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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

December 23, 1990|KEVIN THOMAS

Always Remember I Love You (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.), a new TV movie, features Stephen Dorff as a teen-ager who discovers he was stolen from his biological parents at the age of two. Patty Duke and Joan Van Ark head the cast.

Guess Who's Coming to Christmas? (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), another new TV movie, stars Richard Mulligan as a small-town eccentric and Beau Bridges as the extra-terrestrial who befriends him.

Skin Game (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.) is an unlikely and exceptional 1971 comedy about two con men (James Garner and Louis Gossett Jr.), posing as master and slave in the South, circa 1857.

The 1986 TV movie Christmas Eve (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) may be hokey and melodramatic but Loretta Young, as a dying grande dame determined to track down her three grandchildren estranged from her son (Arthur Hill), makes it all work.

After a promising start, Roots: The Gift (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.), a 1987 TV movie sequel to the landmark maxiseries, lapses into a contrived Christmas tale. However, LeVar Burton and Louis Gossett Jr. hold their own but don't get to add any dimensions to characters they created in "Roots" as they conduct a perilous mission guiding slaves to freedom at Christmastime, 1775.

With all the Christmas-themed offerings, it's bracing to see that Citizen Kane (TBS Tuesday at 7:20 p.m.), the film many consider the greatest of the sound era, will be surfacing in prime time. After nearly half a century, Orson Welles' spin on the William Randolph Hearst myth remains fresh and innovative.

The Wizard (CBS Tuesday at 8 p.m.), a 1989 release about video games and the kids who are obsessed with them, is bright, fast and energetic but has scant real life in it. Fred Savage, Beau Bridges and Christian Slater star.

Returning again for the holiday season, The Gathering (Channel 9 Tuesday at 8 p.m.), a powerful, richly textured 1977 TV movie directed by Randal Kleiser and written by the late James Poe, stars Edward Asner as a tough old industrialist, now dying and eager to bring together his estranged family at Christmas. With Maureen Stapleton as his wife.

"Miami Vice's" executive producer Michael Mann made a splashly 1981 directorial debut with the high-style, hard-edged Thief (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.), in which James Caan (in top form) plays a professional criminal determined to break away and live a normal life.

In the delightful 1984 The Muppets Take Manhattan (Channel 11 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy et al descend upon the Big Apple determined to have a hit on Broadway; the virtues of friendship and tenacity are deftly extolled.

In Aliens (CBS Thursday at 8 p.m.), the sequel to 1979's "Alien," Sigourney Weaver as Officer Ripley returns to the planet LB426 with a troop of Marines to check out her horror story about a hideous monster and to re-establish contact with a colony of people. Directed by James Cameron.

That's Entertainment! (Channel 5 Saturday at 8 p.m.) skims off the creamier delights from more than 40 years of MGM musicals to irresistible effect.

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