'THE length of the film,' said Alfred Hitchcock with typical down-to-earth irreverence, 'should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.' He was right. In movie matters, he nearly always was. With The Birds (Monday, Pearl, 9.30 pm), he couldn't have got it more right. This 1963 classic starts innocuously enough, with aimless flirtatious tittle-tattle. What follows is vivid apocalypse. Dropping out of the sky, with spinechilling familiarity, come flock after flock of killer birds. 'What shall we do?' ask the poor and ineffectual mortals on the Hitchcockian canvas. What indeed. Using a combination of suspense, armchair Freudian psychology - delicious stuff about human frailty in the face of extreme adversity - as well as slices of wry comedy, Hitchcock offers no reasons, gives no answers and suggests no remedies. He simply shocks. It's not for the squeamish, and it's not meant to be. As the great man said in another of his now-famous quotes: 'Cinema is not a slice of life. It's a piece of cake.' Quite. Bob Clark, director of Loose Cannons (Wednesday, Pearl, 9.30 pm), failed to heed the great man's cinematic advice. Masquerading as a car-chase comedy, Loose Cannons is instead offensive, racially insensitive drivel. In what must be the nadir of their respective careers, Dan Aykroyd and Gene Hackman play cops searching for a Nazi sex film, while Mossad agents, ex-Nazis, pornographers and rabbis all cross their paths without raising a giggle between them. The end result was so bad that the studio suits let this stagnate on the shelf while they worked out what to do with it. Then they saw the light: sell it to some dumbos who know no better. Like TVB. Bad Girls (Friday, Pearl, 9.30 pm) is another bad movie. Aspiring to be cowgirl feminism, it's really just a bawdy, busty, cliched Wild West romp about four gals who go on the run after a brothel shooting. If anything saves it, Drew Barrymore does. She doesn't have to try too hard to play a bad girl and here she plays Lilly (left), the hard-riding, hard-drinking tomboy. And she does it very well. Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (Saturday, Pearl, 9.30 pm), on the other hand, is about a very bad boy. Robert De Niro (left) plays a deranged cabbie who, unable to come to terms with the teaming madness of modern New York, turns violent. It's become popular among certain American film critics to slate this movie. It's ugly, sordid and without grace, goes the argument. But so is New York, say the movie's fans. Watch it and decide for yourself. Something else that is ugly, sordid and without grace is the England soccer team. Catch Teddy Sherringham (left) and the others live on Saturday (Jade, 2.25 am) when they take on Poland in a crucial World Cup qualifier. With the wonders of Nicam, the game will be available in Cantonese and English. 'Always make the audiences suffer as much as possible,' was another telling epigram from Alfred the Great. He could have been referring to the entertainment value of the English football team.