By Mike Hughes
Gannett News Service
By Mike Hughes
"The Italian Job" (2003), 8 p.m., NBC. Here's the ideal heist film — something that is fast, fun, flashy and perfectly cast. The movie starts with a spectacular theft — complete with speedboats. It ends with a second heist, this time with zippy, yellow mini-cars zipping past a traffic jam. All of that looks great, as we expected it might. Prior to this, director F. Gary Gray did most of his work in music videos. Still, "The Italian Job" has a much classier cast than it needed. Charlize Theron and Edward Norton — both capable of Oscar-quality work in serious films — are excellent in this lighter duty. Mark Wahlberg stars. Donald Sutherland and Mos Def are in support. It's a varied cast — but maybe not as varied as the original, 1969 movie. That one backed Michael Caine with (really) Noel Coward and (we are not making this up) Benny Hill.
"Billy Elliott" (2000), 6 p.m., VH1. Part of the beauty of this Oscar-nominated British gem is its depiction of a fading, blue-collar town and the stoic sturdiness of the people who remain. In that setting we meet young Billy (Jamie Bell) who savors ballet. Written (by Lee Hall) and directed (by Stephen Daldry) with spare eloquence, "Billy Elliott" is a richly human film.
"Celebrity Debut," 7 p.m., ABC. This network has shuffled its plans for tonight a couple times and may do it again. For now, however, it has this rerun at 7 p.m. and the movie an hour later than usual. "Celebrity Debut" gives us glimpses of Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, John Travolta and others, before they were stars.
"NCIS," 7 p.m., CBS. Six decades after he was a young infantryman on D-Day, Charles Durning remains a strong actor at 83. This rerun has him playing a Medal of Honor winner who now says he killed his best friend at Iwo Jima.
"Close to Home," 8 p.m., CBS. After a youth-league baseball game, one player kills an opponent with a bat. The defendant's parents seem more concerned about his baseball career than about his crime.
"Practical Magic" (1998), 8 p.m., ABC. Sure, there must be some benefits to being beautiful witches. Still, there are also the drawbacks, including the fact that the men they fall in love with have untimely deaths. Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock star as sisters, trying to reverse the curse.
"Saturday Night Live," 10:30 p.m., NBC. Steve Carell ("The Office") hosts. Kanye West is the musical guest.