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Movies of the Week

February 05, 1989|KEVIN THOMAS

Terry Gilliam's warped and wonderful 1981 Time Bandits (Channel 5 Sunday at 6 p.m.) fairly bristles with wit, invention, a wry and fey intelligence and a conjurer's chest of dazzling effects. It revolves around a bright, endearing British 11-year-old (Craig Warnock) who takes off with a six-pack of dwarfs who have stolen a map that charts a few dropped stitches in the fabric of the universe--virtual trips through time and space.

Conan the Barbarian (Channel 13 Sunday at 6 p.m.) revives the heroic epic in all its innocent pleasures on a spectacular scale and with a sophisticated style. Directed and co-written (with Oliver Stone) by John Milius from a character created by writer Robert E. Howard over 50 years ago, it's a classic struggle between good and evil. Also an homage to illustrator Frank Frazetta, it stars that Frazetta superman come to life--Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Lisa Hartman and Vanessa Williams stars in the new TV movie Full Exposure: The Sex Tapes Scandal (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), a mystery centering on an investigation of a murder in the Los Angeles underworld.

The 1986 Abrahams, Zucker and Zucker Ruthless People (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is that delicious L.A. satire in which the lives of a nouveau riche Beverly Hills couple (Bette Midler, Danny DeVito) are turned upside down when a desperate young couple (Judge Reinhold, Helen Slater) kidnap Midler--only to discover DeVito doesn't want her back at any price.

The 1985 Red Sonja (Channel 5 Monday at 8 p.m.) is a misfired attempt to reteam Arnold Schwarzenegger and his Conan the Barbarian co-star Sandahl Bergman in another Robert E. Howard tale.

In Going Ape! (Channel 11 Monday at 8 p.m.) the humans act more like a bunch of baboons than the simians. In this numbskull 1981 comedy, Tony Danza inherits $5 million with the proviso that he keep--and protect--three prize orangutans for at least five years.

The ads for The Beastmaster (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), a pleasant 1982 variation on "Conan the Barbarian," proclaimed that its athletic hero (Marc Singer) was "born with the courage of an eagle, the strength of a panther and the power of a god"--and that pretty much sums him up.

Rear Window (Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is the first of four of Hitchcock's finest to screen on Channel 13's 8 p.m. movie slot. The others: Vertigo (Wednesday), North by Northwest (Thursday) and 1956's The Man Who Knew Too Much (Friday).

The 1980 Borderline (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.), one of the first Hollywood movies to deal with the plight of illegal aliens, stars Charles Bronson as a border patrol chief. It's a sympathetic portrait of a shrewd old pro who does his job well, if unwillingly.

If the 1984 Joy of Sex (Channel 11 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is good for anything, it's as a screen test for several charming young actors (Lisa Langlois and Cameron Dye in particular) getting the better of this dumb, gross and offensive coming-of-age tale.

Directed by Don Siegel, Telefon (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is a diverting, sleek but nevertheless routine and slight spy thriller, starring Charles Bronson and Lee Remick.

The Final Countdown (Channel 11 Thursday at 8 p.m.), the aircraft carrier Nimitz zips 40 years across time to intercept the Japanese war fleet en route to Pearl Harbor. Weak on special effects, this 1980 film gets by on the cleverness of its story.

The White Buffalo (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.), an offbeat 1977 Western, stars Charles Bronson as a Wild Bill Hickock for whom the image of buffalo is a symbol of death.

The Black Stallion (Channel 5 Saturday at 6 p.m.) is one of the most irresistible movies ever made about a boy and a horse, and Excalibur (Channel 13 Saturday at 10 p.m.) is one of the most engaging renderings of Arthurian legend.

A Taste of Honey (Channel 28 Saturday at 10 p.m.) is that engaging 1961 movie from the Shelagh Delaney play about a woebegone girl (Rita Tushingham) left pregnant by a sailor and cared for by her devoted gay friend (Murray Melvin).

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