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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

Trenchcoat (Channel 5 Sunday at 6 p.m.) is an anemic 1983...

April 23, 1989|KEVIN THOMAS

Trenchcoat (Channel 5 Sunday at 6 p.m.) is an anemic 1983 mystery-comedy from Disney with a caper plot involving fledgling mystery writer Margot Kidder, who is the sole reason for sitting through this disappointment. With that grand gargle of a voice, she manages to be absolutely lovable as she suffers through the film's absurdities with vigor and elan.

In his sleek and scary 1981 Wolfen (Channel 13 Sunday at 6 p.m.), director Michael Wadleigh keeps us mystified right up to a jolting finish. Albert Finney stars as a veteran Manhattan cop trying to solve a series of perplexing killings which are so swiftly brutal nobody can figure out how they were done. The film's bravura special effects are so firmly held in check by a carefully established premise, succinct characterizations and much wry wit that the film is able to evolve into an allegory on the perils of man's violence against nature.

Tim Matheson stars in the new TV movie The Littlest Victims (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) as Dr. James Oleske, one of the first physicians to detect AIDS in children.

Baywatch: Panic at Malibu Pier (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) stars David Hasselhoff and Parker Stevenson as lifeguards in what sounds like a series pilot.

Peter Gunn (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is another new TV movie, with Peter Strauss cast as the suave private eye created by Craig Stevens in the Blake Edwards TV series.

Margaret Bourke-White (TNT Monday at 5 p.m.) is a new TV movie starring Farrah Fawcett as the Life magazine photographer who gained recognition for her pioneering work in still photography. Frederic Forrest co-stars as playwright and novelist Erskine Caldwell.

Tough Guys (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) may be less than plausible, especially at the finish, but this 1986 film is a rousing success as a tribute to its durably larger-than-life stars, Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, who triumph over their own canonization as a pair of veteran bank robbers, released into the modern world after years in the slammer.

Bruce Boxleitner stars in The Road Raiders (CBS Tuesday at 8 p.m.), a new TV movie about an oddball World War II military unit.

Last Train From Gun Hill (Channel 11 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a solid 1959 John Sturges Western which stars Kirk Douglas as a steely sheriff determined to bring the young killer of his wife to justice.

The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is the first (1985) of the three unfortunate TV movie sequels to the mordant Robert Aldrich 1967 World War II adventure; Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Richard Jaeckel returned from the original.

Peter Hyams' highly entertaining 1981 Outland (Channel 13 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is "High Noon" cleverly transposed to outer space and affords Sean Connery one of his strongest portrayals as a federal marshal who's pulled a year's tour of duty at a mining colony on a volcanic moon of Jupiter. He's there only two weeks when he becomes puzzled by a series of deaths, all of them apparent suicides.

Stacy Keach, Keith Carradine and Steve Railsback star in The Forgotten (USA Wednesday at 9 p.m.). It's a new cable movie about six Green Berets who are released by the Vietnamese government.

Nighthawks (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m., again on Saturday at 10 p.m.) is a great-looking, fast-paced 1981 terrorist thriller so stripped down that it's outright vague as to why--or for whom--professional assassin Rutger Hauer is on such a rampage. Pursuing him are New York undercover policemen Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams, with Stallone's estranged wife (Lindsay Wagner) eventually becoming Hauer's target. Also featured are Nigel Davenport as the head of Interpol and Persis Khambatta as Hauer's accomplice.

Conan the Destroyer (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.) is the amusing 1984 Richard Fleischer-directed sequel to "Conan the Barbarian." This time Arnold Schwarzenegger's Frank Frazetta-like superhero is teamed appropriately with Grace Jones.

8 1/2 (Channel 28 Saturday at 10 p.m.) is Federico Fellini's dreamy, reflective masterpiece about a film director in crisis. As usual, Marcello Mastroianni is superb as Fellini's alter-ego.

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

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