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Movie Spotlight

April 05, 1998|Kevin Thomas

Ruby in Paradise (Bravo Sunday at 7 p.m. and midnight; Monday at 1:35 p.m.), a 1993 film from "Ulee's Gold's" Victor Nunez, is an intimate, low-key film as endearing and staunch as its heroine. A warm, perceptive depiction of everyday life, "Ruby" illuminates the inner being of a seemingly ordinary young woman in the process of creating a life for herself. It reveals the courage it takes to strike out on one's own and take charge of one's destiny. It marks a most impressive screen debut for Ashley Judd, whose Ruby is proud that she managed to get out of her backwoods Tennessee hometown without getting pregnant and has landed offseason in the small Florida beach resort community of Panama. Notable performances from Todd Field and Bentley Mitchum as the two very different young men in her life.

Money Train (Fox Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a by-the-numbers 1995 action-buddy picture, and few directors run through those numbers as smoothly as Joseph Ruben. With buddies du jour Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as tough transit cops--and foster brothers--this turns out to be an acceptable if undemanding venture that has to overcome several bumps along the way. The brothers fantasize about knocking off, the "money train," so-called because it collects the $3 million to $4 million in cash receipts the subway system takes in daily. The other thing they fantasize about is Grace Santiago (Jennifer Lopez), the newest and most attractive member of their subway detail. Featuring Robert Blake, who is ruthless and effective as the transit twins' fierce boss.

Willow (KTLA Friday at 7:30 p.m.) is a lively 1988 adventure-fantasy written by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard, finds a little person (Warwick Davis) guiding an abandoned child to its destiny; Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley and Jean Marsh star.

Sweet Charity (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.) represents one of Shirley MacLaine's finest hours. She's the resiliently sweet gamin-hooker who suffers and sings through the Broadway musicalization and Americanization of Fellini's 1957 classic "Nights of Cabiria." With a Neil Simon book reworked by Peter Stone, Coleman-Fields songs, a cast that includes Sammy Davis Jr., Ricardo Montalban and Stubby Kaye and direction and choreography by Bob Fosse. The sizzling showstopper, "Hey, Big Spender," with deadpan pros Chita Rivera and Paula Kelly rolling it out, is the quintessence of Fosse's hip-grinding style.

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