisting the narrative so you never know what’s coming next.” The filmmakers largely achieve this without going off the rails but stubbornly stay one stop short of satisfying. (2005)

Push: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Monday.

Paul McGuigan, who made Lucky Number Slevin, also directed this obscurity about two psychics trying to find a youngster in Hong Kong before a sinister government agency does. The New York Times said the “dizzying, chaotic energy pulls you along” but The Hollywood Reporter quipped “audiences won’t require any paranormal powers of their own to realise they’ve seen this one before”. Chris Evans (Captain America) and Dakota Fanning star. (2009)

Going the Distance: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Wednesday.

Can a six-week summer fling survive a long-distance relationship? Drew Barrymore and Justin Long find out in a romantic-comedy that Time dubbed “raunchy but charming” while Empire said it was a “grittier, saltier-than-usual rom-com populated with laughs, smarts and a couple you can root for”. But the New York Daily News dismissed it as “empty, immature … a suffocating bore”. Nanette Burstein (The Kid Stays in the Picture) directs. (2010)

What About Bob? Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Wednesday.

Looney tunes patient Bill Murray is psychiatrist Richard Dreyfuss’ worst nightmare — the cuckoo who flies over his family’s nest while on holiday. Having followed Dreyfuss to his secret hideaway, the reality-phobic Murray proceeds to drive him around the bend by ingratiating himself with his family. Hilarious hi-jinks with the shrink abound. Frank Oz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Death at a Funeral) directs. (1991)

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