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Including Stardust and Ghostbusters

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 1


Liar Liar (TV3, 7.30pm). When a birthday wish forces him to speak only truths, Jim Carrey's snake-oil-slick divorce lawyer contorts as though his pants are on fire. The New York Times says this high-concept family comedy is saved by its star: "Carrey is so straitjacketed by his routine nice-guy character that he bursts the bounds of conventionality with a liberating fury that offers the last word in Jekyll-Hyde fun." (1997) 7

Stardust


Stardust (Sky Movies, 8.30pm). Fantasy auteur Neil Gaiman (whose Sandman graphic novel adaptation is stuck in development hell) rewrites his whimsical fantasy book for the big screen. Charlie Cox is a plucky lad who voyages into the magical land of Stormgold to fetch a fallen star (Claire Danes) for his beloved (Sienna Miller). Gaiman, always a sucker for the Bard, sets three witches, including Michelle Pfeiffer, on the trail. Although it's disjointed - many scenes play like vaudeville routines - the real treat is dirigible-riding transvestite swashbuckler Captain Shakespeare, played by Robert De Niro. If you loved The Princess Bride, you'll like this. (2007) 7

Shopgirl (TV3, 9.20pm). Steve Martin adapts one of his novellas for the screen and steps into the lead role as a paramour from the school of Pretty Woman: a super-rich man of culture who wants no expense spared and no strings attached when he romances store clerk and budding artist Claire Danes. (2005) 6

The Matrix (TV2, 10.40pm). Take equal measures of Philip K Dick paranoia and cutting-edge emo wardrobe. Add guns, lots of guns, and Hong Kong kung fu camerawork and callisthenics. Finally, mix in eight figures' worth of special effects and you have The Matrix. Keanu Reeves finds the perfect role for his trademark blend of shocked and awed as "The One", Laurence Fishburne narrates with the Voice of Cool, Hugo Weaving plays a chilling corporate virus, and Carrie-Anne Moss is fetchingly dressed in figure-hugging vinyl. The plot is breakneck and convoluted, switching between alternate worlds of grunge and Gothic gloss. Directed by the imaginative brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski (Bound), The Matrix appeared to have all the makings of a Star Wars for the internet generation. Sadly, the two abysmal sequels showed this promise was merely an overly elaborate virtual reality. (1999) 8

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 2


The Rocky Horror Picture Show (C4, 8.30pm). Tim Curry plays bisexual mad scientist Frank N Furter, who takes in a sodden all-American couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick) and proceeds to seduce them. Roger Ebert writes that Richard O'Brien's musical, with its cult-inspiring costumes and songs, is "not so much a movie as a long-running social phenomenon". Sadly, the film version isn't narrated by former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon - who had a brief stint in a New Zealand version of the stage show. Tip for fans: for maximum effect, turn down the volume and let your inner sweet -transvestite handle the singing duties. (1975) 6

As It Is in Heaven (Sunday, Maori TV, 9.00pm). An exhausted violinist (Michael Nyqvist) tries returning to his claustrophobic home village to convalesce. Is he given space? Not a chance. The one-time symphony leader helps out the -struggling church choir and gets caught up in fervent religious trench warfare. World famous in Sweden, this flick scored a nomination for best foreign film at the 2005 Oscars. (2004) 8

Scream 2 (TV2, 10.25pm). Wes Craven helped invent the modern horror, and his Scream franchise expertly deconstructed the genre into equal components of giggle and scare. This sequel takes the first movie and turns it into a running joke: the meta-slasher events of the original become Stab, a horror film within a mock-horror film. Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Tori Spelling are well-sketched cardboard cut-outs who leave no cliché unturned. Somehow - beneath the weight of postmodernism and in-jokes - Scream 2 doesn't topple. A triumph. (1997) 8

The End of the Golden Weather (TVNZ6, 9.30pm). Ian Mune, the godfather of Kiwi acting, directs and adapts Bruce Mason's one-man show about a boy who is a wannabe writer with dreams about the apparently glorious 1930s. Although local critics were kind (the movie swept the New Zealand Film Awards and North & South described it as "a beautiful film that deserves national and international success"), Time Out wasn't nearly so nice: "Full of the sort of frantic hammering that makes for bad theatre and bad cinema." (1991) 5

MONDAY NOVEMBER 3


Miami Vice (TV3, 8.30pm). A smart and dark remake of the pastels-and-pistols Miami cop show of the 80s. Director Michael Mann (The Insider and Heat) here gets his charismatic leading men, Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell, to play ruthless criminals in order to smash a drug ring from within. The Village Voice reckons the director, who served as executive producer on the original 1980s series, has a flair for brutal gunfights: "No director since Peckinpah has staged more repellently beautiful orgies of on-screen carnage than Mann." (2006) 7

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 4


Tears of the Sun (TV2, 8.30pm). Navy Seal Bruce Willis is dispatched to Africa to rescue humanitarian Dr Monica Bellucci. The plot - the rescue of refugees and the slaughtering of ethnic cleansers - reimagines Rwanda and Somalia as American success stories, if only the liberals had let the dogs of war off the chain. The Village Voice wrote presciently that "this Black Hawk Down theft is a trial by cliché until the climax, which suggests a dress rehearsal for the torching of Baghdad". (2003) 4

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 5


Ghostbusters (Prime, 8.30pm). A supernatural comedy that slyly crosses the scary and funny beams. Dan Akroyd (who shares writing credits) teams with Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis to run riot in New York amid marshmallow giants and cutting-edge 1980s special effects. You'll never stop at the 13th floor again. (1984) 7

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 7


School of Rock (TV2, 7.30pm). Jack Black, a failed and fevered rock guitarist, impersonates a substitute teacher and indoctrinates a class of yuppie tykes in the Gospel According to Led Zeppelin and the Ramones. School principal Joan Cusack is a Stevie Nicks-worshipping model of nervous rectitude, comedienne Sarah Silverman cameos as a killjoy bitch, and director Richard Linklater (Waking Life) expertly strides the thin line between cute and smart. Black, who had a good turn as an obsessive music-store flunky in High Fidelity, is picture-perfect as a wild-eyed and jabbering dropout, and his exuberant enthusiasm for power chords is more infectious than norovirus. Raise your Goblet of Rock and chug: this is irresistibly good-natured fun for kids of all ages. (2003) 9