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Movies of the Week

January 15, 1989|Kevin Thomas

Unconquered (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) is a new TV movie based on the story of Richmond Flowers Jr., an Alabama youth who overcomes asthma and bigotry to become a world-class athlete. Dermot Mulroney, Peter Coyote and Tess Harper star.

Michael Keaton stars in Ron Howard's amusing but overly stereotypical 1986 comedy Gung Ho (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), playing a Pennsylvania plant foreman who persuades a Japanese conglomerate to buy the bankrupt local auto company only to find that he and his pals have a hard time hewing to no-nonsense Japanese methods.

Arnold Schwarzenegger manages not to take himself too seriously, but that's about the only redeeming virtue of the ultra-violent, ultra-complicated 1986 Raw Deal (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.), which features Schwarzenegger as the least conspicuous sheriff in all rural North Carolina, recruited by FBI veteran Darren McGavin to infiltrate Chicago Mafia lord Sam Wanamaker's inner circle.

9 1/2 Weeks (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m., again Saturday at 8 p.m.), based on a woman's pseudonymous account of a masochistic love affair, became a swooningly silly cautionary tale about the bad (Mickey Rourke) and the beautiful (Kim Basinger), a pair whose sexual tastes might have surfaced after a night of watching Bo Derek's "Bolero" on videocassette.

The 1984 film of The Little Drummer Girl (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 10 p.m.) squeezed the life out of the John le Carre novel--a work of much psychological complexity, richness and subtlety--leaving only the most mechanical kind of suspense. Diane Keaton is game but thrashes about in a one-dimensional part as an actress recruited by Israelis to snare a Palestinian terrorist leader.

The Cover Girl and the Cop (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) is a new TV movie, a comedy about a beautiful actress/model (Julia Duffy) and a tough policewoman (Dinah Manoff) forced to live and work together when they are pursued by killers.

The Ryan White Story (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) is another new fact-based TV movie in which Lukas Haas stars as a youth barred from school because he has AIDS.

Rebel (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a dynamic, ambitious World War II musical fantasy-romance from Australia that overreaches yet leaves us better nourished than the usual run-of-the-mill movie. In essence the 1986 film is a backstage musical in which the brassy, gutsy star (Debbie Byrne) of a Sydney nightclub revue becomes involved with a troubled young American Marine (Matt Dillon).

Still another new TV movie based on actual events, Desperate for Love (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.) stars Christian Slater and Brian Bloom as Georgia teen-agers whose attraction to the same girl (Veronica Cartwright) has tragic consequences.

The Adventures of Mark Twain (Channel 13 Wednesday at 8 p.m.), made in 1985, is of more interest for its claymation techniques than as a Twain pastiche exploring the darker side of his personality.

Lawrence Kasdan's 1981 Body Heat (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is an amusing and very steamy contemporary variation on "Double Indemnity" with William Hurt and Kathleen Turner in the Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck roles.

Director John Carpenter made a nifty 1978 TV movie debut with Someone's Watching Me! (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.), which stars Lauren Hutton as a career woman who can't convince the cops that somebody is stalking her.

Husbands (Channel 28 Friday at 10:30 p.m.), John Cassavetes' powerful comment on the failure of American men to grow up, stars Ben Gazzara (never better), Peter Falk and Cassavetes himself as three suburban New York family men on a binge in the wake of the death of one of their friends.

The Defiant Ones (ABC Saturday at 8 p.m.) is a so-so remake of the 1958 classic, with Robert Urich and Carl Weathers in the roles created so memorably by Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier.

The ratings checks on movies in the TV log are provided by the Tribune TV Log listings service.

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