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Prime-Time Flicks

October 08, 1995|Kevin Thomas

In the slick but improbable 1987 comedy Stakeout (KTLA Tuesday at 8 p.m.), a detective (played by Richard Dreyfuss with impeccable comic timing) falls in love with a woman (Madeleine Stowe) he has under surveillance.

See No Evil, Hear No Evil (KTLA Friday at 8 p.m.) is a brisk and ingenious 1989 comedy, astutely directed by Arthur Hiller, that happily reunites Richard Pryor (as a blind man) and Gene Wilder (as a deaf man). The film catapults them into adventures and comic mishaps that make the disabled guys they play not only heroes but full-fledged participants in the human comedy that engages us all.

Albert Brooks cannot make an unintelligent comedy, and in his 1991 Defending Your Life (KCOP Saturday at 8 p.m.) his points about the afterlife, as well as the one preceding it, are funny but infrequent. Fans of Meryl Streep may treasure her spaghetti-eating scene here, but in truth her character is substantial as a hologram.

In the 1992 TV movie Just My Imagination (NBC Saturday at 9 p.m.), versatile Jean Smart plays a drawling, prim North Carolina schoolteacher thrust into the arms of a self-important rock star (Tom Wopat, humorously suave). The movie endearingly retreads the old "Prince and the Pauper" romantic fable but gives it a beguiling twist by wedding Small Town, U.S.A., to the glitz and palm trees of Beverly Hills.

With the 1987 Good Morning, Babylon (KCET Saturday at 11 p.m.), Italy's celebrated Taviani brothers spin a fictional tale of two Italian artisan-brothers (Vincent Spano and Joaquim de Almeida) who wind up creating the elephants for the famous Babylon set in D.W. Griffith's "Intolerance," a 1916 silent movie. There's not quite enough characterization to sustain the film's epic scale and various levels, but it's a shimmering visual treat to be cherished by movie lovers.

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