PICK OF THE TV FLICKS
IT'S A superlative week as far as telly flicks go. Not just because we have two of the best cyberpunk movies ever made, but also because we have a film that must go down as one of the worst in recent years.
TODAY BUT the week begins with a personal favourite. Camp classic director John Waters is back in the news because of his latest movie, Serial Mom, and TVB celebrates that fact by screening Cry Baby (Pearl, 2 pm). This comes not from Waters' shocking Divine period but rather from his flirtation with 1950s and '60s adolescent romance. Johnny Depp stars as Cry Baby - so called because a single tear leaks out of one eye in times of duress - a be-quiffed rockabilly type who, as luck would have it, falls for an uptown girl.
That, of course, lands him in trouble with the town's preppies and ultimately lands him in jail. Waters works the cliches to death but has real fun with musical sequences and with a supporting cast which includes perennial favourite Ricki Lake and even Iggy Pop.
MONDAY STICKING with superlatives, Family Business (Pearl, 9.30 pm) is a case of best cast, worst outcome. Director Sidney Lumet had a dream line-up of Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick at his disposal for this story of a crime caper involving three generations of the same family, but somehow he failed to capitalise on them. It is supposed to be funny in parts, taut in others but the whole sorry show stutters along with periodic backfires.
TUESDAY AGAIN, it's a case of 'if only' as far as tonight's offering goes. If only it could have been Bergman's The Seventh Seal or The Seventh Veil or even The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, but it ain't. It's The Seventh Sign (World, 9.30 pm), an apocalyptical tale about a pregnant woman who fears that the birth of her baby will signal the end of the world. Alas, director Carl Schultz gets the tone of the piece completely wrong and ends up making a strong cast - Demi Moore, Jurgen Prochnow, Michael Biehn and John Heard - look rather silly.
WEDNESDAY MOORE strikes out for the second consecutive night. Nothing But Trouble (Pearl, 9.30 pm) is quite simply the most dismal comedy I have seen in years. And its extraordinary failure is due to shocking self-indulgence from writer/director/star Dan Aykroyd and a couple of his mates. Chevy Chase and Moore play a couple of New Yorkers who find themselves trapped in a remote and un-American village where a centenarian judge (Aykroyd) has absolute rule. A true turkey.
THURSDAY AND SO from the ridiculous to the sublime: The Big One as far as fans of techno-cinema are concerned. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (World, 9.30 pm) came complete with massive hype and an Arnie who kept his 'I'll be back' promise. It also boasted 'morphing' special effects that had audiences gasping. They largely revolve around the new Terminator who has been sent to do away with Linda Hamilton's son (Edward Furlong) while the old baddie, Schwarzenegger, becomes their protector. Plenty of muscle (mostly Hamilton's), apocalyptic predictions and the kind of action scenes that only James Cameron can direct. Stunning, but better suited to the big screen.
FRIDAY LONG before T2 there was Robocop. And Robocop (Pearl, 9.30 pm) was good. And, alas, it has since sparked bad, bad sequels. Paul Verhoeven's original, though, was a landmark '80s film: from its hi-tech hero to its sly, sophisticated parodies of American TV, it came as a real shot in the arm. Check out the best bad guys around (including the bloke who played Leland in Twin Peaks) and a classic catchline in 'I'll butt that for a dollar!' SATURDAY AFTER all that has gone before, Saturday can only come as a disappointment. But it is double so given the fact that Moon Over Parador has been replaced by the risible Skin Deep (World, 1.45 am) which sees John Ritter (yes, cuddly, cute, asexual Hooperman) cast as a womanising author in a film which represents Blake Edwards at his worst.