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The TV Guide - - SPORTS -

TVNZ 2, 5.30pm

Star­ring Paul Terry, Joanna Lum­ley. Daz­zlingly weird and won­der­ful dig­i­tally an­i­mated tale (from the Night­mare Be­fore Christ­mas team) adapted from the Roald Dahl story. Or­phan James es­capes the cru­elty of his wicked aunts in the com­pany of cute creepie-crawlies. ★★★★ TVNZ 2, 7pm

Star­ring Fred­die High­more, Mary-Louise Parker. Movies adapted from chil­dren’s fan­tasy nov­els are ev­ery­where these days, but this en­ter­tain­ing ad­ven­ture in which three sib­lings are pulled into an al­ter­nate world of faeries, gob­lins and other fan­tas­ti­cal crea­tures rises above the dross by virtue of its ta­lented cast and a healthy dose of imag­i­na­tion. ★★★

Gifted Sky Pre­miere, 8.30pm Star­ring Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace. The un­cle and guardian of a gifted child tries to keep her am­bi­tious grand­mother from get­ting cus­tody so she can turn the girl into a maths prodigy. While the movie touches on one of sci­ence’s most com­plex equa­tions, the Navier-Stokes prob­lem, at heart it is a sim­ple enough af­fair, about the over­whelm­ing im­por­tance of love and fam­ily. Well worth watch­ing. ★★★★

I Wish M ori TV, 8.30pm Star­ring Koki Maeda, Oshiro Maeda. A Ja­panese take on how di­vorce af­fects chil­dren. Real-life broth­ers Koki and Oshiro Maeda play two broth­ers who live in dif­fer­ent cities – one with their fa­ther, the other with their mother. Then one brother hears a ru­mour that the en­ergy re­leased by Ja­pan’s bul­let trains can grant wishes, and he for­mu­lates a plot to re­unite them. Ab­sorb­ing, if a lit­tle slow. ★★★

Wish I Was Here Choice, 8.30pm Star­ring Zach Braff, Kate Hud­son. Braff also co-wrote and di­rected this un­der­whelm­ing com­edy about a Jewish 30-some­thing who ex­am­ines his life when his fa­ther be­comes gravely ill. It is gen­uine and heart-warm­ing but lacks sub­stance. ★★ TVNZ 2, 9pm

Star­ring Ge­orge Clooney, Brad Pitt. Ge­orge Clooney is the epit­ome of cool in this glossy, big-bud­get heist flick, a loose re­make of the 1960 Rat Pack movie of the same name. As ca­reer crim­i­nal Danny Ocean, he as­sem­bles a stel­lar cast of as­so­ciates to help him rob the su­per-se­cure vaults of a Las Ve­gas casino ty­coon. ★★★★ TVNZ Duke, 9.30pm

Star­ring Bruce Willis, Halle Berry. An in­ves­tiga­tive re­porter goes un­der­cover at a big ad­ver­tis­ing agency in this ve­hi­cle for the tal­ents of Bruce Willis and Halle Berry. It gets a bit steamy but the many twists and turns don’t lead in any real di­rec­tion. ★★ TVNZ 2, 11pm

Star­ring Bruce Willis, Tracy Mor­gan. There’s too much of di­rec­tor Kevin Smith’s dom­i­nant style in this lack­lus­tre cop com­edy ca­per, with a run­ning gag that par­o­dies movie cul­ture com­pli­cat­ing the pro­ceed­ings un­nec­es­sar­ily. Bruce Willis ap­pears to be merely go­ing through the mo­tions. ★★


Spec­tre Three, 8.30pm Star­ring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz. Daniel Craig ce­ments his po­si­tion as ar­guably

the best Bond ever in his fourth out­ing as the Bri­tish spy. Fast, thrilling – although pos­si­bly a lit­tle con­vo­luted – Spec­tre is a re­turn to form for the fran­chise af­ter the dis­ap­point­ing sto­ry­telling of Sky­fall. Ralph Fi­ennes proves he is a more than wor­thy suc­ces­sor to Judi Dench’s M. ★★★★

Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War

TVNZ 2, 8.30pm

Star­ring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. Joe and An­thony Russo weave a multi-lay­ered plot with a well bal­anced cast bring­ing both hu­mour, heart­break and ac­tion. This time round Cap­tain Amer­ica and Iron Man are at odds af­ter a mis­sion in­volv­ing a team of Avengers causes an in­ter­na­tional in­ci­dent which ques­tions the mean­ing of friend­ship and the will­ing­ness to in­flict col­lat­eral dam­age. A mix of a comic-book nerd’s dream and thought­ful film-mak­ing, this is a movie that un­der­stands its au­di­ence, is never pretentious but is also re­spect­ful of its fans. ★★★★★

Lo­gan Lucky Sky Pre­miere, 8.30pm Star­ring Chan­ning Ta­tum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig. Di­rec­tor Steven Soder­bergh brings some Oceans II magic to this story of two broth­ers who de­cide to over­come a fam­ily curse by stag­ing a rob­bery at one of the big­gest Nascar races of the year. Jam-packed with quirky mo­ments, fast-paced scenes and a sing-along sound­track, this is a heist movie where ev­ery­one has fun. A rare, per­fectly cast piece of cinema with Daniel Craig, just, steal­ing the show as con­victed safe­cracker Joe Bang. ★★★★★

Mid­night In Paris M ori TV, 8.30pm Star­ring Owen Wil­son, Rachel McA­dams. Typ­i­cal Woody Allen fare – ro­man­tic whimsy in­ter­leaved with an at­tempt at philo­soph­i­cal in­sight. It tells the tale of a cre­atively un­ful­filled Hol­ly­wood screen­writer with an overly ma­te­ri­al­is­tic fi­ancee who finds him­self trans­ported back in time to the Paris of Ernest Hem­ing­way, Gertrude Stein and F Scott Fitzger­ald. It re­ceived Os­cars nom­i­na­tions for Best Pic­ture, Best Di­rec­tor and won Best Orig­i­nal Screen­play. ★★★★

The Or­anges Choice, 8.30pm Star­ring Hugh Lau­rie, Leighton Meester. Provoca­tively plot­ted but in­ad­e­quately scripted dram­edy in which two mem­bers of two dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies who are close friends take their close­ness to in­ap­pro­pri­ate lev­els – much to the cha­grin of most of the other fam­ily mem­bers. Hugh Lau­rie, though, is al­ways worth a look. ★★

Scream 3

TVNZ 2, 11.50pm

Star­ring Neve Camp­bell, David Ar­quette. Di­rec­tor Wes Craven re­turns once too of­ten with this dis­ap­point­ing

third in­stal­ment in the clever tongue-in-cheek hor­ror se­ries. Although there are flashes of the old magic, with plenty of in-jokes and some fun cameos, there are now so many char­ac­ters for the plot’s movie-within-a-movie struc­ture that you al­most need a ref­er­ence book to stay with it. ★★★


Keep­ing Up With The Jone­ses Sky Pre­miere, 8.30pm Star­ring Jon Hamm, Zach Gal­i­fi­anakis. Sub­ur­ban spy com­edy which squan­ders the tal­ents of its two male leads. It cen­tres around a sub­ur­ban cou­ple who dis­cover their new neigh­bours are es­pi­onage agents. Trite, tooth­less and poorly di­rected, even its over-the-top ac­tion se­quences fail to raise a smile. ★

Show­down In Lit­tle Tokyo Prime, 9.45pm Star­ring Dolph Lund­gren, Bran­don Lee. Two LA cops – one an Amer­i­can raised in Ja­pan and the other a Ja­panese-Amer­i­can – com­bine their martial arts skills to take on the Yakuza, the Ja­panese equiv­a­lent of the Mafia, in this vi­o­lent and lurid tale which is long enough at 80 min­utes. ★★ Gangs Of New York

TVNZ Duke, 9pm

Star­ring Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis. Filled with re­mark­able cin­e­matic set-pieces and backed up by in­cred­i­bly im­pres­sive pro­duc­tion de­sign, this is a seam­less look at the vi­cious and un­for­giv­ing melt­ing pot that would even­tu­ally give birth to New York City as it is known to­day. ★★★★★


The Great Wall Sky Pre­miere, 8.30pm Star­ring Matt Da­mon, Jing Tian. A me­di­ae­val mer­ce­nary is im­pris­oned within China’s Great Wall and joins forces with a se­cre­tive mil­i­tary sect af­ter a seem­ingly un­stop­pable horde of mys­te­ri­ous and fe­ro­cious beasts threat­ens to over­run the na­tion. It was a hit in China but bombed else­where. ★★


You May Now Kill The Bride Three, 1pm Not re­viewed.

Star Wars: The Phantom Men­ace Three, 7.30pm Star­ring Liam Nee­son, Ewan McGre­gor. First pre­quel in­stal­ment to the Star Wars tril­ogy laced with spe­cial ef­fects but lack­ing the feel and depth of the first re­lease. How­ever, suf­fi­cient premise is given to the sto­ry­lines and char­ac­ters later es­poused. Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Nee­son) and his ap­pren­tice Obi-wan Kenobi (Ewan McGre­gor) are sent to help a young queen (Natalie Port­man) in her bat­tle with the avari­cious Trade Fed­er­a­tion. Af­ter war breaks out, they flee with her to the desert planet of Tat­tooine, dis­cov­er­ing a slave boy, Anakin Sky­walker (Jake Lloyd), is pow­er­ful in ways of the Force. ★★★★

The Book Of Love Sky Pre­miere, 8.30pm Star­ring Maisie Wil­liams, Ja­son Sudeikis. Wil­liams, best known as Arya Stark from Game Of Thrones, is un­doubt­edly a ris­ing star. But she prob­a­bly won’t look back at this chap­ter with much af­fec­tion. She plays Mil­lie, a young ru­n­away be­friended by an ar­chi­tect whose wife has died. In­cred­u­lously, the two of them build a raft so that Mil­lie can sail across the At­lantic to look for her miss­ing fa­ther. But ev­ery­thing goes off course, in­clud­ing the movie. ★★


Lost in Love Three, 1pm Not re­viewed.

S.W.A.T. Three, 8.30pm Star­ring Colin Farrell, Sa­muel L Jack­son. It’s by-the-num­bers ac­tion and cliches aplenty in this up­date of a pop­u­lar 70s TV se­ries. Colin Farrell is a rule-break­ing mem­ber of LA’s Spe­cial Weapons And Tac­tics unit who must es­cort a bru­tal druglord to prison, with chaos and con­fu­sion along the way. ★★


Neg­a­tive Three, 1pm Not re­viewed.

Ber­lin Syn­drome Sky Pre­miere, 8.30pm Star­ring Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt. Aus­tralian-Ger­man col­lab­o­ra­tion about a woman back­pack­ing in Ber­lin who is held hostage by a psy­chopath af­ter a one-night stand. It is a taut psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­ror film cen­tred around Aus­tralian ac­tress Teresa Palmer’s stand-out per­for­mance. The ti­tle is a ref­er­ence to the con­di­tion known as Stock­holm Syn­drome, where vic­tims form an affin­ity with their cap­tors. ★★★★

District 9 M ori TV, 8.30pm Star­ring Sharlto Co­p­ley, Nathalie Boltt. Pro­duced by Peter Jack­son and us­ing vir­tu­ally un­known ac­tors, this in­no­va­tive sci-fi thriller de­liv­ers an in­trigu­ing new spin on the aliens-come-to-Earth premise. The set­ting of Jo­han­nes­burg and the theme of so­cial seg­re­ga­tion were in­spired by real events in Cape Town’s District Six dur­ing South Africa’s apartheid era. ★★★★

Steel Mag­no­lias Bravo, 8.30pm Star­ring Ju­lia Roberts, Sally Field. This melo­drama is a show­case for some high-pro­file ac­tresses to have a ball play­ing South­ern ec­centrics who forge close bonds over the years. It may play out like a movie-length soapie, but the tal­ent on show and its life-af­firm­ing char­ac­ter have made it an en­dur­ing favourite. ★★★

Every­body Wants Some TVNZ Duke, 8.30pm

Star­ring Blake Jen­ner, Zoey Deutch. Richard Lin­klater, the mas­ter of the com­ing-of-age com­edy, re­turns to di­rect the spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor to Dazed And Con­fused. All young male ca­ma­raderie, it is a sub­tle af­fair where, pretty much noth­ing hap­pens – apart from an end­less round of par­ty­ing, ca­sual racism, late nights and early morn­ings. But un­der­neath the swag­ger, there is a fresh­ness which makes the re­sult deeply sat­is­fy­ing. ★★★★

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