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Prime-Time Flicks

June 30, 1996|Kevin Thomas

For the Boys (CBS Sunday at 8 p.m.), a rousing story of a pair of star USO performers, played by Bette Midler, nominated for best actress, and James Caan pulls out every stop imaginable. Midler's singing is terrific, but the 1991 film, entertaining as it often is, tends to go over the top.

Whispers in the Dark (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) stars Annabella Sciorra as a psychiatrist so turned on by her patient's sexual fantasies that the steaminess heats up her own life. But this analyst is such a dull, passive reactor that you can't figure out what writer-director Christopher Crowe has in mind in this 1992 release. With Anthony LaPaglia, impressive as a crazed cop.

Spike Lee's 1989 Do the Right Thing (KCOP Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 5:30 p.m.) announced the coming of age of an important film maker with something urgent and uncomfortable to say. On the hottest day of summer and against the faintly surreal backdrop of one small neighborhood in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant area, writer-director Lee has created a series of abrasive incidents, trivial by themselves, that, combined with soaring heat and in a climate of oppressiveness, finally ignite.

Swoon (KCET Friday at 11 p.m.), Tom Kalin's 1992 historic-erotic picture of the 1924 Loeb-Leopold murder case succeeds with the microcosm bringing to life the thrill-kill pair and their dangerous liaisons but gets more strained and arch when it switches to the macrocosm: the homophobic social prejudices unleashed by their capture and trial.

Part 2 of Leni Riefenstahl's 1938 Olympia (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.), the great, eternally controversial documentary on the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Hitler's Germany, concentrates on the less popular sports. A work of poetic visual splendor, the film captures the self-control, endurance and strength of the athletes.

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