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Prime-Time Flicks

March 20, 1994|Kevin Thomas

Duel (KTLA Sunday at 6 p.m.) is that tense 1971 Steven Spielberg TV movie with Dennis Weaver as a businessman in a rented car inexplicably menaced by a tractor-trailer truck.

It was Dustin Hoffman who won the Oscar for his performance as an autistic middle-aged man, but it's Tom Cruise who carries the 1988 Rain Man (ABC Sunday at 8 p.m.). Cruise plays a wheeler-dealer brother to Hoffman who becomes a changed man after their cross-country trip together.

The 1988 The Blob (KTLA Monday at 8 p.m.) is another overblown remake of a '50s horror movie, changing the lean and mean original into a stomach-churning production of splashy color. It also tries, without much success, to bring out political, sexual and psychological undercurrents that had been buried.

Bird on a Wire (NBC Monday at 8:30 p.m.), a frenetic and witless 1990 comedy, stars Mel Gibson as a former counterculture roustabout, now in the Federal Witness Relocation Program. He is working in a gas station when he's recognized by his ex-sweetheart Goldie Hawn.

Volunteers (KTLA Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a disappointing 1985 Tom Hanks comedy co-starring the late John Candy. Hanks plays an arrogant rich boy in Yale's class of '62 who wings off to the jungles of Thailand with the Peace Corps.

The 1990 Marked for Death (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.) is a smart piece of hard-action--and ultraviolent--filmmaking in which a fed-up undercover agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (Steven Seagal) is reluctantly drawn into taking on a Chicago-based Jamaican drug gang.

John Carpenter's 1988 horror picture They Live (KTLA 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 everybody's mind through subliminal advertising in the media.

The 1992 TV movie Four Eyes and Six-Guns (KTLA Saturday at 8 p.m.) is that rare comedic Western that doesn't trash the Old West, instead delicately balancing a love for the myth of the West with low-key humor that serves rather than detracts from that myth. Judge Reinhold, in a rich variation on the greenhorn who turns into a reluctant hero, plays an earnest, almost fastidious optometrist who flees the dull East for Tombstone.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (ABC Saturday at 9 p.m.), the ferocious 1990 sequel to the 1984 chuckle-and-scream hit, lets loose those icky dragon-rats in the belly of the mass consumer beast, mid-town Manhattan.

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