A feast of movies
I spend much of my time in this column ranting about the television companies, so, today, a little encouragement.
I constantly complain at the relatively low professional standards of the terrestrial networks, the dearth of good drama, the poor quality of local shows, the six-month cycle of repeats.
Yet, to be fair, one fact remains that sets Hong Kong television apart from most others - each day, every household gets the choice of watching at least one, and usually two, movies.
There aren't many countries in the world (not even on British television, which I shamelessly hold up as a shining example for all to imitate) where viewers get so many opportunities to watch films, undoubtedly the most popular viewing genre.
This week, Hong Kongers (and I'm ignoring satellite and cable channels) can watch such top-level films as The Birds, The Big Chill, The Great Gatsby, Henry And June and Taxi Driver.
They may have been on before, but surely it's better to repeat a classic than air an up-to-the-minute piece of trash.
So, TVB and ATV, please take note: quality and quality makes us all happy viewers.
The Big Chill (Pearl, 9.30pm) is one of those movies that is less profound than it wants, or ought, to be.
But that doesn't stop it from being entertaining, made so by a great cast and an equally good soundtrack. The 'comedy of values' probes the growing pains of seven college housemates from the 1960s who have drifted apart and then reunite at the funeral of a friend.
Having entered adulthood as nonconformists, most now belong to the establishment.
Harold (Kevin Kline) has become a running-shoe magnate; Michael (Jeff Goldblum), a gossip magazine journalist; Sam (Tom Berenger), TV's hottest private eye; and Nick, (William Hurt) a drug dealer.
Among the women, Sarah (Glenn Close) is a doctor; Meg (Mery Kay Place), a lawyer; and Karen (JoBeth Williams), a wife and mother in the suburbs.
Stunned by the death of their peer, sensing their own immortality and the loss of their innocence, each takes the opportunity to reevaluate their life and relationships.
Sadly, the script fails to live up to the lively performances.
Ironically, the actor who would go on to be the biggest star of the lot in this film, had the smallest part. Kevin Costner plays the friend whose death reunites the group.
Lawrence Kasdan decided the flashback material featuring Costner didn't fit in with the rest of the film and all we get is fleeting glimpses of him as a corpse.
Model (World, 8pm) takes viewers on to the catwalks and into the lives of the industry's top bodies.
Tonight, the subject, (or should that be object?) is Marcus Shenkenburg, the former Calvin Klein model.
Following his debut in CK's controversial Vanity Fair insert in 1990 and appearance in Versace's provocative campaign, Marcus has become one of the most sought-after male models in the world and has been immortalised by some of the top fashion photographers, including Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber and Steve Meisel.
The White Tail Eagle, a bird not seen in North America, but in almost all the other countries around the northern polar regions, can be spied along the edges of ice packs in the north Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea.
As winter turns to spring along the coastlines of Japan, these large fish-hunting predators hunt spawning cod in the ice pack.
Global Family (World, 6.30pm) follows a family of the eagles nesting off the Hokkaido coast, raising one chick and suffering the harshness of winter.