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THE JAUNDICED EYE : Coming Soon to a Theater Near You--Run!

May 26, 1996|Bruce McCall | Bruce McCall is a regular contributor to the New Yorker

NEW YORK — 'Mission Impossible" and "Flipper" aren't the only movies based on former television shows coming to theaters this summer. Here are some others you should be on the look out for:

"What's My Line?" (Opens May 31)

Synopsis: TV quiz-show panelists Bennett Cerf (Chris Farley), Dorothy Kilgallen (Alicia Silverstone) and Arlene Francis (Cher) find themselves unwitting dupes of the CIA and host John Daley (Christopher Walken), who seems bent on making sure they all die laughing in this Cold War comedy-thriller.

'Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" (Opens May 31)

Synopsis: Vampire bats terrorize American film crew in Amazon rain forest. Stars: Paul Hogan, with Dom DeLuise as voice of Marlin Perkins. Bottom line: Could do for bats what "Flipper" did for dolphins.

"Championship Bowling" (June 7)

Synopsis: Hotshot millionaire's son takes to the big-time kegling circuit and falls for a ball girl from the wrong side of the alley. Stars: Tom Cruise. Bottom line: Feel-good movie of the summer.

"Beat the Clock" (June 15)

Synopsis: Ingenious Cold War thriller pits ordinary Americans against KGB agents in an on-air contest to keep the Free World free. Stars: Dan Aykroyd, Chris Farley, Pauly Shore, David Spade, Christopher Walken. Bottom line: Already being hyped as a TV series.

"Camel News Caravan" (June 22)

Synopsis: It's 1954 and red-baiting politics threaten to shut down a TV network until a washed-up anchorman discovers a kid named Elvis and America rocks itself back to sanity in the very shadow of nuclear holocaust. Stars: Robert Redford, Nicholas Cage. Bottom Line: "Quiz Show" with music.

"Sunrise Sermonette" (June 29)

Synopsis: Quentin Tarantino's widely awaited musical, shot in a single day. Stars: Harvey Keitel, Harvey Keitel, with a cameo by Harvey Keitel. Bottom line: Guns and Dolls--what a concept!

"Hopalong Cassidy" (July 15)

Synopsis: Hoppy dyes his hair and tries keeping up with the young 'uns on a Hong Kong holiday that goes from nuts to berserk. Stars: Chevy Chase. Bottom line: Chevy's bid for Oscar gold.

"Playhouse 90" (July 22)

Synopsis: Ensemble movie-making is back in Robert Altman's homage to the early days of vaudeville. Stars: Edd "Kookie" Byrnes as George Burns. Bottom line: Can Altman's style overcome his chutzpah, and vice versa?

"Captain Video" (Aug. 13)

Synopsis: Wacky comedy-romance set in the 22nd Century as an out-of-work scientist shuttles through time in search of work--and finds romance and adventure instead. Stars: Kelsey Grammer. Bottom line: Harold Pinter's career script makes for a can't-miss.

"You Bet Your Life" (Aug. 20)

Synopsis: A has-been Vegas comic gets a TV quiz show gig in Russia--and finds that its title means exactly what it says. Stars: Billy Crystal, Goldie Hawn. Bottom line: Moody Moscow makes a drop-dead backdrop for this existential slapstick farce cum message picture.

"Test Pattern" (Aug. 27)

Synopsis: Technician must decipher code hidden in an image flashed on a TV screen--or the world will blow sky-high. Stars: Jim Carrey. Bottom line: $200 million special effects vie with Jim for top billing.

"Mission Impossible II" (Sept. 3)

Synopsis: Picks up where its heart-pounding predecessor leaves off. Stars: Pierce Brosnan. Bottom line: If it clicks, watch for "Mission Impossible III: The Test" next summer!*

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