TV Guide film reviews: Monday May 31 to Friday June 4

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Monday

The bad babysitter

Three, 1 p.m.

Daphne Zuniga, Sean Gallagher.

A woman begins to suspect that her neighbor could be responsible for the disappearance of her daughter. Not revised.

Whitney

Maori TV, 8:30 p.m.

A documentary on the late singer Whitney Houston, featuring several of her well-known songs. Much of the documentary focuses on her turbulent marriage to fellow R&B singer Bobby Brown. It’s worth watching for the insight it gives into what made Houston such a star, and the demons that haunted her. ★★★★

Constance Wu, Frank Whaley and Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers.

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Constance Wu, Frank Whaley and Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers.

Scammers

Sky Premiere, 8:30 p.m.

With Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu.

The 2008 global financial crisis didn’t just affect stock brokers – down-to-earth and heart-of-gold strippers felt the pinch, too. Here, a few strippers survive by targeting the villains of the GFC – the bankers – drugging them and then stealing their credit cards. A better movie than it looks. ★★★

Katherine Heigl in 27 dresses.

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Katherine Heigl in 27 dresses.

27 Dresses

TVNZ 2, 8:30 p.m.

With Katherine Heigel.

A sympathetic romantic comedy elevated above the mediocre only by the performance of Heigl, which makes a perfect romantic comedy. Sparkling, funny and formulaic, there are no surprises here but it is a pleasantly predictable way to spend time. ★★★

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Riddick

Prime, 8:30 p.m.

With Vin Diesel, Karl Urban.

Something of a homecoming back to the roots of the original Riddick Pitch Black film, this third film in the franchise takes place five years after the events depicted in The Chronicles of Riddick, and sees our (anti) hero fight again for his survival in a hostile alien world. There isn’t much new, but the action is well done and the visuals are effective enough. ★★★

Tuesday

My baby is gone

Three, 1 p.m.

With Elisabeth Harnois, Anna Van Hooft.

A woman fakes her pregnancy and plans to steal her neighbor’s baby. Not revised

Parker Sawyers and Henry Golding in Monsoon.

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Parker Sawyers and Henry Golding in Monsoon.

Monsoon

Sky Premiere, 8:30 p.m.

With Henry Golding, Parker Sawyers.

Kit, a Vietnamese Briton carrying the ashes of his parents, returns to the country they fled as boat people after the fall of Saigon some 30 years earlier. Although it looks more like a Vietnamese version of The trip, without Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, there is a romantic thrill when Kit falls in love with a visiting American, who is the son of a veterinarian from Vietnam. Lightweight, but beautiful to look at. ★★★

Alex Pettyfer in Stormbreaker

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Alex Pettyfer in Stormbreaker

Storm breaker

TVNZ Duke, 8:30 p.m.

With Alex Pettyfer, Bill Nighy.

This junior James Bond getaway is moderately entertaining, but can struggle to find an audience, as adults will find their attention adrift while younger viewers might find it difficult to identify with the impossibly handsome 14-year-old hero. . ★★

Wednesday

Sorority secrets

Three, 1 p.m.

With Brytnee Ratledge, Elisabetta Fantone.

A student’s life is in danger when she finds out that her new sisterhood is being used as a cover for an escort service. Not revised.

Dragged through concrete

Sky Premiere, 8:30 p.m.

With Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn.

A strange title, but it suits this excessively violent and humorless crime thriller. The two veterans play the cop buddies who stray from the right path because of money problems. Their plan to rob a crooked businessman goes a bit wrong when he robs a bank and takes hostages. In the mix, there’s a male on parole (Tory Kittles) who is initially a minor player in the bank robbery but slowly takes a central role. Watchable, but based on shock rather than fear. ★★

Thursday

Killer mom

Three, 1 p.m.

With Kirby Bliss Blanton, Karen Cliche.

A penniless woman sets her sights on the money that the daughter she abandoned for adoption will inherit. Not revised.

Luke Bracey and Alexander get closer in danger Close

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Luke Bracey and Alexander get closer in danger Close

Danger Close

Sky Premiere, 8:30 p.m.

With Travis Fimmel, James Nicholas.

Fimmel, aka Ragnar Lothbrok of the Vikings, swaps longships and the icy North Sea for helicopters and a scorching jungle in this tale of the Battle of Long Tan in 1966 during the Vietnam War. Director Kriv Stenders details, without much historical context, the desperate struggle for the survival of an Australian unit cut off by Vietnamese troops supported by artillery and mortars. It’s a gripping and heroic story, told from an Australian perspective, although in real life the outcome of the battle is seen as undecided as to the actual damage inflicted on the Viet Cong. ★★★★

Friday

Best in class

Three, 1 p.m.

With Jacqueline Scislowski.

A student becomes a murder suspect after manipulating test results to give him a higher grade. Not revised.

2 Fast 2 Furious

Three, 7:30 p.m.

With Paul Walker, Eva Mendes.

Shameless motorheads might like this unsuccessful sequel to its racing predecessor. More Cars Than Script, this is the kind of movie that doesn’t seem to care about its obviously bad script – it has already tapped into its market anyway. Just make sure your teenager doesn’t go out and buy a Mitsubishi Evo on credit after seeing it. ★★

The hazelnut professor

Well done, 7:30 p.m.

With Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Eddie Murphy plays an obese, gentle-natured science teacher who transforms into a slim, testosterone-pumped wiseass in this remake of the slapstick comedy from 1963. ★★★

Last holidays

Maori TV 8:30 p.m.

With Queen Latifah, LL Cool J.

An uplifting and well-acted comedy starring Queen Latifah as an aspiring chef who is diagnosed with a terminal illness and leaves for her final vacation in Europe. It’s a reboot of a 1950 movie, starring Alec Guinness, and it would be harder to find two actors more opposite in style and appearance. Apparently, John Candy was the first choice, but the project was shelved after his death in 1997 to be revised almost a decade later for Queen Latifah, which takes a mediocre film to the next level. ★★

Downhill

Sky Premiere, 8:30 p.m.

With Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Will Ferrell.

A less-than-awesome remake of the 2014 film Force Majeure, about a husband and wife whose relationship is strained after the man apparently panics and tries to save himself rather than his family during an avalanche. Both stars have serious credit in their portfolios, but Ferrell is ill-chosen, as it’s hard to see past Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Myers in Veep. Better described as OK. ★★

Jon Heder in Napoleon Dynamite.

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Jon Heder in Napoleon Dynamite.

Napoleon Dynamite

TVNZ Duke, 8:30 p.m.

With Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez.

This cult comedy hit is definitely an acquired taste, and its quirky sense of humor can prove extremely mystifying to some viewers. That said, the main character – played with perfect unmoved hilarity by Jon Heder – is a truly original creation and you’ll be hard pressed not to laugh out loud at some of the more outrageous comedic sets. ★★★★



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