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November 09, 2002

TV Alert

Friedrich --

More riches brought up from the depths of next week's TV schedule.

Master Spy: The Robert Hansson Story (part one; CBS, Sunday at 9 pm EST): Made by the team (Norman Mailer on the script, Lawrence Schiller directing) that, lo these many years ago, made the wonderful "The Executioner's Song." This one's also based on fact -- it's about the FBI agent who spied for the USSR.

The Horse's Mouth (IFC, Monday at 6 a.m.): A rarely -shown treat, Alec Guinness directing himself in a version of the great comic Joyce Cary novel about a ruffian of a modern artist. The movie doesn't have the sweep or punch of the novel, but it's a funky and droll work in its own right.

Citizen Ruth (Cinemax, Monday at 8:30 a.m.): The first feature by director Alexander ("Election") Payne is a likable, barbed satire about how the abortion wars play out in a small midwestern town. Pleasingly, neither side is spared -- Payne is a true satirist. Laura Dern is wonderfully disarrayed as the amoral, glue-sniffing wastrel at the center of the conflict.

Someone Like You (Cinemax, Monday at 10 pm): A "Bridget Jones" wannabe that got bad reviews and tanked. I didn't think it was so awful -- but I was there only to enjoy the enchanting Ashley Judd, who looks great, smiles beautifully, has a lot of charm, and looks damn cute when she gets flustered.

Donald Cammell (IFC, Thursday at 5 am, and Sunday at 3:30 am). A decent documentary with a charismatic subject, a British hippie-"genius" filmmaker who got by on charm and potential. Worth seeing for the snapshots of a certain get-away-with-murder character type, as well as its looks at the filmmaking world.

Turner classic movies is continuing its Westerns series, and I can recommend highly three of the films:

Major Dundee (TCM, Tuesday at 5:30 pm), Rio Bravo (TCM, Monday at 8 pm), and Vera Cruz (TCM, Sunday at 1:30 am). "Major Dundee" is the movie where Sam Peckinpah began to tear the fabric of the Western apart; Charlton Heston stars, impressively. "Rio Bravo" features Dean Martin and John Wayne in an easygoing, masterly entertainment directed by Howard Hawks. Gary Cooper is featured in "Vera Cruz," an early Robert Aldrich picture that has a suprisingly up-to-date sting.



posted by Michael at November 9, 2002


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