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Archive for Saturday, July 30, 2011

Whale tale runs off course

July 30, 2011

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Take a serious actor (Danny Glover) and star him in an adaptation of a serious book (“Moby Dick”) made for Syfy’s cheesy Saturday night movie franchise and you’ve got a serious mess on your hands. It’s called “Age of the Dragons” (8 p.m.).

Glover is Ahab, a man obsessed with the white dragon that killed his sister and broiled much of his body. As in the book, Ishmael (Corey Sevier) narrates. But in this case, the drifter dragon-slayer sounds like a Keanu Reeves impersonator.

But even if Orson Welles were alive and narrating, Herman Melville’s exalted prose would seem out of place amid the cheap sets and preposterous situations. For starters, Ahab doesn’t chase dragons on the vast eternity of the sea, but in some kind of covered-wagon land tank. As a result, most of “Dragons” takes place in the dank and claustrophobic hold of the wooden vehicle. This allows Ishmael and the other lusty dragon-slayers to make knowing glances at Ahab’s fetching daughter, played by Sofia Pernas with all the gusto of a petulant supermodel on her day off. But she has every right to seem burdened. Except for a brief flashback of Ahab’s martyred sister and some fleshy beer wenches at the dragon slayers’ saloon, she’s the only female character in this very dull movie.

• A divorced mom (Lea Thompson) packs the brood for an educational vacation to Scotland. Little does she know that a careless booking agent has assigned the very same cabin to a divorced dad (Steven Brand) with the same last name. Gosh, what could happen? Find out in the made-for- cable romantic comedy “The Cabin” (7 p.m., Hallmark).

Tonight’s other highlights

• Daniel Radcliffe stars in the 2002 fantasy “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (7 p.m., ABC).

• Tim McGraw’s roots explored on “Who Do You Think You Are?” (7 p.m., NBC).

• A free vacation proves troublesome in “Locked Up!” an hour-long episode of “Victorious” (7 p.m., Nickelodeon).

• Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo prepare for “Nick & Vanessa’s Dream Wedding” (8 p.m., TLC).

• Scheduled on two helpings of “48 Hours Mystery” (CBS): a pastor’s wife murdered (8 p.m.), revelations from the minister’s other woman (9 p.m.).

• Elle Macpherson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Cee Lo Green and Snoop Dogg trade stories on “The Graham Norton Show” (9 p.m., BBC America).

• “The Lady With 700 Cats” (9 p.m., National Geographic Wild) profiles the head of a no-kill shelter for strays.

Cult choice

Ronald Reagan’s first wife, Jane Wyman, won an Oscar for her role in the 1948 melodrama “Johnny Belinda” (1 a.m., TCM). His second wife and future first lady, Nancy Davis, stars in the 1953 shocker “Donovan’s Brain” (3 a.m.). Both films star Lew Ayres.

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