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MOVIES Of The Week

January 10, 1988|KEVIN THOMAS

Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami (CBS Sunday at 8 p.m.), a new TV movie, set in the near future, stars Sam Waterston and Ron Leibman as opposing lawyers in a drama about an international terrorist (Robert Davi) brought to the U.S. for trial.

George Peppard and Kathryn Harrold star in Man Against the Mob (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie about a group of tough detectives dedicated to keeping Los Angeles free from organized crime in the 1940s.

Part 2 of Flight of the Navigator, the "Disney Sunday Movie," airs at 7 p.m.

The new TV movie Freedom Fighter (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) stars Tony Danza as an American G.I. who risks his life helping East Germans escape to the West at the time of the building of the Berlin Wall in the hope that he will be reunited with the woman (Colette Stevenson) he loves.

In Evil in Clear River (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.), another new TV movie, Lindsay Wagner plays a small-town housewife who crusades against a high school teacher (Randy Quaid) whose anti-Semitic beliefs include an insistence that the Holocaust was a myth.

Our awareness that World War II was the last "simple" war, with good and evil clearly defined, adds to the solid pleasure of Eye of the Needle (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), Stanley Mann's adaptation of Ken Follett's novel, directed stunningly by Richard Marquand. It even has a pure '40s score by Miklos Rozsa, crashing in exactly the way movie scores did at the time. Best of all, there are two sterling performances by Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan, plus a raft of staunch supporting players. Sutherland is Der Nadel (The Needle), a spectacularly resourceful and heartless Nazi spy, set deep in Britain for years. His assignment is now to discover where the Allied invasion force will land. When he crosses paths with Nelligan and her crippled husband (Christopher Cazenove) on a remote island on the northernmost part of Scotland, the suspense--and the passion--just build and build.

Dreamscape (Channel 11 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a B-thriller variation on "Brainstorm," considerably less ambitious but lots clearer than the ill-fated earlier film. Zipping past improbabilities--and risibilities too--it's fun if you ask no more of it than mild diversion. A playboy who puts his ESP gifts to good use at the race track, Dennis Quaid is arm-twisted by his old professor Max von Sydow into participating in a research program in which those with telepathic abilities are trained to project themselves into other people's dreams and thereby shape and alter them. You could, for example, scare somebody to death as he or she sleeps. . . .

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, that pleasant and durable perennial with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, is back on Channel 11 Wednesday at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, that epic retelling of the Allied invasion of Normandy, The Longest Day, returns on Channel 5, also at 8 p.m. and airing in two parts, on Wednesday and Thursday.

Diamonds Are Forever (ABC Thursday at 8:30 p.m.), like its six James Bond predecessors, is smashing good entertainment. However, this 1971 film goes easier on the spectacular special effects than some of the earlier Bond movies did. Sean Connery too is a bit more subdued and dignified than usual--and thus closer than ever to Ian Fleming's original concept. Jill St. John is his leading lady.

Even though Dalene Young's script takes some liberties from the life of novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek (Channel 5 Saturday at 8 p.m.), which was directed by Martin Ritt, is an affecting account of the author of "The Yearling's" attempt to come to terms with herself by moving to the Florida backwoods. Mary Steenburgen is a wonderful Rawlings, and she receives stellar support from Alfre Woodard and Rip Torn, among others.

Selected evening cable fare: Paper Moon (Cinemax Sunday at 7, Z Tuesday at 9); The Mosquito Coast (Z Sunday at 7, Wednesday at 9); Dance With a Stranger (Bravo Sunday at 8); Apocalypse Now (Showtime Sunday at 8); Picnic at Hanging Rock (A&E Monday at 6); Bliss (SelecTV Monday at 7); The Beguiled (WTBS Monday at 7); Our Hospitality (Z Monday at 7:30); The Gambler (Z Monday at 9); Diva (A&E Tuesday at 6); The Chosen (HBO Tuesday at 6); Turtle Diary (Z Tuesday at 7); Little Shop of Horrors (1986) (HBO Tuesday at 8, Z Friday at 9); The Long Voyage Home (WTBS Tuesday at 9:20); Into the Night (WGN Tuesday at 9:30); One Wild Moment (Z Wednesday at 7:30); La Strada (Bravo Wednesday at 8:30); Compromising Positions (Movie Channel Wednesday at 9); The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) (Cinemax Wednesday at 9:30); A Great Wall (Cinemax Thursday at 7)

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