Bringing big heat
VIDEO "Backdraft" will probably lose some of its effectiveness on the small screen, but the film is nevertheless worth renting or buying. The first hour seems to go nowhere, but the special effects are wondrous. The second hour has both plot and special effects. Kurt Russell and William Baldwin are brothers and Chicago firefighters who find themselves working at the same location where an arsonist is at work. Ron Howard directed. Language, sex, violence. Rating: R. **
A riveting production of Ugo Betti's suspenseful tale of clashing political ideologies, "The Queen and the Rebels," starring Caitlin Clarke, is currently playing at Center Stage. Subtly directed by Irene Lewis, the play focuses on a search by revolutionary soldiers for a woman known as the "Queen," the wife of the deposed ruling despot. In a remote mountain village, the "Queen" and a street-smart woman meet and exchange identities. This action, though tragic, restores one of the women to belated self-worth. 8 p.m. 700 N. Calvert St. Tickets: $27. Call (410) 332-0033. Bertinelli, babies and murder. It's the formula for what looks as if it could be one of the highest-rated miniseries of the year. "In a Child's Name," which airs tomorrow night at 9 on WBAL-TV (Channel 11), stars Valerie Bertinelli as a woman who fights her brother-in-law for custody of her dead sister's child. The sister is dead because the brother-in-law (played by Michael Ontkean) killed her. Bertinelli is one of TV's most bankable actresses, and the miniseries is all hers. The conclusion airs Tuesday night at 9.
"Twenty-one" is a straightforward account of the sexual activities of a young English girl who comes to the United States after her boyfriend dies of an overdose and her parents separate. She has also left behind a married man with whom she has been having an affair. Katie, played by Patsy Kensit, is a girl who believes in having sex whenever and wherever she wants. She is the female counterpart to the male philanderer, and she, like the film, is sometimes amusing, sometimes not. Sex, nudity, language, violence. Rating: R. ** Joe Zawinul, who performs tomorrow at the 8x10, has always had a gift for blending jazz and electronics. His electric piano helped prod Cannonball Adderley onto the pop charts with "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," and his work with Miles Davis on albums like "In a Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew" helped define the sound of shape of fusion jazz. But it was with Weather Report that Zawinul had is greatest impact, opening new vistas with his elegant, electronic soundscapes while showing, through works like "Birdland," just how tuneful an adventurous jazz group could be. Zawinul brings his latest synthesizer -- the Pepe -- and current group -- the Zawinul Syndicate -- to the 8x10. Where he'll take the music once he starts playing is anybody's guess. Show time is 8 p.m., and tickets are $12; call (410) 625-2000 for details.