Howard. . . A New Breed of Hero (PG) (Willard Huyck, US, 1986) Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins.110‘/z mins. Producer Gloria Katz and husband Willard Huyck once received an Academy Award nomination fortheir screenplay of American Graffiti. Executive producer George Lucas, through his involvement in the Star Wars saga and the Indiana Jones adventures has been responsible for some of the most popularlilms ofall time. Lea Thompson last appeared on our screens as Michael J. Fox’s appealing mum in Back To The Future.

l linger over pasttriumphs to illustrate the point that Howard is not the creation of a bunch of talentless amateurs, despite appearances to the contrary. These people have ability and taste, qualities glaringly absent from this current witless farrago that lays a gigantic egg.

The idea for a film of the Howard The Duck comic-book cartoon was first mooted in 1975. Huyck and Katz have had the luxury of a decade in which to polish, refine and improve their project until it reached flawless perfection. Instead it looks like the aftermath of a wet Sunday afternoon when there was nothing else to do but play at filmmaking. Howard may have provided excellent weekend recreation but it is not something you choose to release before an unsuspecting and long-suffering public.

The interminable debacle begins in Duck World with the cigar-munching Howard settling down in front of the box. Suddenly he is hurtled through space to crashland in Cleveland. It

The Disney tnagic dust is sprinkled over the Charles Perrault fairytale about the beautiful commoner who captttres the heart of a dashing prittce. The principal characters are a little boring btit the supporting animal retintie of mice etc ensure a high quotient of fttn. Glasgow; ABC Clarkston Road. Cinema. (irosvenor. Edinburgh: Dominion. Lothian; ABC. Regal. Strathclyde; ABC (ireenock. Kelburne. La Scala. ()deon Ayr. ()deon llamilton. Rialto o Compromising Positions ( 15) (Frank Perry. CS. 1985) Susan Sarandon. Raul Julia. Edward Herrman. 98mins. A former journalist investigates the murder of her dentist and is intrigued by a list of extra-molar activities that included trading in pornography and providing a stud service for his affluent suburban clientele. Reputedly a mundane whodunnit from the once reliable Perry that offers little to distinguish it from its racey. bestseller origins. Edinburgh: Filmhouse o The Color Purple ( 15) (Steven Spielberg. CS. 1985) Whoopi Goldberg. Margaret Avery. Danny Glover. 152 mins. Spielberg goes serious. turttittg Alice Walker‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic of Black American feminism into a Dickensian David Lean-style epic


.. later transpires that he has been the victim of a scientific mishap and transported to Earth via the cosmic inversion of a Laser-Spectrascope. He is befriended by the lead singer in an all-female rock band and efforts are made to effect his return home. However, the cosmic inversion has also attracted an unwelcome visitor in the form of a Dark Overlord of the Cosmos who is bent on world domination. Only Howard’s intervention can save the planet from a fate worse than, well, a sequel at least.

As you sit in stunned disbelief, like the first-night audience in ‘The Producers', the only charitable thought to occur is that Huyck and company have been the victims of over-confidences in their own infallibility. The film offers elements of ET and Ghostbusters, with Special Effects, adolescent humour, car chases and rock numbers. In fact, no expense has been spared to incorporate every single element that may have

with all the emotional stops out. (ioldberg is wonderful. Edinburgh: Filmhouse

o The Colour of Pomegranates ( U) (Sergei Paradjanov. USSR. 1971)) Sofico Chiareli. 73mins. In a prologue. eight chapters. and an epilogue. Paradjanov‘s unforgettable film chronicles the life of 18th century Armenian poet Sayat Nova (‘King of Song'). linking his work with both the passion ofChrist and the historical sufferings of Armenia.

One of the cinema‘s true originals. this mesmeric experience is a torrent ofvibrant and teeming tableaux. strangely ravishing to the eye. which in their exotic beauty resemble a series of Russian religious paintings brought to life. Quite. quite extraordinary. Edinburgh: Filtnhouse

0 Le Cop ( [.t’s Ripoux) ‘5‘: (Claude Zidi. France. 1984) Philippe Noiret. '1‘hierryl-hermitte. Régine. 107 mins. Noiret and Lhermitte star as an Odd Couple on the beat; the fortner a street-smart veteran who has a carefully arranged lifestyle whereby he never pays cash for anything. the latter an idealistic ineorruptiblc rookie who vows that there is no such thing as a ‘free' meal. Sly. anarchic and cheerfully amoral llic comedy. Winner of three (‘esars. including Best Film and Best


contributed to the box-office success of any blockbuster over the past five years. The result is a lumbering, indecisive, characterless mess.

Howard may possess the potential for

sharp, side-splitting farce. He could easily aspire to the sardonic, wise-cracking humour of a feathered Groucho Marx. It is a potential that goes unrealised in this feeble,

one-joke incarnation. Instead of Woody

Allen with webbed leet we get Julie Andrews with a dictionary of puns.

Looking for a glimmer of good news amidst the mire, one can reportthat the technical aspects of the production are blameless and Lea Thompson is perky enough under trying circumstances (how would you like to emote opposite a man in a duck costume?) However, these are small compensations. The final entertainment score on this maiden outing is a duck, but I suppose that’s what they call Howard‘s Way. Christmas fun forthe undemanding? Humbug! (Allan Hunter)

Director. (ilasgow: (iFl'. Edinburgh: Filmhouse

o The Decline of the American Empire (18) (Denys Arcand. Canada. 1986) Dominique Michel. Dorothee Berryrnan. Louise Portal. 101 mins. Eight beings. fottr per sex. eat. drink. work-out and talk about their sexual bang-ups. fears. triumphs and obsessions. Sometimes witty. sometimes insightful. often truthfully close to home but ultimately this is an over-generous dollop of interminable discourse. Edinburgh; Filmhouse

o Desperately Seeking Susan ( 15) (Susan Seidelrnan. US. 1985) Rosanna Arqttette. Madonna. Aidan Quinn. Robert Joy. 103 mins. Delightful feminist fantasy revolving around mistaken identity in the Big Apple. Edinburgh; Edinburgh Film (iuild

0 Dim Sum (U) (Wayne Wang. US. 1985) Laureen Chew. Victor Wong. 87 mins. Heartwarming tale of familystrife in the Chinese—American community of San Fransisco. An affecting. wistful study ofernotional and cultural conflict. Slight but touching. Edinburgh; Filmhouse

0 Doctor Strangelove (PU ) (Stanley Kubrick. UK. 1963) Peter Sellers. (ieorge C. Scott. Sterling llayden. 93mins. Brilliant black comedy on

the lunacy of the nuclear age with Sellers ideally cast in three roles (US President. jolly British captain. and demented inventor) and Slim Pickens the good ole boy heading for oblivion with a chorus of ‘We‘ll Meet Again'. Still alartningly relevant. Edinburgh; Filmhouse

0 Dune (PU) (David Lynch. US. 1984) Kyle Maclxtchlan. Francesca Annis. Sting. 13(imins. An intergalactic trade war rages over the possession of the spice melange which is exclusive to the planet Dttne. This handy item permits travel through time and space and is the key to domination of the known universe. Unfortunately it is defended by gigantic worms.

Unwieldy. ininvolving big-budget

spectacular. bereft of any emotional resonance. which suffers from a persistent lack ofclarity and much unintentional humour. A waste. (ilasgow: (iFl'

0 East 01 Eden (P(i) (Elia Kazan. US. 1955) .latnes Dean. Raymond Massey. Jo Van Fleet. 115mins. Powerhouse screen adaptation of the Steinbeck novel about two brothers‘ rivalry for the love of their father. Dean‘s starring debut. Edinburgh: Filmhouse

0 Eat The Peach (P(})s (Peter ()rmrod. Ireland. 1986) Stephen Brennan. Eamonn Morrissey. Catherine Byrne. 97 mins. 'l‘wo lrish villagers made redundant by the closure of the local Japanese electronics factory spend their money on building a motorcycle wall of death! Quintessentially lrish tragi-comedy blends ingratiatingly off-beat comic characters with a genuine sense ofpathos as things turn uncontrollably sour. Generally worthy ofcomparison with the best of Bill Forsyth. Glasgow; ABC Sauchiehall Street

0 The Empty Table (PG) (Masakai Kobayashi . Japan. 1985) Tatsuya Nakadai. Mayumi ()gawa. 142 mins. A Japanese family must face up to the knowledge that their son is a terrorist and a murderer. Disappointineg tame domestic drama which rarely sparks into any kind oflife. and is rather overlong with it. Glasgow: OFF

0 Enemy Mine (PU) (Wolfgang Petersen. US. 1985) Dennis ()uaid. Louis (iossett Jr. 93 mins. A big-budget. space-age plea for racial tolerance combining elements of John Boorman‘s Hell in the Pacific and Robinson ( have on Mars. (ilasgow: OFF

0 Eureka ( 18) (Nicolas Roeg.

UK US. 1982) (iene Hackman. 'I‘heresa Russell. Rutger l latter. 129 mitts. A gold prospector tnade fabulously rich by a lucky strike twenty years before resents his daughter's marriage to a wealthy French playboy. and suffers the unwelcome attentions of a crime syndicate who wish to transform his island into a casino. Extraordinary complex attd intricate - Roeg-Mayersberg film. both psychological and metaphysical thriller. executed with his customary bravura. (ilasgow: (iFl‘ o The EXDfCiS (William Friedkin. US. 1973) Linda Blair.

12 The List 12 Dec 8 Jan