In the deep outer space of Ridley Scott's 1979 chiller Alien (ABC Sunday at 8:30 p.m.), a slimy primordial past confronts the sleek technological tomorrow. Among the earthlings at peril are Sigourney Weaver.
Despite a meandering, tedious conclusion, the 1988 TV movie The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) is worthy and powerful, with Mary Steenburgen as the woman who hid Anne Frank and her family, Paul Scofield as Otto Frank and Lisa Jacobs as Anne.
In the 1988 TV movie The Return of Desperado (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) Alex McArthur plays a fugitive who crosses paths with a black man (Billy Dee Williams) in danger of losing his homestead.
Martin Scorsese's 1976 Taxi Driver (Channel 11 Monday at 8 p.m.) zeroes in on one of those invisible individuals among us who are ticking time bombs. Robert De Niro is superb as a deeply disturbed ex-Marine and Manhattan cabbie who becomes increasingly enraged at all he witnesses. Written by Paul Schrader, this 1976 film is a major, richly stylized work flawed by a blood-bath climax that tends to exploit what it is ostensibly protesting and by an overly enigmatic coda.
Cracked Up (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) is a compelling 1987 TV movie dealing with the increasing use of crack cocaine and focusing on the close friendship between a high school track star (James Wilder) and a teammate (Raphael Sbarge).
52 Pick-Up (Channel 5 Tuesday at 8 p.m., again on Saturday at 8 p.m.) is a dull, brooding 1986 thriller in which Roy Scheider's midlife crisis evolves into a deadly war with a trio of crazed blackmailers.
Necessity (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.), a 1988 TV movie, finds Loni Anderson married to a man (James Naughton) she really doesn't know.
Who Killed Vincent Chin? (Channel 28 Tuesday at 10 p.m., again Saturday on Channel 50 at 11 p.m.), Christine Choy's chilling and skillful Oscar-nominated 1989 documentary, probes the murder of a Chinese-American auto worker on the eve of his marriage.
The provocative but wildly uneven Taps (Channel 5 Wednesday at 8 p.m.) stars Timothy Hutton as a military academy cadet major, so beguiled by the school's old windbag commander (George C. Scott), that he leads a defense against the imminent razing of the institution.
In the new made-for-cable TV movie Murder by Night (USA Network Wednesday at 9 p.m.), Robert Urich portrays an amnesiac who is found at the scene of a brutal murder. Kay Lenz plays the police psychiatrist who tries to help him.
For two-thirds of the way, Wolfgang Petersen's 1985 Enemy Mine (Channel 11 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is an effective science fiction parable in which a human (Dennis Quaid) and an alien (Louis Gossett Jr.) crash-land on a desolate planet. Unfortunately, the film deteriorates into a disappointing space opera.
The Jericho Mile (Channel 7 Thursday at 9 p.m.) is a splendid 1979 TV movie in which Peter Strauss stars as a convict serving a life sentence who becomes determined to become the world's faster miler.
Writer Alan Sharp made a disappointing 1985 directorial debut with Little Treasure (CBS Friday at 9 p.m.), in which stripper Margot Kidder gets sidetracked from searching for her long-lost father (Burt Lancaster) in Mexico by treasure-hunter Ted Danson.
Bruce Beresford's 1985 King David (NBC Friday at 9 p.m.), with Richard Gere in the title role, starts out as a well-told Biblical tale only to falter in its second half.
The 1986 Choices (ABC Saturday at 9 p.m.), starring George C. Scott, Jacqueline Bisset and Melissa Gilbert, is an all-too-typical TV social issue movie whose characters become subordinate to the issue--in this instance, abortion.
Director Stephen Frears and writer Hanif Kureishi's 1985 My Beautiful Laundrette (Channel 28 Saturday at 10 p.m.) is one of the key British films of the '80s, a wry--and unexpectedly romantic--comment on race and economics in Mrs. Thatcher's England. Gordon Warnecke and Daniel Day Lewis star.
The ratings checks on movies in the TV log are provided by the Tribune TV Log listings service.