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Prime-Time Flicks

November 24, 1996|Kevin Thomas

The biggest mystery the 1993 legal thriller The Pelican Brief (CBS Wednesday at 8 a.m.) presents is how a film based on a novel by John Grisham, starring the bankable duo of Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington and written and directed by veteran Alan J. Pakula can end up more of a fizzle than an explosion. The combustion point is never quite reached in this story, which centers on the supreme court, whose oldest justice (clever cameo by Hume Cronyn) is the target of anger from all across the political spectrum. While no one is surprised when he comes to a sudden end, the fact that another justice of a different political stripe is simultaneously murdered is the cause of considerable speculation.

My Fair Lady (CBS Thursday at 7:30 p.m.) is the elegant, memorable 1964 George Cukor film of the Lerner and Loewe musical with Rex Harrison bringing his acerbic Henry Higgins to the screen but with Audrey Hepburn playing Eliza Dolittle rather than Harrison's stage co-star Julie Andrews--a cause celebre at the time.

D2: The Mighty Ducks (NBC Friday at 8 p.m.) isn't nearly as mighty as the 1992 original in which hotshot Minneapolis attorney Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) regains his values coaching a peewee ice hockey team. "The Mighty Ducks" cleverly managed to have it both ways: a movie that suggests winning isn't everything but for sure lets its underdogs come out on top. By the finish of the 1994 "D2," however, the message seems pretty clear: Winning is everything, after all.

Beethoven's 2nd (NBC Saturday at 8 p.m.) is just as funny and appealing as "Beethoven" the first--and a family film that actually can be enjoyed by the whole family is always welcome. As millions of moviegoers will recall, Beethoven is the name given to a lovable but horrendously messy Saint Bernard who escapes dognapers to become adopted by the Newtons, much to the chagrin of the fussy head of the family, George Newton (Charles Grodin). Now it's time for Beethoven to fall in love--with Missy, whose owner is played by Debi Mazar with hilarious, scene-stealing nastiness.

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