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Prime-Time Flicks

May 19, 1996|Kevin Thomas

The powers behind The Firm (ABC Sunday at 8 p.m.) have carefully protected the core qualities of the John Grisham novel while radically rejiggering its plotline. As the film's hotshot young attorney, Tom Cruise, was the obvious choice, but this 1993 blockbuster not only pairs him with Gene Hackman as his legal mentor and Jeanne Tripplehorn as his loving wife but also fills in the background with the strongest and most varied group of supporting actors in memory including an Oscar-nominated Holly Hunter.

In the 1992 Scent of a Woman (ABC Monday at 8 p.m.) Al Pacino gives an Oscar-winning tour de force performance as a blind retired Army lieutenant colonel in this compelling, remarkable odyssey. Chris O'Donnell is fine as the scholarship student from a nearby prep school who is hired to take care of Pacino for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (KTLA Monday at 7:30 p.m.), the 1981 George Lucas-Steven Spielberg action extravaganza revolving around comic-pulp superhero Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), has a spoof's light, glancing tone but few jokes. The pace is whiplash and the staging often extraordinary in this cliffhanger-parade about a battle between adventurers and Nazis to find the Ark of the Covenant.

Striking Distance (Fox Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a diverting, fast-moving, action-filled 1993 mystery thriller that zips past contrivances and implausibilities to provide a solid role for Bruce Willis as a mightily beleaguered, highly principled Pittsburgh cop.

The China Lake Murders (KTLA Thursday at 8 p.m.) is a solid 1990 TV movie about lawmen clashing during the investigation of serial killings starring Tom Skerritt and Michael Parks.

The 1986 Ferris Bueller's Day Off (KCOP Friday at 8 p.m.) is one of John Hughes' funniest films--though there's a self-satisfied smug-yuppie air about it all. Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), a winsome con man, plays hooky for a day in Chicago with his buddy and girlfriend. His nemesis is a bumblingly vindictive principal (scene-stealing Jeffrey Jones).

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