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By David Bianculli and David Bianculli,Special to The Sun | March 1, 1994
Stir up a controversy, set up a "duel" between one side and another, and watch the ratings pour in when the results of the overhyped showdown finally are televised. Olympics redux? Well, I was thinking of tonight's "Roseanne," in which the "lesbian kiss" episode supposedly "censored" by ABC, leading to a brief brouhaha just as Roseanne Arnold's autobiography was released, comes to TV intact. Will we never learn? Apparently not.* "Ancient Prophecies" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- I, too, am eagerly awaiting the millennium.
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By David Bianculli and David Bianculli,Special to The Sun | August 24, 1994
It's a better Wednesday night for TV than most this summer, because "Models Inc." isn't on. Last week's episode, with the "Who killed Teri Spencer?" resolution (it was the receptionist) and the "meet Teri's look-alike" summer-season cliffhanger, was pathetic on both counts. Tonight Fox pre-empts "Models" to present a repeat of its Tina Turner concert, a great trade.* "Beverly Hills, 90210" (8-9 p.m., Channel 45) -- There's one good reason I can muster to watch tonight's "Beverly Hills, 90210," and that's to compare this teen-angst Fox drama with tomorrow night's much more genuine article: the premiere of ABC's "My So-Called Life."
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By David Bianculli and David Bianculli,Special to The Sun | July 27, 1994
Peter Jennings devotes a prime-time hour tonight to the Haitian crisis -- which, with the way things are going in Rwanda, puts him one crisis behind. The real world is moving almost too quickly to keep up, but the world of television, tonight at least, is less active. In fact, except for a few scattered highlights, tonight's TV world is flat.* "Beverly Hills, 90210" (8-9 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- This episode from 1992 is one of several "90210" installments from this era featuring a now-familiar face: guest star Dean Cain, now starring in ABC's "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman."
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By Stephen Hunter VIDEO It's a troll, Vern | September 5, 1992
MOVIESDafoe delivers"Light Sleeper" is either a return to form or an imitation of form. It's hard to say which. Written and directed by Paul Schrader, it seems to be another version of Schrader's revered "Taxi Driver." Still, it has some mesmerizing power. Willem Dafoe plays a drug delivery boy who, at 40, begins to wonder what's next for him. Schrader's feel for New York night life is convincing, as is Dafoe's almost childlike performance. R. ** 1/2 . Jim Varney may never be confused with either Francois Truffaut or Frances Ford Coppola or even Francis the Talking Mule, but his flubber-faced impersonation of all-around moron and good guy Ernest P. Worrell deserves some kind of recognition.
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March 3, 2000
A breezy yet diamond-hard humor runs through "What Planet Are You From?," a bawdy, brainy sex comedy geared toward smart people with a sophomoric streak. At its goofiest and gaggiest, this fish-out-of-water yarn, about a space alien who finds true love while trying to take over the world, will remind viewers of Mel Brooks. At its crudest, it recalls "There's Something About Mary." But at its wisest -- and it is surprisingly wise, in the end -- "What Planet Are You From?" evokes fond memories of director Mike Nichols and his former partner, Elaine May, who together shed a wry, cleansing light on the human condition by way of gently lethal satire.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | April 27, 2001
Once again, the giant Hollywood star machine has labored mightily and coughed up a mouse - or at best, Warren Beatty in a polar bear suit. He's cute in the suit, like a baggy-pants version of the polar bears in the yuletide Coca-Cola commercials. He should have played the whole picture that way. For Beatty doesn't have a naturally engaging comic spirit. He didn't in those duds everyone has forgotten, like "The Fortune," or in the one no one will forget, "Ishtar," or even in his fading-from-memory hit, "Heaven Can Wait."
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By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | September 10, 2000
Think of it as a giant pep rally on the eve of the big game. Only this year, there's no big game. Traditionally, the Emmy Awards telecast announced the start of network premiere week and the new fall season. The television industry understood synergy before synergy was cool. But this year, for the first time in network history, there is no premiere week, and the new fall series won't start arriving until October after the summer Olympics have run their course on NBC. The fall season is still flying well below most viewers' radar despite the networks' endless on-air promotion.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF | June 26, 1998
Eddie Murphy talking to animals now you know that's got to be funny.And it is. So long as the animals are on screen, "Doctor Dolittle" is a riot, even if the usually irrepressible Murray ends up playing second fiddle to a bunch of critters. Unfortunately, screenwriters Nat Mauldin and Larry Levin and director Betty Thomas aren't satisfied with making us laugh; they want to teach us a lesson. And it's when the film starts preachifying that things start to drag.Based on the children's books of Hugh Lofting, this "Doctor Dolittle" bears only passing resemblance -- thankfully -- to the lumbering 1967 musical starring Rex Harrison and Anthony Newley.
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By Stephen Galloway and Stephen Galloway,The Hollywood Reporter | January 18, 1994
HBO once again blew the competition out of the water at the National Academy of Cable Programming's 15th Anniversary CableACE Awards over the weekend, winning 34 trophies and dwarfing its nearest rival, Showtime, which took away 10 awards.HBO won movie or miniseries honors for "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom," which also gained a best actress award for Holly Hunter.The network also had the two biggest winners of the evening -- taking four awards each for its comedy series "The Larry Sanders Show" and its comedy special "HBO Comedy Hour: John Leguizamo's 'Spic-o-Rama.
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By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic | July 19, 1995
If this really is the so-called summer doldrums, how come the smartest and funniest sitcom on television starts a new season tonight?Because that sitcom, "The Larry Sanders Show," is on HBO, and the premium cable channel does not march to the networks' beat of starting new seasons in the fall. As long as HBO has products like tonight's episode of "The Larry Sanders Show" -- titled "Roseanne's Return" -- it can start its season any time it wants. The viewers will come.For those not familiar with the celebrated sitcom, which starts its fourth season, it stars Garry Shandling as late-night talk-show host Larry Sanders in a perfectly wicked spoof of talk shows, celebrity, television, show business and a culture that has become mesmerized by the visual images manufactured for our small screens.
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