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Prime-Time Flicks

February 12, 1995|Kevin Thomas

The big exception to the overall doom and gloom of Tim Burton's 1992 Batman Returns (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is Michelle Pfeiffer's stylish and funny performance as the frumpy Selina Kyle and her alter ego, the gender-bending, whip-cracking Catwoman. As if to make up for the Joker's absence, Michael Keaton's Batman is given three adversaries to tussle with, the most sinister being the Penguin, half man, half bird (Danny DeVito). Still, DeVito's bad guy and the others are uninvolving.

In the 1986 Down and Out in Beverly Hills (KTLA Monday at 8 p.m.), Paul Mazursky's inspired reworking of the old French play filmed by Jean Renoir as "Boudu Saved from Drowning," Nick Nolte's gloriously iconoclastic vagabond drops into the nouveau riche household of Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler, the Beverly Hills housewife supreme.

The engine that drives the 1992 summer hit Sister Act (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.), which is graced with a clever script and a cast that will make you smile till you ache, is, of course, Whoopi Goldberg, irascible mistress of the double take. She's the lead singer in the most marginal of Reno lounges--and the frustrated lover of gangster Harvey Keitel--when she accidentally witnesses a major crime. This means that until she can testify she has to hide out--in a San Francisco Carmelite nunnery, natch.

The 1986 Ruthless People (KTLA Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is that delicious L.A. satire in which the lives of another Beverly Hills couple (again Bette Midler, teamed with Danny DeVito) are turned upside down when Midler is kidnaped (by a desperate Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater) and DeVito doesn't want her back.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (KTTV Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a light 1992 comedy in which ace cheerleader Buffy (Kristy Swanson) dreams that she will "marry Christian Slater and die" but learns (from Donald Sutherland) that she is her generation's designated vampire killer. With Luke Perry, Paul Reubens and Rutger Hauer.

The 'Burbs (AMC Thursday at 8 p.m.), a grimly unfunny 1989 comedy, finds three neighbors, all grown men (Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern and Rick Ducommun), behaving like little boys after a weird family moves into their cul-de-sac.

In the 1987 Dragnet (KTLA Friday at 8 p.m.), a spoof of the old radio and TV series, Dan Akyroyd is fine as Joe Friday's officious, super-square nephew as is Tom Hanks as his swift-witted foil. But the film goes over the top with a plot involving virgin sacrifices and pagan ritual.

The 1949 Elizabeth of Ladymead (KCET Saturday at 10:45 p.m.) is one of the many collaborations of British star Anna Neagle and her director husband Herbert Wilcox. Here, four husbands come home from war--1854, 1903, 1919 and 1946--to find their wives greatly changed.

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