Inclement weather

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 July, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 July, 1996, 12:00am

It's the season, it would seem, of the disaster movie. Maybe it is to coincide with the release of Twister, from the producers of Jurassic Park and the director of Speed - a preview of which can be seen tonight, The Making Of Twister (Pearl, 11.25pm) - or perhaps it is to do with the inclement weather at this time of year, a preview of which you can see, as I write, through any window.

This week alone, we have Avalanche (Pearl, 9.30pm), Hurricane, and Fire And Rain, but you only have to flick through a film guide to see there's been a movie made about every potentially catastrophic environmental condition.

The genre was at its most popular in the 1970s. Sadly, viewed against this decade's special effects, most of those movies look like they were made on a kitchen table.

Avalanche may have been made in the 90s but that doesn't save it. The script is flimsy and the acting wooden.

A father and his two children struggle to escape certain death after an avalanche entombs them in their remote mountain cabin.

A plane crash higher up in the mountains caused the avalanche which sweeps a lone survivor up against one of the buried cabins' windows.

The family pulls him in but, inevitably, wish they hadn't.

David Hasselhoff, in a bid to throw off the life-jacket of Baywatch, plays Duncan, a psychotic smuggler, but, unfortunately, does it less convincingly than Pamela Anderson Lee would.

There is not a sinister bone in his skinny legs nor a single evil glint in his eyes.

And talking of the weather. On Sunday evening after the Late News, tousle-haired but ever-cheery weather-girl Merry Everest kindly wished us all an 'industrious weekend'; with less than half an hour to go, that's pushing industry even in Hong Kong.

Maybe I misheard or maybe Merry stumbled over her words (as, I'm afraid, most weather-girls here are prone to do), meaning, instead, to wish us an 'industrious week'.

Whatever the intention, the sentiment was out of kilter. Reminding us to take out our umbrellas or wishing upon us a 'sunny week' would at least have been more appropriate, but I would have been content with a simple 'goodnight'.

We do, I suppose, expect too much from the weather presenters in Hong Kong.

In Britain, you are either a meteorologist or a glamour-puss clotheshorse and either way you become a household name; if you really shine, it's only a matter of time before you get your own show and a place on the top people's party A-list.

One worker for ATV, who has never presented a show in her life, admitted that one afternoon she was approached and asked to present that evening's weather. 'Why me?' she asked.

'We haven't got anyone else,' came the reply.

It shows.

If David Hasselhoff is not actor enough to ever play a convincing bad guy, it would be hard to imagine Klaus Kinski or Oliver Reed being realistic as goodies.

There is more shining evil in their eyes than in Saddam Hussein's entire entourage, but that doesn't make Venom (World, 9.30pm) a winning thriller.

Good character actors cannot make up for silly scripts and daft plots, as here when a kidnap plan goes wrong after a deadly snake is let loose in a besieged house.

If the snake could speak it would have objected to its role in such a predictable film. Hissss.

Sandra Bullock may be one of the most popular actresses of the moment (Speed, The Net ) but her talent is not apparent in While You Were Sleeping (Cineplex), an over-sentimental fairytale of a film.