HDTV Movie Premieres: October 8-14

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: TV2, 7.30pm 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 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. (2003)

Shrek Forever After: Sky Movies, 4.50pm Sunday.

The “far away” franchise comes to a hilariously happy end when Shrek fall in love with Princess Fiona all over again after Rumpelstiltskin tricks him into signing a contract to stop the ogre from feeling like a “jolly green joke”. The animation’s richer while the storytelling tweaks its fairy tale legacy with such wit and imagination that everyone will want to “do the roar” — of approval. Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy lend their voices. (2010)

I Am Legend: TV2, 8.30pm Sunday.

Will Smith plays a military virologist who’s seemingly the last man left alive after a virus reduces the human race to a handful of walking-dead survivors. Can he cure them before they kill him? Flawed but thrilling and thought provoking. Frances Lawrence (Constantine) directs Hollywood’s second adaptation of a 1954 sci-fi yarn (the first was 1971’s The Omega Man). Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan and Willow Smith co-star. (2007)

Dinner for Schmucks: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Sunday.

This is a movie for schmucks, an irritating, tiresome, imbecilic odd-couple chore about an ambitious executive (Paul Judd) and the nutty taxidermist (Steve Carell) he befriends to get ahead in business — by trying to win an idiot contest to amuse his bosses — only to have his new pal show him who’s really the fool. Barely worth a look even to see Jemaine Clement’s art world fraud. Jay Roach (Meet the Fockers) directs. (2010)

Notorious: TV3, 12.05am Monday

Men of Honor director George Tillman Jr’s first movie in nearly a decade dramatises how Notorious B.I.G., who was also known as Christopher Wallace, rocketed from street hustler to legendary rapper. Variety dubbed it “a rock-solid biopic with a foolproof rise-and-fall storyline” but the San Francisco Chronicle thought it “fawning”. Jamal Wollard, Trauma’s Derek Luke and Angela Bassett star. Tillman’s last movie was Faster. (2009)

Fantastic 4: 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. Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans, Andre Braugher and Laurence Fishburne star; the original’s Tim Story again directs. (2007)

Cabin Fever: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Monday.

A bunch of youngsters head to the hills where cars break down, cellphones don’t work and the locals are loonier than Elmer Fudd. What happens next will test your patience for cut-and-paste filmmaking as much as your stamina for stomach-churning stupidity crammed with obnoxious characters that make your skin crawl more than the lame, parasitic plot about flesh-eating bacteria. Eli Roth (Hostel I and II) directs, (2002)

Solomon Kane: Sky Movies, 8.30pm Wednesday.

Otherworldly adventure about a wandering nomad: a 16th-century marauder (Rome’s Jame Purefoy) who escapes the Devil’s Reaper only by renouncing violence – a reformation that’s tested when the forces of darkness overrun England and he must risk damnation to save the souls of others. Aside from the overwrought finale, Kane is an atmospheric, sword-and-sorcery sensation. (2010)

The Kingdom: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Wednesday.

Extremists ambush an FBI team frustrated by the politics of trying to investigate a massacre of American civilians on Saudi Arabian soil in this taut dramatisation of a similar event in 2002. It succeeds as both a topical thriller and a succinct distillation of the intrigue that characterises US relations with Saudi Arabia. Hancock’s Peter Berg directs Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Piven and Richard Jenkins. (2007)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: TV2, 7.30pm Friday.

Harry Potter and his Hogwarts pals are much more interesting as teenagers than 10-year-olds but it’s not only their characters who have matured. So have the franchise’s special effects and, moreover, its storytelling, thanks to the recruitment of pre-Children of Men director Alfonso Cuaron. The third in the series has Harry learning the truth about his parents’ fate and combines a much darker, moodier sensibility with a smoother, more imaginative narrative and visuals. (2004)

Match Point: Sky Movies Greats, 8.30pm Friday.

Woody Allen’s preoccupation with obsessive love unfolds within the guise of a chilling murder plot rather than a neurotic comedy — think Crimes and Misdemeanors with a British twist. Even though luck is pivotal to the characters’ fates, Match Point relies too much on chance and contrivance to convince. Jonathan Rhys Meyer, Scarlett Johansson and Emily Mortimer star. (2005)

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