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Prime-Time Flicks

September 01, 1996|Kevin Thomas

In the 1994 TV movie Reunion (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) Lee Grant's direction of Marlo Thomas' grieving mother is crucial in salvaging a sudsy woman's story by eliciting an affecting performance from Thomas that rises above the material. She plays a New England farm wife and amateur painter whose cozy world is shattered when one of her 5-year-old twins accidentally chokes to death.

L.A. Story (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) has a completely original spirit. It's wiggy, yet deeply, hopelessly romantic, a 1991 movie about infatuation with women. Mick Jackson, the Britisher who directed from Steve Martin's script, offers a whirligig of familiar L.A. locales, but they're transformed by the filmmakers' ardor.

What keeps things interesting in the nervous, shallow 1990 cop thriller Internal Affairs (KTLA Monday at 8 p.m.) are its two leads: Richard Gere, as a sexy bad cop and Andy Garcia as an internal affairs investigator so obsessed with Gere he begins to take on his personality.

Throw Momma from the Train (KTLA Tuesday at 8 p.m.), Danny DeVito's 1987 directorial debut, has the same rubicund explosiveness he puts into his performances. It's a comic version of Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train" in which a hapless writing student (DeVito)--tormented by the world's meanest mother (the late Anne Ramsey)--tries to swap murders with his teacher (Billy Crystal).

No maudlin tale of adolescent difficulties, the powerful and painful 1993 coming-of-age drama This Boy's Life (KCOP Friday at 8 p.m.), taken from Tobias Wolff's compelling memoir, tells its story with unflinching truthfulness and remarkable sensitivity. Starring Ellen Barkin, 18-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio and a dazzling Robert De Niro as a stepfather who will haunt your nightmares.

Cross "The Karate Kid" and "Home Alone," give a nod to "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," and you get 3 Ninjas (NBC Saturday at 8 p.m.), a lively, good-looking kiddie action comedy best left to those under 10. There's some substance as well as fun in this 1992 Disney release, for martial arts is presented as a matter of defense rather than aggression, emphasizing that it is a matter of mind and spirit as well as body and requiring resourcefulness and discipline.

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