Do the time warp

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 June, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 June, 1997, 12:00am

One by-product of the handover is the arrival in the territory of the world's beautiful people.

Stage and screen stars, models and media moguls are popping up all over the place; you can hardly enter one of the swankier hotels and restaurants without spotting a familiar face.

For two days (before the world's media ups and returns home for more pressing domestic news such as the UK budget), Hong Kong will be the most fashionable place on earth.

The likes of Claudia Schiffer are expected to be seen at the best Peak parties and guest lists at hotels like The Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental read like a Who's Who. But I do hope these people remember their manners while they are here.

Jean-Claude Van Damme, one star who graces us with his presence on what seems like a monthly basis, sets the standard.

During a recent soiree at the Grand Hyatt's JJ's club, Van Damme approached one of my colleagues while she was performing a particularly striking salsa on the crowded dance floor.

As he walked by, heading no doubt for the little man's room, he held her confidently by the waist, pulled her close and whispered: 'You're good.' That was as far as the brief encounter went but it made up for the fact that her group of friends had been bumped out of their seats to make way for the big man's entourage.

Unusually, there's no sign of the muscles from Brussels on screen this weekend.

Strangely, considering the nature of this weekend - the last under British sovereignty - there is not a single British-made movie.

Instead, there is what can only be described as a very middling selection of American movie fare.

Jonathan Silverman, better known as television's The Single Guy, stars in 12:01 (World, 9.40pm), a sort of thrilling Groundhog Day.

Barry Thomas (Silverman) is jolted by a thunderbolt and, unbeknown to him, is prevented from being included along with the rest of the world in a 'time bounce' created by a top-secret experiment.

Before long, he discovers that he and the rest of the planet are trapped in an endless time-warp in which the same day repeats itself over and over.

The good news is that it gives him the opportunity to change the course of fate and save the woman (Helen Slater) he loves.

The script doesn't have the wit, nor the cast the charm, of Groundhog Day but it's still an interesting premise.

The People Under The Stairs (World, 2.35am) is a strange but engaging horror movie about a 13-year-old boy (Brandon Adams) who, in the hope of helping his sick mother, takes part in a burglary at his landlord's home and finds himself trapped in a house of horrors.

Everett McGill and Wendy Robie are good as the demented duo in this film shot through with humour and social commentary.

Kevin Anderson is The Wrong Man (Pearl, 12.35am) who, while on shore leave in Mexico, inadvertently gets caught up in a murder.

When a couple (Rosanna Arquette and John Lithgow) offer to drive him out of town he thinks his freedom is close at hand, but the trouble has only just begun.

Once again, Alan Arkin stars in a movie, Taking The Heat (Pearl, 9.30pm), that is beneath his talents.

Arkin plays a crime boss who is witnessed, by yuppie Tony Goldwyn, committing a murder.

The story revolves around the problems of getting witness Goldwyn to court on the hottest day of the year when the mob is hot on his heels.

George Segal and Lynn Whitfield co-star.