Viewing by appointment: the best free and Sky TV programming of the week

They really pulled off the casting on these kids, didn’t they? Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: ​​Return to Hogwarts (Sunday January 2, 7 p.m., TVNZ 2) brings together (almost) the whole gang for a sentimental celebration of the great classics for children. It is the third highest grossing film franchise of all time. The Potter Universe made more money than any Bond movie, slightly less than Star Wars, and only half of what the Marvel movies did – although Iron Man and his fellow masked superheroes did. needed twice as many films to do so. It’s definitely going to be sappy, probably a little stilted and awkward, but hey – it’s also bound to be fun and it is assumed that a lot of tributes will be paid to the real star of the movies – RIP Alan Rickman.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson will be part of the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: ​​Return To Hogwarts TV special.

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Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson will be part of the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: ​​Return To Hogwarts TV special.

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Tom Hanks is Captain Phillips.

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Tom Hanks is Captain Phillips.

Captain Phillips (Tuesday, December 28, 8:40 p.m., Three) is a tense thriller inspired by the 2009 hijacking of Maersk Alabama by pirates off the coast of Somalia. Winner of six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Barkhad Abdi in his first truly terrifying performance. Tom Hanks anchors the film with typical gravity and Paul Greengrass (United 93, Bourne’s ultimatum) directs its long lenses towards action from surreptitious places, imparting a sense of claustrophobia, adding intimacy and realism to the naturally nerve-racking narrative.

Why not start the new year with a good road trip to Aotearoa? It’s risky to remake the classics, but Pork pie (Saturday, Jan. 1, 9:05 p.m. Prime) has managed to appeal to new audiences and not get in the way of those for whom the original is a beloved classic. As charismatic as they are chaotic, Dean O’Gorman and James Rolleston lead a who’s who of Kiwi actors in a merry top-to-bottom chase of our long island nation in a stolen mini yellow. A delight.

James Rolleston, Ashleigh Cummings and Dean O'Gorman team up for Pork Pie.

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James Rolleston, Ashleigh Cummings and Dean O’Gorman team up for Pork Pie.

If you haven’t seen this documentary yet, you’re in for a treat. Paul Sorenson has spent 40 years teaching and, more importantly, learning from his beloved canine companions. A retired kiwi farmer and essentially a dog whisperer, he spends his time helping the next generation better understand their four-legged friends, and in this heartwarming film he reflects on a life dedicated to dogs. Old dog (Sunday January 2, 7:30 p.m., Māori TV) shows us that we have many misconceptions about dogs (and people) with down-to-earth humility and dry, wry humor.

It’s a smart social experiment in increasingly tough economic times, but it’s also just a great headline. Landlords For Codgers (Thursday, December 30, TVNZ 1, 8 p.m.) is an English-language show where millennials move in with retirees to save money and “learn from each other.” Like Lucy (25), who runs her own business (a social enterprise promoting veganism and mental health) and leaves her van to board with musician Merv (70) and his wife Viv (67), a teacher at the retirement. Hopeful peace and harmony will flourish, but you can just tell Lucy isn’t going to clean up after herself and the intergenerational war is about to explode.

If you like the black comedy of Succession, then The Death of Stalin is for you.

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If you like the black comedy of Succession, then The Death of Stalin is for you.

If you look Great has piqued your interest in Russian historical melodrama with a modern comic twist, try Stalin’s death (Saturday January 1, 9 p.m., Māori TV). It’s funnier than it looks. An Armando Iannucci (Alan partridge, The thickness of it, Veep) satire with Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs and Michael Palin, it’s a twisted farce about the race for power after the sudden death of one of the greatest murderers of all time. If you like the black comedy of Succession, This is for you.

It all started with an adventure in Kaikōura. Then they visited Stewart Island in the middle of winter for this exploratory experience. This week, Uncharted: New Zealand (Monday January 3, 8:30 p.m., Three) takes Tim Roxborogh and Carolyn Taylor to Wellington’s Weta Workshop and Zealandia Urban Ecological Sanctuary, before crossing the strait to sample Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. To be fair, much of this land has already been mapped out, but it’s always nice to take a tour of our unique Aotearoa home and see people discovering it for the first time.

Gabriel Byrne plays Bill Ward in War of the Worlds.

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Gabriel Byrne plays Bill Ward in War of the Worlds.

This latest iteration of War of the Worlds (Tuesday, December 28, 8:30 p.m., Rialto) is loosely based on the HG Wells classic, but goes beyond the book to explore post-apocalypse life and the survivors of the alien massacre. Whether it’s a book, a radio play, a movie or a TV show, it’s a tremendous common thread, and this version (which recently shot its third season), is set in France and England, starring Gabriel Byrne and Daisy Edgar-Jones and has proven popular with fans of shows like The walking dead and Kingdom.

A series of individual interviews conducted by Julian Wilcox, Indigenous people 100 (Monday, January 3, 7:30 p.m., Māori TV) speaks to leading thinkers about their perspectives and ideas, hoping to inspire, motivate, and provide practical tools to bring about real change. These are conversations we need to have and voices we can learn from. In the first episode, Wilcox talks to Pania Newton, the public spokesperson for Soul (Save Our Unique Landscapes), about her life and the work she has done to protect her village in Ihumātao.

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