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Prime-Time Flicks

July 18, 1993|Kevin Thomas

The line between battered women and battered viewers gets straddled in the unsavory 1991 Dolly Parton TV movie Wild Texas Wind (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.), in which Parton plays an unknown country crooner whose sweet-talking, well-meaning manager and promoter (Gary Busey), is an apparently decent but damaged guy devoid of self-control.

The 1988 Die Hard (KTTV Monday at 8 p.m.) is the big-deal Hollywood exploitation picture, like a giant war toy that is a triumph of well-oiled mechanical precision that performs miracles of destruction. As a human drama it is disgusting and silly, a mindless depiction of carnage on an epic scale. Bruce Willis is cast as a gritty police detective who takes on a bunch of terrorists who have taken over an office tower.

Alien (KTLA Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a preposterously scary 1979 science-fiction picture in which seven earthling space travelers, including Sigourney Weaver, visit a bizarre planet and acquire a fellow traveler, an alien--an indestructible (and ever-growing) Thing.

The 1991 TV movie Bump in the Night (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.) finds a drunk of a divorced mother (Meredith Baxter), awakening from a stupor to discover that her 8-year-old son (Corey Carrier) never made it to school. The boy has been lured to an apartment by a pedophile (Christopher Reeve, totally convincing in what certainly must be his most challenging role), a former English professor who tells the lonely boy he's taking him to see his father.

John Carpenter's 1988 horror picture They Live (KTLA Thursday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m.) is uneven but can be forgiven everything because of the sheer nasty pizazz of its central concept: America is run by an oligarchy of outer-space ghouls who have clouded everyone's mind through subliminal advertising in the media.

Slicing and dicing their adversaries with precision, the Ninja are once again on the rampage in American Ninja (KTLA Friday at 8 p.m.), a violent, supercharged adventure that breathes new life into the martial arts genre. This 1985 film resounds with verve and enthusiasm, thanks to Sam Firstenberg, a savvy young action director. Michael Dudikoff stars.

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