Picks and Pans Review: Showtime's 30-Minute Movie

updated 08/20/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/20/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Showtime (Sun., Aug. 19, 9 P.M. ET)

B-

Again we have three movies under an umbrella title. Hmmmm. I sense a trend here. Anyway, this one redeems the new mini-genre. These films have nothing in common except that they are well-written and well-acted.

In 12:01 P.M., a man (adroitly played by Kurtwood Smith) faces the horror of repeating the same hour for the rest of his life because of a time warp. It plays well, although I couldn't help but wonder what Rod Serling could have done with the same surreal story.

In Conquering Space, a family of four moves to Florida when Dad gets a job with NASA. As seen through the eyes of the 16-year-old daughter, the story, circa early '60s, becomes a routine coming-of-age film but is nonetheless involving despite a truncated, sentimentalized ending. The most political and socially aware of the three tales, To the Moon, Alice, looks at the plight of a homeless family that ends up squatting on the set of a popular TV sitcom. Karen Young and Chris Cooper are standouts as the parents. The messages about mixed priorities and America's indifference to poverty are telegraphed but in a classy, poignant way.

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