If there is an actress who has never quite had the vehicle to demonstrate her abundant talents, it is Bette Midler. Ask most people to name three Midler films in five minutes and few can come up with them. So it may come as a surprise that 10 years ago the poor man's Barbra Streisand was the fifth biggest box-office star in the world - a position rarely held by a woman. It was in 1986 that she made one of her most commercial successes, Down And Out In Beverly Hills, with Richard Dreyfuss and Nick Nolte. Ruthless People (1986), Beaches (1988) and Stella (1990) received certain amounts of critical acclaim, but by and large the flame-headed songstress has played eccentric, erratic women in daft, erratic films. Jinxed (World, 1.05am) is one such movie. The synopsis says it all. Willie (Ken Wahl), a Nevada blackjack dealer, is convinced he has been jinxed by professional gambler Harold (Rip Torn), who wins consistently. Harold's gal, Bonita (Midler), asks Willie to help her murder Harold for an insurance payout. Naturally, things don't go to plan. There was said to be no rapport between Midler and Wahl, nor Midler and Torn, off-screen and it shows on-screen. The whole thing is lacklustre. The start of the 90s did not see things improve for Midler. Her company, All Girl Productions, had developed a comedy called Sister Act. Midler was to have played the singer that turned Whoopi Goldberg's career upside down, but instead she passed it up for For The Boys, a box-office dud. Goldberg, incidentally, was said to have battled all the way through the production of Sister Act, refusing to do any pre-release publicity. It was an unexpected hit, earning her US$7 million for the sequel. 'When I think of all the money Whoopi made on Sister Act, I want to kill myself,' said Midler in 1993, declaring she would give up on movies for a while. Michelle Pfeiffer, in contrast, is one actress who, as a pretty young beauty queen in her Californian hometown, could have been expected to go on to be the pretty young wife of some wealthy businessman. She was once described by a former teacher as a 'surfer chick'. But despite being offered and turning down two of the best films for women to come out of Hollywood in recent years, The Silence Of The Lambs and Thelma And Louise, Pfeiffer has appeared in popular hit after popular hit. 'Most of my movies haven't made money,' she once reportedly said. 'I'm always afraid to say that, 'cause I think the studios haven't figured it out and they keep letting me work.' Certainly Scarface, The Witches Of Eastwick, The Fabulous Baker Boys and Batman Returns won her critical recognition. In Tequila Sunrise (World, 9.30pm), a moody thriller from Robert Towne, the director of Chinatown, she stars opposite Kurt Russell and Mel Gibson. Dale 'Mac' McKussie (Gibson) is a drug dealer trying to get out of the profession; Nick Frescia (Russell) is a cop who has been Mac's best friend since high school. Nick's superiors have ordered him to put Mac out of business and lead them to Carlos (Raul Julia), a big-time drug smuggler. The men confront each other in business and in their affections for restaurant owner Pfeiffer. Glamorous, slick and with loads of star charisma, the film starts with a crack but fails to explode and ends with a splutter. Look out for Tyrone Power who died during the filming in Spain of Solomon And Sheba (Pearl, 9.30pm) and was replaced by Yul Brynner as the King of Israel. Power still appears in some of the long shots.