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Movie Spotlight

July 19, 1998|Kevin Thomas

In the 1987 The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (Bravo Sunday at 10 a.m.) Maggie Smith is brilliant and heartbreaking as a desperate Irish spinster thrown into spiritual crisis. Bob Hoskins is equally fine as the man whose intentions she disastrously misreads.

Allen and Albert Hughes, the 21-year-old twin brothers who directed the 1993 Menace II Society (KCAL Sunday at 6 p.m.), along with 23-year-old screenwriter Tyger Williams, are young enough to get inside the lives of Watts gangbangers without making it seem as if we're watching something taking place on another planet. Their instincts as filmmakers override their instincts as moralizers. At the center of the film is a young man (Tyrin Turner),CQ raised from childhood by his Bible-toting grandparents, who's on the verge of graduating from high school, proud of his gang affiliations but also proud he hasn't killed anybody--yet. With Jada Pinkett.

The uproarious 1988 Beetlejuice (KCOP Sunday at 6 p.m.), a dazzling display of director Tim Burton's unique pop culture sensibility, is an irresistible treat in which attractive, homespun ghosts Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis wreak havoc on the relentlessly upscale new owners of their New England home. With Michael Keaton.

The Daytrippers (TMC Thursday at 5:50 p.m.), a 1996 film festival favorite, finds Long Island housewife Hope Davis discovering an ambiguous note in the pocket of husband Stanley Tucci. The discovery sends Davis, her parents, her sister (Parker Posey) and her sister's wannabe novelist boyfriend (Liev Schreiber) on a wacky journey into Manhattan in pursuit of her possibly wayward husband. Writer-director Greg Mottola provides the audience with a slight, but amusing tale of family dysfunction and marital misdeeds.

As uneven as its farcical pleasures may be, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (KNBC Saturday at 8 p.m.), a runaway 1994 hit, is capable of inducing a lot of giggle fits. Jim Carrey, whose tiniest expressions of physicality are so exaggerated that he makes Jim Varney look like Charles Bronson, refuses to be anything less than utterly inhuman on screen. Playing a celebrated finder of missing mammals, he's so over-energized from the start you keep thinking he'll wear out his welcome pronto; 90 minutes later his lunacy is still hard to take your eyes off.

The List of Adrian Messenger (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.) is an ingenious 1963 murder mystery, directed by John Huston and boasting an extra special twist: Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra all turn up heavily disguised.

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