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Movies of the Week

December 02, 1990|Michael Wilmington

Nutcracker: the Motion Picture (Channel 5 Sunday at 6 p.m.), with the Pacific Northwest Ballet performing Tchaikovsky's scrumptious holiday suite, often gets rapped for its dancing. But director Carroll Ballard and designer-illustrator Maurice Sendak make it a visual treat.

The 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood (Channel 13 Sunday at 6 p.m.), directed by William Keighley (outdoors) and Michael Curtiz (indoors), has Errol Flynn as Robin, Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian, Claude Rains as Prince John and Basil Rathbone as the perfidious Guy of Gisbourne. It's still as fresh and bracing as a spring day in Sherwood Forest.

In The Pick Up Artist (Channel 11 Monday at 8 p.m.), writer-director James Toback and star Robert Downey Jr. try to give us the low-down on womanizing. We're unconvinced.

In the lovely, Texas-set The Trip to Bountiful (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.), adapted by director Peter Masterson and Horton Foote from Foote's celebrated teleplay, Geraldine Page triumphs as elderly but indomitable Mrs. Watts, determined to make a rendezvous with her past.

Ramon Menendez' Stand and Deliver (Channel 28 Monday at 8:45 p.m.) is a good, gritty, realistic look at East L.A., with Edward James Olmos glowering grandly as virtuoso high school calculus teacher Jaime Escalante.

As Jay McInerney's literary reputation has slowly descended, James Bridges' film of his "inside New Yorker" confessional novel, Bright Lights, Big City (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), has kept pace, with Michael J. Fox, Kiefer Sutherland and others floundering in the fast lane.

Naughty and nice: The good news is that George Seaton's evergreen Santa-Claus-at-Macy's parable Miracle on 34th Street (Channel 11 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) is back, with little Natalie Wood crinkling prettily at Edmund Gwenn's Kris Kringle. The bad news: It's colorized.

Director Richard Lang competes against himself Thursday at 8 p.m. In his mid-life-crisis comedy, A Change of Seasons (Channel 5 at 8 p.m.), Shirley MacLaine vies with Bo Derek for the autumnal affections of Anthony Hopkins. (Our money's on Shirley.)

In Kung Fu: the Movie (Channel 13 at 8 p.m.), David Carradine, who beat out Bruce Lee for the original TV show, returns, with Lee's son, Brandon, as a kick-fighting combatant.

The Compleat Beatles (Channel 28 Thursday at 9:05 p.m.) is Patrick Montgomery's documentary on John, Paul, George and Ringo, at a time when we really believed All You Need Is Love. The only thing wrong is that it's not longer.

Was it inevitable? Mark Goldblatt's Dead Heat (Channel 13 Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 6 p.m.), is a grisly fiasco, with Treat Williams and Joe Piscopo as living and dead zombie buddy cops.

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