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Prime-Time Flicks

October 02, 1994|Kevin Thomas

Disney has reworked Jack London's White Fang (KTLA Sunday at 6 p.m.), a social parable of a wolf-dog transfored by love, into a sometimes gooey but overall likable 1991 film of a boy and his dog. A new character (Ethan Hawke) is introduced, obviously modeled on London himself. A TV movie that aired earlier this year, Vanishing Son II (KTLA Sunday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m.) is about two brothers (Russell Wong, Chi Muoi Lo) from China who go their separate ways in America.

Martin Campbell's notable 1991 suspense-thriller Defenseless (KCAL Sunday at 10 p.m.) is a satisfying genre film, set in Los Angeles and enlivened by a splendid cast headed by Barbara Hershey as an attorney suspected of murder--and stalked by a killer.

The real violence in the 1991 V.I. Warshawski (KTLA Monday at 8 p.m.) is directed not toward anyone on the screen but rather against Sara Paretsky's popular novels, which are the nominal inspiration for this tepid thriller. A well-cast Kathleen Turner is mired in a mishmash of a plot having to do with the Chicago private eye trying to find out who murdered an ex-hockey great with whom she had been flirting.

The 1990 Narrow Margin (KTLA Tuesday at 8 p.m.), despite Gene Hackman's reliably strong presence and some good action sequences, is a textbook example of how not to remake a classic--in this case Richard Fleischer's 1952 film noir set aboard a train and starring Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor.

As the dutiful son of a New York slumlord, Joe Pesci has the title role in the good-natured yet pertinent 1992 comedy The Super (KTTV Tuesday at 8 p.m.), in which Pesci is sentenced to living 120 days in his own derelict East Village apartment building.

Whoopi Goldberg is fun as a flashy, sassy undercover cop, but the ultra-bloody 1987 Fatal Beauty (KTLA Wednesday at 8 p.m.) succumbs to hypocrisy in trying to preach against drugs while exploiting violence to the hilt. Not helping matters is the emasculation of the romance between Goldberg and Sam Elliott, head of security for a bad guy.

Peter Hyams' 1986 Running Scared (KTLA Thursday at 8 p.m.) stars Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines as undercover Chicago cops dreaming of opening a bar in Key West but waylaid by plenty of exploits in the Windy City. It's a stylish genre film enlivened by the stars' exceptional rapport.

KCET is offering a memorable Marlene Dietrich Saturday night double feature, The Blue Angel (at 9 p.m.) and A Foreign Affair (at 10:45 p.m.).

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