Movie Spotlight

Even if you're over the age of 10, the charming 1994 Monkey Trouble (ABC Sunday at 7 p.m.) might entertain you. It's about a 9-year-old girl, Eva Gregory (Thora Birch) who longs for a pet and ends up with more than she bargained for--a capuchin monkey, whom she nicknames Dodger. He literally falls into her path one day while she's strolling through the park. On the run from the Gypsy (Harvey Keitel) who trained him to pick pockets and loot homes, Dodger becomes Eva's secret playmate.

The 1993 fairy tale Groundhog Day (TMC Monday at 7:10 p.m.) may not be the funniest collaboration between Bill Murray and director Harold Ramis, but this gentle effort is easily the most endearing film of both men's careers thus far. Murray stars as a Pittsburgh TV weatherman who is so self-involved that he's convinced he doesn't just report the weather, he creates it. He hates nothing more than having to journey to rural Punxsutawney once a year to participate in the unsophisticated shenanigans centering on whether a groundhog does or does not see his shadow. First-time writer Danny Rubin, who wrote the script with Ramis, wonders what would happen if this guy discovered he would be forced to relive Groundhog Day, not just once a year, but day after day, ad infinitum. With Andie MacDowell as his pleasant foil, Murray turns the film into a funny little Valentine.

Putting James Woods and Brian Dennehy together--matching Dennehy's rock-solid naturalism and Woods' mercurial, stripped-nerve intensity--practically guarantees an interesting movie. And the 1987 thriller Best Seller (KCOP Saturday at 7 p.m.), about an icy corporate assassin spilling his guts to a Joseph Wambaugh-style cop-writer--despite a script full of calculated coincidences and mad leaps in logic--gives these acting aces some meat to chew.

In the Name of the Father (ABC Saturday at 8 p.m.) is a model of the kind of engaged, enraged filmmaking. This 1993 film is a politically charged "Fugitive" that uses one of the most celebrated cases of recent British history to steamroller an audience with the power of rousing, polemical cinema. Director Jim Sheridan hits us almost at once with a shocking component of the film's reality, the 1974 IRA bombing of a pub in Guildford, a town just outside of London. Five people were killed, but the damage done to a nervous Britain's sense of internal security was greater still. In the climate of near-hysteria that followed, the Draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act was passed, allowing the police to interrogate suspects for up to seven days without bringing charges or allowing access to an attorney.

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