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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

January 28, 1990|Kevin Thomas

Annie (NBC Sunday at 7 p.m.) was good-natured fun on the stage but landed with a thud on the screen, so overblown and cold that neither the irresistibleness of Aileen Quinn's Annie or Albert Finney's multidimensioned Daddy Warbucks could save it.

Don Siegel's The Shootist (Channel 13 Sunday at 8 p.m.) is a grandly elegiac Western and fitting farewell for John Wayne, cast as a dying gunfighter who craves a peaceful end but has one last mission to accomplish.

Lame, lazy and defiantly empty-headed, the 1985 Spies Like Us (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) stars Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd as a pair of wacky spies, lovable incompetents hired as decoys to divert the KGB.

In its unabashed, deliberate squareness, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) comes out strongly for the old-fashioned virtues of loyalty, bravery and sacrifice. While coming up with another splendid adventure, writer-producer Harve Bennett ingeniously resurrects Spock, who sacrificed himself at the end of "Star Trek II."

John Schneider and Paul Rodriguez star in the new TV movie/series pilot Grand Slam (CBS Sunday at 7:30 p.m., following the Super Bowl), an action comedy about modern-day bounty hunters.

Into the Night (Channel 5 Monday at 7:30 p.m.), John Landis' terrific 1985 comic thriller, takes us on a roller-coaster ride through contemporary L.A. when a harried aerospace engineer (Jeff Goldblum) crosses paths with a beautiful woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) who's being pursued by four killers.

Where Pigeons Go to Die (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie, stars Michael Landon as a man remembering his childhood relationship with his grandfather (Art Carney, on the cover with Landon).

Rich Men, Single Women (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.), another new TV movie, stars Suzanne Somers, Heather Locklear and Deborah Adair as a trio of gold-diggers.

Gotcha! (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) takes its title from a silly campus game in which students shoot paint pellets at each other. The 18-year-old hero (Anthony Edwards) of this minor 1985 effort is caught up in some foreign intrigue in which the bullets become all too real.

The 1984 Dreamscape (Channel 11 Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is mild diversion in which playboy Dennis Quaid, who has formidable ESP gifts, is arm-twisted by his old professor (Max von Sydow) into participating in a decidedly sinister research program.

Sergio Leone's stunning Once Upon a Time in America airs in its long version in two parts, on Channel 13 Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. An almost-five-decade saga of some ghetto-born gangsters, it centers on the undying friendship between Robert De Niro and James Woods from the time they were boys on New York's Lower Eastside in the '20s.

Brad Davis and Madolyn Smith star in the new TV movie The Plot to Kill Hitler (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.).

Neil Simon's Seems Like Old Times (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) reworks countless romantic madcap movies from the past. Goldie Hawn plays a lawyer specializing in defending hopeless cases who is married to a politically ambitious D.A. (Charles Grodin) but previously wed to Chevy Chase, a free-lance investigative reporter, an innocent now in trouble.

Wolfgang Petersen's 1985 Enemy Mine (Channel 11 Wednesday at 8 p.m.), a science-fiction parable in which two combatants--a human (Dennis Quaid) and his opposite number from the planet Dracon (Louis Gossett Jr.)--crash-land on a desolate off-world. Unfortunately, the film lapses into a rip-roaring space opera (and without much real rip or roar, worse luck).

The 1985 Fletch (Channel 5 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is at times smart, dead-pan dry and funny but at others it's faintly superior and condescending. Chase plays a supercilious L.A. investigative reporter on the trail of high-level drug traffickers.

Jonathan Demme's 1986 Something Wild (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is one of his best, a romantic comedy-adventure that shows off Demme's eye for the dark cloud behind every lining. Jeff Daniels is a nice yuppie lassoed by free-spirited Melanie Griffith.

Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins' whimsical and suspenseful 1981 Dragonslayer (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.) features the wondrously terrifying Vermithrax Pejorative, the terror of 6th-Century Britain. The late Ralph Richardson stars in this glorious Dark Ages adventure as an old sorcerer, with young Peter MacNichol as his young apprentice.

Don Siegel's wry, witty Coogan's Bluff (Channel 5 Saturday at 8 p.m.) turns loose Southwestern lawman Clint Eastwood on Manhattan's mean streets.

The thoroughly engaging Hard Driver (Channel 9 Saturday at 8 p.m.), released theatrically as "The Last American Hero," stars Jeff Bridges as the real-life Junior Johnson, one of the fastest automobile racing drivers in history.

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

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