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MOVIES of The Week

January 29, 1989|Kevin Thomas

Home Fires Burning (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), a new "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation, depicts the impact of World War II upon a small Southern town. Barnard Hughes stars as the editor of the local paper who is the conscience of the community.

She Knows Too Much (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), another new TV movie, tells of a federal agent working with a cat burglar who is the key to the solution of a high-level murder in Washington. Meredith Baxter Birney and Robert Urich star.

Ghostbusters (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is the 1984 mega-hit comedy starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis as three whimsical chaps in pursuit of things that go bump in the night; their leading lady is Sigourney Weaver.

Oh, God! Book II (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.) is not so much a sequel as an alternate version of George Burns trying to set his Earthly house in order with a little help from his friends. As before, the script does a clever tap dance around the pitfalls of blasphemy and sentimentality, but the novelty has worn off. Nonetheless, thanks to Burns, it's a cheerful enough family entertainment.

In Blake Edwards' 1986 That's Life! (CBS Monday at 9 p.m.), one of the masters of movie comedy takes on some grim subjects: familial strife, decay and mortality--and turns them into one of the funniest, most-life embracing films he has ever made. Edwards imagines a married couple in the throes of an almost unbearable weekend, one in which the husband (Jack Lemmon) is feeling sorry for himself with the advent of his 60th birthday while his wife (Julie Andrews) is, unknown to him, waiting out the results of a biopsy.

Runaway Train (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.), Andrei Konchalovsky's lurid 1985 film based on Akira Kurosawa's nightmare tale of imprisonment, sadism, revenge and liberation, finds a dark train hurtling through a wintry wasteland with its brakes burned off and three passengers aboard: Jon Voight's escaped killer, his nervous, adoring pal Eric Roberts and a thin, pigtailed railway employee (Rebecca De Mornay). It may be existential, but it's also ultra-violent; too bad Kurosawa never got to do the film himself.

One of the most famous movies of all time, Alfred Hitchcock's classic Psycho is back (on Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), and its 1986 sequel Psycho III airs on Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.

The 1983 Going Berserk (Channel 13 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is episodic, graceless, often outrageous and sometimes crassly funny. John Candy stars as a nerdish part-time limousine driver and aspiring drummer whose fiancee (Alley Mills) is kidnaped by a religious aerobics cult leader (Richard Libertini) for his own crazed purposes.

Dream Breakers (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie, takes a look at corruption in big business through a Chicago building contractor (Robert Loggia) and his two very different sons, one eager to get ahead no matter what (D.W. Moffett), the other a dedicated priest (Kyle MacLachlan).

Gene Wilder's 1986 Haunted Honeymoon (Channel 13 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is an amusing, bouncy horror comedy that has fun not only with the old-dark-house genre but also those corny but beloved scare shows of the Golden Age of Radio. It may be slight but it does put a smile on your face and keep it there. In the film, it's 1939 and radio mystery stars Wilder and Gilda Radner are to be married in his great-aunt's Charles Addams-style estate.

In the 1986 Poltergeist: The Other Side (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) the Freeling family (JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O'Rourke and Oliver Robins) are suffering from something far worse than supernatural terrors: the Inevitable Sequel. They're put through pretty much the same scary paces but without the hardness or urgency of the original.

Mellow, beautiful, rich and brimming with love, Woody Allen's 1986 Hannah and Her Sisters (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is perfection itself. It's Allen's best yet, revealing greater emotional complexity, more understanding of the foibles of others, and less edgy about his own. Smart, funny and touching, the film is set deep in the lives of a vibrant family whom we follow from Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving over a two-year period. At its heart are three sisters: the sustaining Mia Farrow, the stunning Barbara Hershey and the fragile, skittish Dianne Wiest.

Directed by Billy Woodberry and written and photographed by Charles Burnett, the 1984 Bless Their Little Hearts (Channel 28 Friday at 11 p.m.) is a deeply compassionate yet unrelenting study of a black family man (Nate Hardman) caught up in a losing struggle to make ends meet.

The Last Picture Show (Channel 28 Saturday at 10 p.m.) is the fine 1971 film by director Peter Bogdanovich about the lives of people in a small town in Texas during the 1950s and how they begin to change when the only movie theater in town prepares to close. Featured are compelling performances by Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn and Ben Johnson.

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

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