The post-holiday blues

IT'S the last day of the holidays and those of you who are all Chinese New Year-ed out are faced with a patchy array of couch potato options.

Although sports fans might be content to while away the hours watching Prime Sports' coverage of the Australian Tennis Open, Day Eight, and music lovers can tune in to Paul Simon in Concert (World, 11am), the rest of the day's viewing is eclectic at best.

* * * * THE best bet movie-wise is Jacknife (Pearl, 9.45pm, Original running time 102 mins), a film which for once is perfectly-suited to Pearl's programme title, in this case, The Actors Studio.

Given only a fleeting first run at theatres back in 1989, this modest little drama features superb acting from its three leads: Robert De Niro, Ed Harris and Kathy Baker. Although it is predictable and sometimes frustratingly understated, Jacknife, at least manages to be a Vietnam vets film that doesn't make you reach automatically for the remote control unit.

De Niro plays a vet who landed the nickname ''Jacknife'' while in 'Nam for his habit of turning over vehicles. Long after the war is finished, he arrives at the house former buddy Harris shares with his sister, Baker, and begins a romance with her.

Harris then has to face some disturbing truths about himself, his wartime memories and his relationships with the pair.

* * * *PRIMETIME World's offering, Wisdom (World, 9.30pm, ORT 109 mins), lines up two of the original brat-packers, Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore, in a 1986 tale of a modern-day Robin Hood which Estevez wrote and directed at the tender age of 23.

Estevez plays a young man who is desperate to fit in with society, but who seems terminally at odds with it. He finally decides to become a criminal, but one with a conscience: he robs banks but gives the profits to the poor.

Moore plays his girlfriend and partner but we're not talking Bonnie and Clyde here, neither in theme nor terms of good movie making.

* * * *BILL Clinton's inauguration may just inspire fresh enthusiasm for Capitol Critters (Pearl, 9pm), in which the rodent inhabitants face a problem similar to that of Mr Clinton: the problems of taxation.

When their electricity goes down by accident, Jammet and Max decide they are going to have to tax their fellow critters if they are to re-connect the supply. Mutinous squeaks are heard when the rodents have to give up food for the privileges of power. Hmm.

* * * *CHINA Business Report (Pearl, 7.35pm), sees Pearl's revamped news and current affairs team taking a close look at the increasing economic links between mainland China and Taiwan.

Given the contradictions posed by the Taiwanese Government's ban on direct investment in China, officials and executives from the Republic have mixed feelings on doing business with Beijing. The programme also looks at the development of futures markets in China now that Beijing is pressing ahead with market reforms and previews the coming year for China's securities industry.

* * * *CLOSER to home, Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery (BBC, 7.25pm) is the last in the current series from the California-based Chinese chef.

And, unlike Martin Yan, Hom continues to offer a Hongkong flavour to his dishes. This week he visits a New Territories fishing village as well as preparing old favourites like sweet corn and crabmeat soup, steamed fish with garlic, spring onions and ginger, and shredded chicken with sesame seeds.