The Week in HD - Friday 22nd May
Welcome to The Week in HD.
This week, you're in for a treat. Tom is currently easing himself in to his lederhosen and no doubt sampling some sausage on a romantic weekend away with his good lady in Munich - he assures us that the clash with the Munich High-End Show was entirely coincidental - so I've been let loose in the worn, and slightly musty, hot seat.
Having had the good chaps at Sky install my HD box just this morning, I guess the hat fits. So, without further ado, here are some selected HD highlights for the forthcoming week...
Friday 22nd May
UFC 2009: Undisputed (Xbox 360)
While I would never normally recommend you spend your bank holiday beating the living daylights out of people, in UFC 2009: Undisputed that sort of behaviour is very much encouraged. The graphics are scarily realistic and gameplay worryingly addictive, but hey, perhaps I've just had a long week. Head over to our friends at The Leisure Lab to see a review.
Damnation (Xbox 360)
The equally cheery-sounding Damnation sees you guide Rourke through an incessant modern-day civil war, helped by a cache of stupendously damaging weaponry. The usual first-person style romp through death, destruction and I guess, damnation, follows, helped no end by some rather splendid visuals and a heart-stopping soundtrack.
Hay-On-Sky - Sky Arts 1 HD - 7pm
When you've finished beating people up and/or blowing them in to tiny pieces, why not unwind with coverage from the 2009 Guardian Hay Festival. Mariella Frostrup is joined by various other luvvies from the arts world for one of the world's foremost festivals of writing, comedy and music. Yep, I do high-brow, too...
Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer - Sky Action HD - 7.20pm
...but I also realise it's Friday night. So feel free to remove your brain, settle back on the sofa and doze your way through this Fantastic Four escapade. Of course you'll find it pretty hard, what with the arresting HD images and stirring soundtrack - this is one to blow the cobwebs out of your AV system.
Shaft - Channel 4 HD - 10pm
Samuel L. Jackson stars as Shaft in this remake, with Christian Bale finding himself on the wrong side of the tracks here as the bad guy trying to avoid a murder rap. Very strong language/violence, I might add.
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross – BBC HD – 10.35pm
Isn't Wossy naughty? So naughty they'll be pre-recording his radio show from now on. He still does his best to push the decency boundaries on his TV show but it's usually with rather amusing results, so I'll let him off. Martin Sheen and Yvette Fielding will be doing their best to get a word in edgeways, while Grace Jones will probably manage just fine.
Saturday 23rd May
Gillingham v Shrewsbury - Live - Sky Sports HD1 - 2.30pm
Gillingham take on Shrewsbury Town in the Coca-Cola League Two play-off final at Wembley. If you're looking to have a flutter, I'll point out that Shrewsbury beat Gillingham 7-0 in the league game at Prostar Stadium... Or you could just bet on when the first player gets cramp. I'll go for 78 minutes.
The Lost Tribe Of Palau - National Geographic HD - 8pm
Follow a geographical expedition to the middle of the Pacific Ocean as scientists unearth a collection of human remains which are believed to be a new species. This is arguably one of those programmes that is just as jaw-dropping when watching on mute, but I didn't say that...
Dead Man Walking - Sky Drama HD - 8pm
Susan Sarandon won an Oscar for her role in this 1995 classic, which also stars Sean Penn and was directed by Tim Roth. Look out for an appearance by the real Sister Helen, upon who's life this film was set, outside the prison during the candlelight vigil scene.
Sunday 24th May
Live Ford Survival Sunday - Sky Sports HD1 - 3pm
Sky's Sports department could generate excitement about literally anything. And give the event an alliterated title. And give over hour after hour for live coverage. So we have 'Survival Sunday' as neutrals around the country cross everything within sight in the hope that Shearer takes Newcastle down. Or is that just me?
The Shining - Sky Sci-Fi/Horror HD - 8pm (pictured, above)
Now this is what I call a film. Jack Nicholson goes from mad, to madder, to just plain ol' scary in one of Kubrick's finest works. If you've seen the Blu-ray you'll know this scrubs up nicely, with special mention to the brilliantly atmospheric soundtrack.
Come Dine With Me - Channel 4 HD - 8.30pm
Well I never, they film Come Dine With Me in HD? Who'd have thunk it. It's worrying how often I can't find anything better to do than watching Come Dine With Me, but now at least I can nose in to other people's homes, and indeed their pots and pans, in glorious high definition. Yay.
Monday 25th May
Battle Of Britain - Blu-ray
An exclusive to play.com, this is 'a spectacular retelling of a true story that shows courage at its inspiring best. Few defining moments can change the outcome of war; but when the outnumbered Royal Air Force defied unsurmountable odds in engaging the German Luftwaffe, they may well have altered the course of history!' So there you have it. Stars Harry Andrews, Michael Caine and Trevor Howard.
Iron Maiden: Flight 666 - The Film - Blu-ray
What happens when you take a legendary British metal band, a customised Boeing 757, 12 tons of music and stage equipment, a film crew and fly them to 13 countries in 45 days? You get Flight 666 - a full length documentary charting Iron Maiden's ambitious 2008 "Somewhere Back In Time World Tour". And with Bruce behind the controls - yes, really - it's a wonder they're still with us.
The Spirit - Blu-ray
A second appearance for Samuel L. Jackson, this time in a film adaptation of the legendary comic strip. Directed by Frank Miller, of Sin City fame, it should make for an interesting visual spectacle, not least in HD.
Tuesday 26th May
The Chase - BBC HD - 6.30pm
A new series for BBC HD - we'll look over the fact it was on 'normal' BBC yonks ago - comes in the form of this drama set around a veterinary practice. I can't help thinking this is one of the last places you want to be sticking in a HD camera but there you go.
Live Super League - Sky Sports HD1 - 8pm
Leeds and Hull meet to tug at each others shorts and leg it about a muddy pitch for 80 minutes or so. Two of the biggest names in the game's history should provide a spectacle and you can always marvel at the way the HD picture shows the players' breath in the air if you're not engaged by the rugby league action.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End - Sky Screen 1HD - 8pm
Capatin Jack returns in what Sky's TV Guide calls 'a pounding sequel'. Reviews may have been mixed but Depp is pretty dependable when it comes to putting a good turn, not least in his role as the Keith Richards of the sea.
Wednesday 27th May
Champions League Final - Live - Sky Sports HD1 - 6pm
There is really the only event to be thinking about this week. The mighty Manchester United, champions of England, champions of Europe and champions of the world, look to add another big shiny cup to their bulging trophy cabinet and pile on yet more misery for those scousers and cockneys watching at home and cheering on Barcelona. Forza United. (Not that I am in any way biased on this one...)
Thursday 28th May
Changeling - SBO HD1 - 8pm
Angeline Jolie stars in this period thriller directed by Clint Eastwood, the man who's done the unthinkable and topped his acting career after his move behind the camera.
Spider-Man 3 - Sky Family HD - 8pm
Webslinging smash starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, though as ever J.K. Simmons steals any scene he appears in, here playing the no nonsense publisher of The Daily Bugle newspaper. No nonsense publishing editors? What's one of them?
The Alpine Chronicles - Rush HD - 9pm
This channel shouldn't be over-looked - not only does it pump out plenty of high definition content, it always seems to make a pretty impressive job of it in to the bargain. This look at American skiers aiming to get on the US ski team should provide plenty of opportunitites for your TV to show-off.
Tom Parsons is away. Having fun.