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Critics' Picks

May 27, 1990|Kevin Thomas | Kevin Thomas,

Noteworthy films, with mini-reviews by Times critics.

Tequila Sunrise (Cinemax Monday at 8 p.m.): Writer-director Robert Towne draws upon his wry Chandleresque view of Los Angeles, as he did in his script for "Chinatown," to define a keenly observed contemporary tale of timeless moral ambiguity, involving a disturbingly complex and equivocal drug dealer (Mel Gibson), his high school pal, now a cop (Kurt Russell) and a beautiful restaurateur (Michelle Pfeiffer).

The Offence (A&E Friday at 6 p.m., again at 10 p.m.): A splendid, unjustly neglected 1973 British film in which Sean Connery, at his very best under Sidney Lumet's direction, plays a veteran police sergeant, haunted by years of contact with terrible crimes, who's on the brink of a total breakdown.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Disney Friday at 7 p.m., again at 2:30 a.m., TMC at 11 p.m.; TMC Saturday at 12:30 p.m., again at 9 p.m.): Dense, satisfying, feverishly inventive and a technical marvel, this 1988 live-action/animation blockbuster hit is a sort of inked-in film noir with outrageous sight gags. Bob Hoskins stars as a seedy gumshoe, and the film's mystery plot involves a last, great roundup of cartoon stars. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, with Oscar winner Richard Williams serving as director of animation.

When the Legends Die (Channel 9 Saturday at 11 a.m.): This splendid 1972 film provided Frederic Forrest with his first major role and Richard Widmark with one of the finest roles of his career. Forrest plays a Ute Indian rodeo bronco rider exploited by Widmark's colorful aging cowboy despite their father-and-son relationship. A complex work, directed with simplicity by Stuart Miller from Robert Dozier's fine adaptation of a Hal Borland novel.

Rustlers' Rhapsody (Channel 13 Saturday at 1 p.m.): Hugh Wilson's 1985 comedy is a sadly overlooked joy, a sweet, affectionate spoof of old low-budget Republic and Columbia Westerns. Tom Berenger is perfectly cast as Rex O'Herlihan, the Singing Cowboy, who with his Wonder Horse Wildfire, made 52 Westerns "before the lights sort of went out."

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