This Weekend in HD: January 28-29

SoHo Highlight: Hell on Wheels (Sky 10, 8.30, 5.1) After a rickety premiere, hopefully this revenge Western will deliver on its potential, as Cullen fights for his life, Lily struggles in the wilderness and Durant attempts to spin tragedy for political gain. As The AV Club aptly observed, “Two episodes in, Hell On Wheels promises to be the most frustratingly uneven show on the air. It’s very watchable, for the most part, especially when Anson Mount’s Cullen Bohannon or some other big swinging dick of an alpha male is there to carry the action forward. (It’s also one of the most aggressively male shows on the air.) So far, there’s been a tremendous gap between the show at its best and the show at its worst.”  Critic Alan Sepinwall reckons the introduction of Christopher Heyerdahl as The Swede (above) is “far and away the best part of what I’ve seen of the series so far (including three episodes past this one). Vivid character, strong performance, and just plain fun.” ✭✭✭


TradeZone Gone Fishin’ (TV3, 5.00, R) ✭✭✭

Rheem Outdoors With Geoff (TV3, 5.30) ✭✭✭

Keeping Up With the Joneses (TV One, 7.00) Trevor the Cranky Cook returns to find the British backpackers have made changes to his kitchen; Raine gives Little Milton a lesson about the indigenous people of the Territory. ✭✭✭

Movie: Deception (TV3, 10.30, 5.1, R) Critics were bamboozled why actors of Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor’s calibre would want to star in this thriller about an accountant who becomes the prime suspect in a woman’s disappearance and a multi-million-dollar heist after his lawyer friend takes him to a bizarre sex club. Said Variety: “Strip out Deception’s fleeting nudity and what’s left is a throwback to ‘B’ movie days — a thin thriller, burdened by clunky dialogue and prone to telegraphing its twists.” (2008) ✭✭

Winners & Losers (TV One, 10.40, R) During a black-out in the inner city, two relationships bloom and two collapse: Bec sees Matt with another woman; JB and Sophie take things to the next level; Zach and Frances share a moment; Rhys keeps a secret from Jenny. ✭✭


Hellcats (TV2, 5.30) A wedding forces Marti, Savannah and Dan to confront their true feelings; Alice visits Jake in jail. ✭✭✭

The War at Home (TV2, 6.30, R) When Hillary is extra nice to Dave, he suspects something is wrong and has her followed to find out what she’s up to. ✭✭✭✭

North (TV One, 7.00, R) Marcus Lush drives the length of Great Barrier and the Coromandel to extract tea tree oil on the Barrier, climb the Pinnacles and find New Year’s Eve nirvana with the hippies. ✭✭✭✭

Movie: Monsters vs Aliens (TV3, 7.00, 5.1) The ideas behind this sci-fi spoof are sharper and funnier than their implementation. When an alien robot threatens to bring Earth to a standstill, Uncle Sam unleashes a monstrous secret weapon: freaky beasts who are as much misfits as monsters. The pop culture gags and animation are inspired but the writers can’t sustain the novelty or hilarity of the first half-hour. Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie and Kiefer Sutherland lend their voices. (2009) ✭✭✭

Movie: Meet Dave (TV3, 9.00, 5.1, R) In this feeble fish-out-of-water romp, Eddie Murphy plays a spaceship in human form who falls for a New Yorker. Brian Robbins (Norbit) directs another multi-character but strictly one-dimensional vehicle for his star. As the New York Times observed: “Though mildly amusing, Murphy’s two characters in Meet Dave – a wee captain and a humanoid spaceship — neither tax nor stretch him.”  Elizabeth Banks (TV’s Scrubs, 30 Rock) and Gabrielle Union (FlashForward) co-star. (2008) 

Sky Movies Premiere: Gnomeo & Juliet (Sky 20, 5.15, 5.1) Where’s David Bowie Laughing Gnome when you need him? This Shakespearian send-up, about two households whose garden gnomes are at war, is smartly animated but as bland as the Elton John soundtrack that dogs every sprightly Bard gag. While kids will get a kick out of it, adults expecting the sophistication of Pixar will find much “t’is torture and not mercy”. (2011) ✭✭✭

Sky Movies Premiere: The Adjustment Bureau (Sky 20, 8.30, 5.1) This witty sci-fi yarn stars Matt Damon as an aspiring politician whose chance encounter with a bohemian ballerina (Emily Blunt) upsets an otherworldly thought police’s master plan for their destinies. A Philip K Dick (Blade Runner) adaptation, it masterfully explores the notion of free will but flounders with an outcome that’s not as provocative as the inspired premise or imaginative execution demand. Bourne Ultimatum scribe George Nolfi directs; Terence Stamp and Mad Men’s John Slattery co-star. (2011) ✭✭✭✭

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