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Prime-Time Flicks

July 07, 1996|Kevin Thomas

Awakenings (CBS Sunday at 8:30 p.m.) is based on neurologist Oliver Sacks' account of his 1969 experiment with the drug L-DOPA for post-encephalitic patients, all of them in vegetable-like trances for decades. It stars Robert De Niro, whose character has been virtually voiceless and immobile for 30 years. Robin Williams, as his doctor, plays Sacks' alter ego.

In the 1992 Far and Away (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m., part 2 Monday at 9 p.m.) Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise star as a figurative princess and a genuine pauper who end up traveling together from Ireland to the free shores of the United States in director Ron Howard's rather silly attempt at an old-fashioned epic. It is strong in terms of production values but weak as watery tea when it comes to little things like dialogue and character development.

The Crush (Fox Tuesday at 8 p.m.) points its finger squarely at a menace too long ignored: lustful 14-year-old girls. Here, our "hero-victim" is a young journalist, who unwittingly stumbles into a suburban Hades: hounded by the crazed genius girl next door, who's determined to seduce him or ruin his life. The prey: a GQ coverguy-type (Cary Elwes).

Barry Levinson's 1982 Diner (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.) offers a fresh and honest recapturing of our past and rescues our memories of the '50s and early '60s. It takes its title from a Fells Point hangout for recent high school grads. Starring Steve Guttenberg, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon and Daniel Stern. Ellen Barkin and Paul Reiser each make their feature film debut a memorable one.

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