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February 07, 1988|Kevin Thomas

Dyan Cannon sounds like perfect casting as the Rock and Roll Mom (ABC Sunday at 7 p.m), a new "Disney Sunday Movie" in which she plays a suburban mother of teen-agers who unexpectedly becomes a singing sensation, only to be forced to hide her true identity.

CBS at 9 p.m. Sunday begins the two-part, four-hour version of Sidney Sheldon's Windmills of the Gods, a tale of international intrigue starring Jaclyn Smith and Robert Wagner (on the cover). It concludes Tuesday at 9 p.m.

ABC weighs in Sunday at 9 p.m. with its two-part TV film of Priscilla Presley's Elvis and Me, starring Dale Midkiff and Susan Walters (concludes Monday at 8:30 p.m.).

Meanwhile, NBC counters Sunday at 9 p.m. with the network TV debut of the phenomenally popular, multimillion-dollar fantasy Rambo, in which a taciturn Sylvester Stallone is a battalion of one taking on the combined Soviet and Vietnamese armies--and his own Washington superiors--to single-handedly rescue America's MIAs.

Barry Levinson's 1982 star-making Diner (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.), a fresh and honest recapturing of our past, rescues our memories of the '50s and early '60s from the high gloss that TV has put on them and lets them stand, tender and real. It takes its title from a Fells Point hangout for recent high school grads Steve Guttenberg, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon and Daniel Stern (who's married to Ellen Barkin) who lead an existence on the edge of a desperation that is just making itself felt.

Channel 13 presents David Lean's monumental World War II epic The Bridge on the River Kwai Monday at 8 p.m., with the conclusion due at the same hour Tuesday; it also airs on WGN Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Jason Bateman of "Valerie's Family" stars in the new TV movie Moving Target (NBC Monday at 8:30 p.m.), playing a teen-ager whose family disappears without a word of warning.

In The Rose (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), made in 1979, Bette Midler is unforgettable as a Janis Joplin-like late '60s rock star hitting the rock bottom of her physical, emotional and creative resources. Midler's Rose craves both love and acceptance as an artist yet is unable to summon the self-control fame demands. The Rose--and Midler--are stunners, thanks to Mark Rydell's sensitive, nobly self-effacing direction and a dynamic script by Bill Kerby and Bo Goldman.

Mask (Channel 5 Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., also on WGN Thursday at 9:30 p.m.) forthrightly introduces us to a San Fernando Valley 15-year-old, so beautifully played by Eric Stoltz, and lets us get used to his cruelly disfigured face until we discover what is really exceptional about him: his levelheadedness and sweet spirit. First-time writer Anna Hamilton Phelan and director Peter Bogdanovich also have created a stunning role for Cher, who is ferociously fine as the boy's mother, a strong yet vulnerable woman with a taste for lowlife men and amphetamine highs. Mask is a risky movie that nevertheless achieves a broad emotional appeal.

This week Channel 13 is showing at 8 p.m. three of Alfred Hitchcock's finest: Rear Window (Wednesday), North by Northwest (Friday) and arguably his greatest achievement, the exquisitely romantic Vertigo (Saturday). All three are timeless in their mastery of style and psychological suspense.

Brian De Palma's The Fury (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is an exciting triumph of style over substance, involving a super-secret government agency, a man (Kirk Douglas) determined to locate his missing son (Andrew Stevens) and a girl (Amy Irving) with extraordinary psychic powers.

That classic of classics, Casablanca, is back on Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (ABC Thursday at 8:30 p.m.) once again propels us into the 23rd Century, but the ride is much smoother than it was in "Star Trek--The Motion Picture." Instead of trying to compete with the special-effects space spectaculars, it recaptures the spirit of the popular TV series. This time around Paul Winfield and Walter Koenig are scouting for a dead planet as a site for a life-generating experiment when they come across Khan (Ricardo Montalban, a fine, hiss-inspiring villain), an old nemesis of Admiral Kirk (William Shatner).

The ultraviolent Bad Boys (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.) tells us nothing new about reform school horrors, but it does have Sean Penn, who manages to surmount his lack of revealing lines and turn a glower into something approaching a characterization. Ally Sheedy is his perfect, compassionate girlfriend, and as his sworn enemy, Esai Morales of "La Bamba" has a role you might imagine Latinos had had enough of by now.

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