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Critics' Picks

April 01, 1990|Sheila Benson | Noteworthy films, with mini-reviews by Times critics

Dead Calm (Cinemax Sunday at 10 p.m., Wednesday at 11:45 p.m., Friday at 10 p.m.): Phillip Noyce's 1989 thriller is a spare, smart, seductive piece of real movie making with (almost) every loophole covered, a superlative cast and enough tension to keep us all hyperventilating for hours. Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman are on an extended South Pacific voyage when they cross paths with insinuating Billy Zane.

Zelig (Channel 13 Monday at 10 a.m.): This is a sweet, piercing, startlingly inventive film, a little rueful around the edges, in which Woody Allen fakes a documentary about one Leonard Zelig (played by Allen) who in his meteoric moment in the public eye stood somewhere between Charles Lindbergh and Babe Ruth. What emerges amid considerable technical brilliance and wit is a rather distanced commentary about the perils of living a life in a goldfish bowl.

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