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TV Films (7)


Lara Croft Tomb Raider

TV2, 8.30pm

Angelina Jolie works hard as Lara - a girl archaeologist developed from a computer game - but the movie feels tired and soulless, even with the lovely gimmick of shooting some of the action in Angkor Wat, Cambodia. With Jolie's actual dad Jon Voight as Lara's dad. (2001) 3

Fantastic Four

TV3, 8.30pm

This Marvel adaptation looks like 70s television compared to the big, slick and star-packed comic-book translations we're now used to - the Spider-Man and X-Men films, for starters - with cheesy, low-rent effects playing second fiddle to inane domestic drama. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. Just lower your expectations. (2005) 5

French Kiss

Maori Television, 9.00pm

Meg Ryan: a sucker for those dodgy foreign heartbreakers. Some years before Russell Crowe, there was Kevin Kline as a Frenchman, complete with wine snobbery and irresis-tible Inspector Clouseau accent. American ideas about the French were dutifully reproduced. (1995) 5

Chrome and Hot Leather

MGM, 10.15pm

In this ancient grindhouse movie, a bunch of Green Berets pose as a motorcycle gang to take revenge on the low-lifes who caused the death of one of their girlfriends. The scenario is ludicrous, but the title is excellent and pop-culture historians should know that this stars Marvin Gaye in his first major role, appearing as "Jim", one of the soldiers. What's going on? (1971) 5

Sweet November

TV2, 10.35pm

Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron: didn't they already work their magic in The Devil's Advocate? That was a better movie than this - based on a 1968 film of the same name, Sweet November has Reeves's emotionally blocked adman becoming, er, unblocked thanks to the help of Theron's freer spirit. Fans of Reeves-when-he's-sensitive - that's when he breaks out that half-surprised, half-vacant look - may enjoy. (2001) 4


Invasion of the Body Snatchers

MGM, 4.50pm

The first remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers shifted the action to San Francisco in the late 70s, and although the Cold War impact of the original film could never be replicated, this one works as a satire of me-generation pop psychology and - of course - "personal evolution". With Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy. (1978) 8


TV2, 8.30pm

This painful comedy is so in debt to the Stiller/De Niro act in Meet the Parents that Meet the Mother-in-Law could have been a workable title. The titular nightmare is played by Jane Fonda and the actress doesn't have to do much with her scary sense of, er, "focus" to amp it up to psychopathic levels. Furious at being dumped as a primetime newsreader for a younger model, Fonda's Viola is furious all over again when her mother's boy (Michael Vartan) intends to marry down. So, Jennifer Lopez gets the Ben Stiller part - and as in Parents, the official problem isn't ethnicity, but poverty and lack of ambition. Stiller's Greg Focker was a male nurse; Lopez's Charlie is a part-time dog walker. (2005) 2

Sixteen Candles

C4, 8.30pm

It's hard to argue with the appeal of this as a cult movie, just as it's equally pointless to go back and figure out what all the fuss was about. One for the fans. Molly Ringwald stars. (1984) 5

Layer Cake

TV1, 9.00pm

Drawing deep from the well that Guy Ritchie dug - remember Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and the even wilder and less coherent Snatch? - this fast, violent and often funny London gangland yarn finds a superb use for the great Daniel Craig, here as a coke dealer navigating that city's criminal underworld. Like Ritchie's films, this isn't a moral lesson: it's more to do with the excitements, terrors and pleasures of living illegally. (2005) 9

Jeepers Creepers 2

TV2, 10.30pm

That thing with wings is back, still bingeing. Now he's hungry for an entire busload of high school basketball players and cheerleaders. Stupid teen gore? Sure, but a better-than-average version. (2003) 6

Billy Madison

TV3, 11.30pm

This is where it started. It shows no sign of ending. It being the career of Adam Sandler. (1995) 3

Dead Man Walking

TV2, 12.40am (Mon)

Another big, serious, glowering-volcano performance from Sean Penn - here as convicted killer and rapist Matthew Poncelet - but the heart of this powerful humanist movie is Susan Sarandon's Sister Helen Prejean, the nun who ministers to Poncelet as he counts down his final days. The film, written and directed by Tim Robbins, is more than just an anti-death penalty statement, although that should be enough; it's also shot through with a liberal Christian consciousness that is much less common than it should be in American movies. (1995) 9


Bad Boys

Prime, 8.35pm

There's plenty of life in the freestyle comic bickering between Miami cops Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, who must, for plot reasons, pose as each other to bust a drug ring or protect a witness (Tea Leoni) or elude ponytailed guys with semi-automatic weapons or something, but it's hard to find the actual movie when hack Michael Bay (The Rock, Armageddon, Transformers) pumps up the action operatics and sets the editing machine on "dice". (1995) 4


Snow Falling on Cedars

TV3, 11.30pm

Scott Hicks's pretentious and almost entirely uninteresting follow-up to Shine is a tricksy courtroom drama based on David Guterson's bestseller about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Hicks casts well - Ethan Hawke, Sam Shepard, Max von Sydow - but no one comes to life, and you don't remember people so much as some crisp photography, courtesy of Martin Scorsese's occasional cinematographer, Robert Richardson. It looks beautiful, but it's inert. (1999) 4