A Prayer For The Dying(15) (Mike Hodges, UK, 1987) Mickey Rourke, Alan Bates, Bob Hoskins, Sammi Davis. 108 mins. After the furore surrounding the film's political content and the director's right of authorial independence, A Prayer for the Dying emerges as a gritty, thoroughly respectable thriller and not at all the meretricious muddle that one had been led to expect.

Mickey Rourke gives arguably the best performance of his career as the conscience-stricken IRA gunman who decides that for him, at least, the killing must stop. In the wake of a bomb blast that accidentally destroys a children's school bus he flees to London where he is hunted by both the authorities and his former colleagues. His route to anonymous safety is presented by mobster Jack Meehan (Bates) who wants to hire him as an assassin in return for a large sum, a new passport and the prospect of a longed for freedom. He is persuaded to accept the assignment, but the slaying is witnessed by a local priest, Father Da Costa (Hoskins). Rourke's Fallon believes he can silence the priest without recourse to further bloodshed by confessing his crimes and relying on the sanctity of the confessional to protect him but Meehan and his cohorts believe otherwise. Pursued by police, friend and toe alike Fallon finds it impossible to receive absolution tor

Hackman. 114 mins. Resourcefulnaval hero Costner. now a liaison officer between Secretary of Defense 1 lackman and the CIA. is asked to lead an investigation into the murder ofa Washington socialite. However. he knows that Hackman was the accidental killer and that the finger of'suspicion isbeing falsely pointed towards another man who shared the girl‘s bed. namer himself. . . Beautifully paced conspiracy yarn with fine performances all round. Highly recommended. Edinburgh: Dominion. Filmhouse. I On The Black Hill ( IS) a: (Andrew Grieve. UK. 1987) Bob Peck. Mike Gwilym. Robert (iwilym. (iemmaJones. 117 mins. See Panel. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Outrageous Fortune (PG) (Arthur 1 filler. US. 1987) Bette Midler. Shelley Long. 99 mins. Zany and very complicated plot involving two actresses who discover they share they same man. but are instantly plunged into a Convoluted trail of espionage. abduction and death. 'A female buddy movie which relies totally on the charismatic interaction of its two stars to paper over the creaking plot. Glasgow: GFT. I Pennies From Heaven ( I5 ) ( l lerbc rt Ross. US. 1981 ) Steve Martin. Bernadette Peters. Jessica Harper. 81 mins. Condensed US film version of the Dennis Potter‘s epic British television film which managesto retain much of the essential mix of humour. musical fantasy and harsh social realities which distinguished the original. and does so with considerable style. Entertaining. if not quite up tothe longer version. Edinburgh: Cameo. I Pink Floyd The Wall ( 15) (Alan Parker. UK. 1982) Bob Geldof. Christine Hargreaves. BOb Hoskins. 95 mins. An ambitious attempt by Roger Waters and

past sins and the web of violence surrounding his life is both inescapable and inevitably reaches out to taint those around him, including Da Costa’s blind niece Anna (Sammi Davis).

The most glaring fault of Prayer for the Dying is the miscasting of Alan Bates as a ruthless, East End gangland boss who uses his genteel funeral parlour as the legitimate front for more heinous crimes. An iron list in a velvet glove part, it finds the hapless actor totally adrift. One applauds the general audacity of casting against type but in this bold instance it really doesn't work. More interesting is the use of Hoskins as the ex-serviceman turned priest whose own rejection of violence is a reflection of the moral dilemmas laced by Fallon. Best of all however is Rourke who manages a flawless Irish accent and really seems to personify the anguish of a man sickened by his past, disillusioned by his cause but still

Alan Parker . The result did not match the ambition. Glasgow: Grosvenor.

I Planes, Trains and Automobiles ( 15) a (John Hughes. US. 1987). Steve Martin. John Candy. Laila Robbins. 92 mins. See Panel. Glasgow: Cannon Sauchiehall Street. Edinburgh: Cannon. Central: Cinema. Strathclyde: Cannon Kilmarnock I Prayer For The Dying (15) a (Mike Hodges. UK. 1987). Mickey Rourke. Bob Hoskins. Alan Bates. 108 mins. See Panel. Glasgow: Odeon. Edinburgh: Odeon. Strathclyde: Odeon Ayr

I Pretty in Pink (PG) (John Hughes. US. 1986) Molly Ringwald. Harry Dean Stanton.Jon Cryer. 97 mins. Better than average teen movie from the doycn ofthat genre. Molly Ringwald is pretty in pink for the high school prom. but not before she has undergone the prejudice of the kids from the rich side of town. Edinburgh: EUFS

I The Princess Bride (PG) (Rob Reiner. US. 1987) Cary Elwes. Mandy Patinkin. Peter Falk. Mel Smith. Billy Crystal. 98 mins. Rob Reincr has consistently hit precisely the right tone in his previous films. from the rock spoof Spinal Tap to Stand By Me. and his adaptation of William Goldman‘s mildly satirical adventure story is no exception. The high adventure tale of an abducted Princess being pursued by her farm-boy turned pirate lover and his unlikely companions gives all concerned much scope for sword-play and spectacular stunts. but it is all done with a knowing. tongue in cheek humour which gives the film a distinctly contemporary. and very funny. feel. Glasgow: Cannon Sauchiehall Street. Cinema. Strathclyde: Rialto

I Hobocop ( 18) (Paul Verhoeven. US. 1987) Peter Weller. Nancy Allen. Ronny Cox. 103 mins. Slick and

unable to remove himself from the process of bloodshed breeding further bloodshed.

One finds it difficult to appreciate why the director Mike Hodges has disowned this version of the film as it marks one of his better efforts since Get Carter in the 1970s and is undoubtedly a return to something like his best form afterthe debacle of Morons from Outer Space. He deploys a very intelligent sense of visual commentary to complement the main action and the film has a satisfying sense of moral complexity that it is rare to encounter in the contemporary thriller.

Although occasionally unnecessarily violent and a little meandering, Prayer is still a thought-provoking exercise in morals and murder that may not work on every level but is certainly undeserving of its reputation as an unmitigated failure. (Allan Hunter)

stomach-churnineg violent futuristic thriller blending elements of Dirty Harry. Frankenstein and The Six Million Dollar Man. When diligent policeman Murphy is shot to pieces by vicious thugs. his remains are mechanically reconstructed into a hi-tech law enforcement officer but the human desire for revenge still beats beneath his mechanical exterior. Edinburgh: Cameo. I The Rocky Horror Picture Show ( l8) (Jim Sharman. UK. 1975) Tim Curry. Susan Sarandon. Barry Bostwick. Meat Loaf. 100 mins. The cult film of our times. this rock spoof on old horror movies has created a breed of Rocky 1 lorror crazies. and packs them in at late shows everywhere. The film has its moments. and Tim Curry is splendidly camp as the bisexual Frank N. Furter.Strathc1yde: Odeon Ayr. I A Room Willi a View (PG) (James Ivory, UK. 1985) Helena Bonham Carter. Maggie Smith. Julian Sands. Denholm Elliot. H7 mins. Classy adaptation ofthe EM Forster novel about a prissy young English girl who falls in love in romantic Italy. but with an unconventional young man who seems not quite the right thingat all. Respectful but funny adaptation dissecting the emotional paucity ofthe English middle classes. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Round Midnight( 15) (Bertrand Tavernier. US. 1986) Dexter Gordon, Francois Cluzet. 131 mins. Brilliant Tavernier homage to jazz. with Dexter playing it close to home as an ageingjazz star given a temporary reprieve from his own self-inflicted damage by the redeeming love and friendship of a young French admirer. Splendid performances all round. while the music is excellent. with Gordon injecting a world-weary. knowing poignancy that more than makes

up for technical shortfalls, backed up by Herbie Hancock‘s Oscar-winning score. Glasgow: Grosvenor. I Roxanne (PG) (Fred Schcpisi. US. 1987) Steve Martin. Daryl Hannah. Shelley Duvall. 107 mins. Witty. tender and charming reworking of Cyrano de Bergerac deploying a range of comedy techniques as fire chief Martin of the enormous proboscis copes with life and lovestruck romance. Edinburgh: Odeon I Ruthless People (15) (Abrahams. Zuckcr. Zuckcr. US. 1986) Danny Dc Vito. Bette Midler. Judge Reinhold. Helen Slater. 94 mins. No film which needs three directors can possibly be up to much, and so it proved with this lame comedy. in which Danny de Vito playsa rich businessman who is asked to pay a ransom for the return of his abducted wife. Midler. As the kidnappers quickly learn. though. their new charge is not someone that you would actually miss having around the house . . . Glasgow: GFT. I Short Circuit (PG) (John Badham. US. 1986) Ally Sheedy. Steve Guttenberg. Fisher Stevens. 98 mins. Amusing science fiction drama about a robot who escapes the confines of a weapons testing establishment and takes on an intelligent life of its own after being struck by lightning. Ally Sheedy decides to help keep the robot free from the pursuing scientist, led by Steve Guttenberg. Agreeable comedy marred by a totally unnecessary piece of racial stereotyping in Fisher Stevens music-hall Asian character. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Sitting ln Limbo (15) (John N. Smith. Canada, 1986) Pat Dillon, Fabian Gibbs, Sylvie Clarke. 95 mins. Low-budget Canadian film about the tribulations of a black teenager trying to get on in Montreal. Intimate and emotional. with a powerful reggae soundtrack. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I A Soldier's Story (Norman Jewison. US. 1985) Robert Townsend. Adolph Caesar. Howard Rollins Jr. 101 mins. When the squad leader of an all-black army company is found murdered. the Army send in a black attorney to investigate the case. much to the horror of the white Officer Corps. The real story gradually emerges, and proves rather more complex and surprising than either side initially assume. Never quite shrugs offits origins as a stage play. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Someone to Watch Over Me ( 15) (Ridley Scott, US. 1987)Tom Berenger, Mimi Rogers, Lorraine Bracco. 106 mins. Watchablc . glossy thriller in which Berenger‘s recently promoted Queens detective falls in love with a trial witness and her seductive lifestyle. Although sluggisth paced in places and slightly overlong, the film delivers a few crisp jolts and is held together by Scott‘s wallow in Manhattan chic and the very creditable gentral performances. Tentative proof that a human heart can beat beneath this director‘s hi-tech glitz. Edinburgh: Dominion I The Sound of Music (U) (Robert Wise. US, 1965) Julie Andrews. Christopher Plummer, Richard Haydn. 172 mins. In the unlikely event that you don‘t already know, J ulic Andrews plays a trainee nun who falls in love with the widowed father of the children in her charge, and helps them to escape across the hills and you must at least know what they are alive with from the clutches of the Nazi invadersof their native Austria. Much loved and immensely popular film which has become effectively critic proof. Edinburgh: Cameo. I Splvs (PG) (chrico Fellini, Italy, 1953) Alberto Sordi. 109 mins. Fellini‘s first international success, I Virelloni followed the inter-linked stories of a group of youths in a provincial ltalian town, allon the make and looking for the big break. Established the brooding Sordi as a major name in ltalian film-making. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

14 The List 27 May - 9 June 1988