Black Widow (15) (Bob Rafelson, US, 1987) Debra Winger, Theresa Russell, Sami Frey, Dennis Hopper, Nicol Williamson. 102 mins. The world of Bob Ralelson’s accomplished films has always seemed a fairly male-dominated one. In his measured canon ‘Five Easy Pieces’, ‘The King Of Marvin Gardens', ‘Stay Hungry‘ and ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice' have all centered on a man's (usually played by Jack Nicholson) efforts to change his life and his surroundings. It's a surprise then, to hear that this most recent production concentrates on two exceptional women and the strange relationship that evolves between them.
Alex Barnes (Debra Winger) works in the dreary confines of the Justice Dept’s computer banks and leads a quite existence. That is, until she comes across the data that points to a woman elusiver marrying a series of extremely wealthy men and soon benefiting in theirwills aftertheir deaths in mildly dubious circumstances. The mysterious Catherine (Theresa Russell) is indeed the culprit, sensuous and intelligent enough to entrap men almost at will and garner a massive fortune in the process. Before long Winger gets out of the office to track down her woman and
ends upin Hawaii, where Russell has her eyes on a hunky French financier (Sami Frey), who soon becomes a pawn in the deadly games that spring from the bizarre bond the two women soon deveop upon finding they have much in common.
In some ways though, Black Widow is consistent with familiar Rafelson concerns as both the protagonists seek theirlullillment in the manipulation of the people and materials around them, once more following the existentialist notion of personal identity as something that is styled rather than something that is innate, came through
strongly in ‘Postman‘ particularly. lcan buy that. However, where the film falls down is in working this out in the characters, for it is both over-schematised and in terms of feminine psychology, strains credibility. The cutting insistently counterpoints the two women — Winger frumpy and dissatislied, Russell glamorous and constantly extending her experience —to root the investigator’s obsession with her prey in jealousy of the murderess‘s sexual allure and criminal ingenuity and thus suggest that a brilliant career alone is unsatisfying unless complemented by
physical attractiveness and nourishment. That a zesty book with Mr Gallic Charm Frey should partly result im making a new woman out of her, splashy floral desses and a new confidence in her stride, is just too smug and vaguely sexist in its implications.
Anyway, dodgy sexual politics aside, Black Widow manages to be a rather cool genre piece with a beautifully photographed surface sheen that’s kind of ‘moderne noir’ matching a pokeful of chic eighties surroundings with a fiendisth sharp cavalcade of double dealing and the odd ripsnorting one-liner (‘There are two things you'd better know about me: I‘m rich and I'm wealthy‘ spits La Belle Theresa at one point). In a fine cast that comprises briefly engaging cameos by Dennis Hopper and Nicol Williamson as swiftly dead hobbies, the two women excel, Russell oozing dangerous eroticiism and Winger gaining the underdog’s sympathy. Rare to find a Hollywood movie these days with both brains and slick sleight of hand, and even if thematic quibbles mean it doesn't quite match the compelling conviction of Ralelson‘s best work there’s still enough going on here to engross even the most demanding viewer. (Trevor Johnston)
Venice meets two old sisters who claim they can communicate with the spirit of his recently drowned daughter. Brilliant. distrubing Nic Roeg film which allies pyrotechnic cutting to an intriguing narrative to create an unforgettable experience that has few peers. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
0 Down By Law ( 15) (Jim Jarmusch. US. 1986) Tom Waits. John Lurie. Robert Benigni. 106 mins. 'l'wo abrasive hepcats with women trouble and a haplessly innocent Italian tourist with a penchant for American poetry in translation are thrown together in a New Orleans prison cell. but miraculously manage to shamble their way out of confinement and across the Louisiana swamps. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
0 Dune (PG) (David Lynch. US. 1984) Kyle MacLachlan. Francesca Annis. Sting. 136mins. An intergalactic trade war rages over the possession of the spice melange which is exclusive to the planet Dune.
Unwieldy. uninvolving big-budget spectacular. bereft of any emotional TCSODIIDCC Edinburgh: Cameo.
o Ferris Bueller’s Day fo(15) (John Hughes. US. 1986) Matthew Broderick. Mia Sara. Charlie Sheen. 103 mins. A sunny Spring day in Chicago is too good to spend locked in a classroom so the irrepressible Ferris Bueller feigns a malady. cuts classes and promises his two best friends a day to remember. Characteristically uneven. Hughes teen comedv that scores with fresh
dialogue Glasgow: GET
0 52 Pick Up ( 18) (John Frankenheimer. US. 1986) Roy
Schneider. Ann-Margaret. Doug McClure. 108 mins. Lininspired account of the immensely readable. pacy Elmore Leonard cat-and-mouse thriller Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
0 Flight of the Navigator ( U) ( Randal Kleiser. US. 1986) Joey Cramer. Veronica Cartwright. 90 mins. lnferior. derivative holiday fare in which a plucky youngster is snatched by desperate aliens and winds up piloting their craft on a merry chase around the globe.
Edinburgh: Dominion. Lothian: Cannon. Strathclyde: Cannon Greenock. ()deon Ayr. ()deon Hamilton.
0 Frances ( 15) (Graeme Clifford. 1982) Jessica Lange. Kim Stanley. Sam Shepard. 140 mins. 'l‘ragic and moving biopic of actress Frances Farmer. A bright and promising minor screen luminary of the 1930s. this wilful. temperamental. self-destructive woman wound up imprisoned in a barbaric mental hospital seeking solace in the oblivion of alcoholism. Edinburgh: Cameo.
0 Hannah And Her Sisters (15)(Woody Allen. US. 1986) Woody Allen. Michael Caine. Mia Farrow. Diane Wiest. 107 mins. An achingly funny and well-casted celebration ofcohesion and support within the family unit. as several couples fall in and out of love over the changing seasons. all served up as only Woody knows how. Glasgow: Grosvenor.
o Highlander( 15) (Russell Mttlcahy. US. 1986) Christopher Lambert. Sean Connery. Beatie Edney. 116 mins. A handful of immortals battle through the
centuries to win a mythical prize. lnelcgant. often ludicrous but mainly enjoyable daffy fantasy adventure. lidinburgh: Cameo.
o Illustrious Corpses ( PU )( Francesco Rosi. Italy France. 1le mins) Lino Ventura. Alain Cluny. Max \r'on Sydow. 1le mins. A police inspector reveals a right wing conspiracy behind a series of assassinations. Characteristically labyrinthine Rosi investigation unearthing hypocrisy and unscrupulous values
o Koyaanisqatsi ( l3) ((Jotlt‘rey Reggio. LS. 1983) 96mins Eye-popping study of the chaos of modern city life compared to the tranquility of nature. l‘idinburgh: Filmhouse.
o The Living Daylights ( PG) (John Glen. CK. 1987) 'l‘imothy Dalton. Maryam d'Abo. .leroen Krabbe. 130 mins. Bond is back to combat the nefarious schemes of an unholy alliance between a double-dealing Soviet defector. a ruthless assassin and a power-crazed American arms dealer. llighlycreditable(1(17 adventure with Dalton’s presence serving to reinvigorate the series and bring Bond back to basics.
Glasgow: ()deon. Salon. Edinburgh: Dominion. ()deon. Lothian: Cannon. Strathclyde: Cannon Greenock. Cannon Kilmarnock. ()deon Ayr. ()deon Hamilton. Kelburne. La Scala. Rialto.
0 Lucky Luciano ( 15) (Francesco Rosi. Italy France US. 1973) Gian Maria \'olonte. Rod Steiger. Edmond ()‘Brien. 11() mins. Based on the true story of Italian American Chicago crime kingpin Lucky Luciano. this was Rosi‘s contribution to the Godfather-era
mafia cycle. Glasgow: GFI‘.
‘ 0 Mad Max - Beyond Thunderdome (15) (George Miller and George ()gilvie. Australia. 1985) Mel Gibson. 'l‘ina'l‘urner. 107 mins. Max is hailed as the new Messiah by a group of children and faces the challenge of'l‘ina‘s controller of Bartertown in this overblown. eccentric disappointment. Edinburgh: Cameo.
o Mannequin ( PU) (Michael Gottlieb. VS. 1987) Andrew McCarthy. Kim Cattrall. 9() mins. lnane screwball comedy as cute window dresser McCarthy falls in love with a showroom dummy who comes alive for him only and turns out to be a time-travelling renegade from ancient Egypt. You'll walk a million miles for even a smirk from this mummy.
Glasgow: ( annon Clarkston Rd. Cannon Sauchiehall St. Strathclyde: ()deon Ayr. Rialto.
0 Mary, Queen of Scots ( PU) (CharlesJarrott. UK. 1971 ) Vanessa Redgrave. Glenda Jackson. Timothy Dalton. 128 mins. Sturdy traditional historical drama with Redgrave as Mary and a feisty Jackson as her jealous rival south of the border. Divisive internal wrangling: nothing's changed in centuries. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. o Mona Lisa ( 18) (Neil Jordan. UK. 1986) Bob Hoskins. Cathy 'I'yson. Michael Caine. 104 mins. Bob lloskins gives a heart-rending. much-lauded performance as the ex-con with a battered heart in this brilliant thriller film noir from the exceptionally talented Jordan. Edinburgh: Marco‘s.
0 Mon Dncle ( L') (Jacques 'l'ati. France. 1958) Jacques'l‘ati.
The List 2-1 July — 6 August 13