After all those gory anti-heroin-ads, it is easy to get confused and imagine that ‘Bright lights, Big City’ is going to be all about Michael J. Fox descending into hollow-eyed destitution in a gutter in New York. But cocaine isn’t like that and neither is ‘Bright Lights, Big City’.
Those who have taken cocaine say it gives a spurious sense of confidence. In the case ofJamie (Michael J. Fox) it offers an insidioust addictive way of avoiding the real catastrophies of his lite—his wife’s inexplicable decision to leave him and the death of his mother from cancer. At the same time, he hopes that a snort or two will help him through his tedious tact-finding job in the Verification Department of a famous American magazine. In fact cocaine helps him to lose his job and fails to blot out the memory of the two women he loves.
It is a fascinating film, perhaps because of its unusual mixing of Mary Tyler Moore style comedy in the excellently drawn work scenes, and excruciating sadness in the scenes where Jamie remembers, little by little, his mother’s painful death.
The casting of Michael J. Fox is decidedly odd, but ultimately works well. He looks far too young to have been married and far too healthy to be a junkie, but then many people do look too young to be married and it is often the respectable people who turn out to have problems. As Jamie tells himself early on in the film; ‘You are the kind of guy who wakes up early and smells
(John Hughes. US. 1987) Steve Martin. John Candy. [.aila Robbins. 92 mins. Hughes relinquishes his position as the most pertinent commentator on teenage woes and graduates with honours in the side-splitting adult comedy stakes. Martin is a harrassed Chicago businessman desparate to return home from New york for the Thanksgiving celebrations. After a frenzied attempt to catch the last ﬂight home he undergoes a series ofincreasingly fraught misadventures. Along the way he meets Candy's accident prone shower curtain salesman and they inadvertently become travelling companions through treacherous snow. hell. high waterand mutual incompatibility.
Predictable and sentimental Odd Couple on the road which is genuinely funny thanks to the script and the well-played clash of personalities between the two stars. Glasgow: Cannon Sauchiehall Street. Edinburgh: Cannon. Strathclyde: Odeon Ayr.
I A Prayer forthe Dying ( 15) (Mike Hodges. UK. 1987) Mickey Rourke. Alan Bates. Bob Hoskins. 108 mins. Uneven but not uninteresting thriller with Rourke as an IRA gunman who decides that for him. at least. the killing must stop. Unfortunately. his passport to freedom involves a gangland assassination that is witnessed by Hoskins‘ unlikely priest . ..
Although occasionally unnecessarily violent and a little meandering. this isstill a thought-provoking exercise in morals and murder that may not work on every level but is certainly undeserving ofits reputation as an unmitigated failure. Glasgow: ()deon I Pride and Prejudice Accompanying the current S'rills gallery exhibition on the male nude and the Filmhouse season of films there will be a one day eventon Saturday June 18 designed to provide
BRIGHT LIGHTS. BIG CITY
l“. "$.31 ~‘ _. ﬂ, ‘
bread from the local bakery and gets up
and brings a croissant to your wile Amanda.’
Sadly the film’s hopeful ending fails to convince and has you wondering all over again whether it could not have been just a little bit grittier as a movie, even if cocaine does not hook you on heroin overnight. Physically, it not emotionally, the worst that happens to Jamie is a nose-bleed, although the scene in which he raids his colleague’s bathroom cupboard for ‘downers’ shows the spiralling nature of his drug dependency.
The acting from those around Fox, especially from Kieler Sutherland as Tad, the smooth-talking evil influence who accompanies him to all the worst New York nightclubs, is uniformly good and there are some beautiful comic cameos from John Houseman as the gentlemanly editor and Jason Bobards as the drunken hack looking back to his
people with an opportunity todiscuss some of the issues raised by the event and examine how the male nude has been portrayed in the cinema. The day. running from 10 am to 5pm. will consist ofclips. videos and informal discussions using some of the categories in the Filmhouse exhibition (heroes. fools. martyrs etc) as the basis for some of the talks. Admission is £1 .20 with concessions available at 75p and is open to one and all. Edinburgh: Filmhouse
I Prince of Darkness ( 18) me (John Carpenter. US. 1987) Donald Pleasence. Jameson Parker. Victor Wong. 111] mins. A Catholic priest convenes a group of scientists in an abandoned church to assist him in a race against time to discover the secret of a sinister canister believed to contain the spirit of Satan. As they fight against the purest form ofevil. their numbers are systematically depleted and their mission becomes a simple one of survival.
Perfunctory. low-budget shocker with little of the imagination or sense of menace that the director once seemed adept at conjuring. Glasgow: Cannon Sauchiehall Street. Edinburgh: Cannon. Central: Cannon. Strathclyde: Odeon Ayr. Rialto.
I The Princess Bride (PG) (Rob Reiner. US. 1987) Cary Elwes. Robin Wright. Mandy Patinkin. Billy Crystal. 99 mins. The princess in question is one Buttercup. chosen by the nasty Prince Humperdinck to be his bride; her heart. however. belongs to Westley. a farm boy who has gone off to make his fortune before marrying her. but has disappeared. The princess is kidnapped by a rather dodgy trio. which proves to be the cue forthe rc-appearance of Westley. now become the Dread Pirate Roberts. and the beginning of a series ofoften very funny
_. 3,. 9': +35 *‘
days of glory with Bill (Faulkener). ’As an editor,’ he laments. ’All I do is read untalented, undisciplined crap.’
Frances Sternhagen as Clara. Jamie’s exacting boss, is also very convincing, spitting out instructions like: ‘I want you to find out the population of France down to the last baby born atthe time we go to press.’
But it is Michael J. Fox who dominates the film by delivering an ironic first person narration throughout and making the most of clever dialogue from author Jay Mclnerney, who wrote the original novel.
With director James Bridges just about managing to steerthe film through its various changes in tone, ‘Bright Lights, Big City’, gets away with some bizarrely surreal touches, and the whole succeeds as an idiosyncratic personal history if not quite as an anti-drug sermon. (Stephanie Billen)
swashbuckling adventures before true love can finally prevail.
William Goldman‘s heavily ironic. tongue-in-cheek fairytale is given a spirited treatment by the director ofSrand By Me and an enthusiastic troupe. Edinburgh: Filmhouse I The Principal (18) tr (Christopher Cain. US. 1987) James Belushi. Louis Gossett Jnr. Rae Dawn Chong. llllmins. Apparently a Blackboardjungle for the 80s with Belushi as an unorthodox headmaster determined to restore discipline and order to a notoriously violent and unruly school. Glasgow: Cannon Sauchiehall Street. Cannon Clarkston Road. Edinburgh: Cannon. Central: Cannon. Strathclyde : Cannon. I Psycho ll ( 15) (Richard Franklin. US. 1983) Anthony Perkins. Vera Miles. Meg Tilly. 113 mins. Cheeky and suprisingly effective sequel to the grandfather ofthe current shoekers with Perkins‘ troubled Norman Bates deemed restored to sanity and allowed to resume his previous life at the infamous hotel. Edinburgh: Cameo I Psycho Ill ( 18) (Anthony Perkins. US. 1986) Anthony Perkins. Diana Scarwid. Jeff Fahey. 93 mins. This time Norman falls in love with a novice nun undergoing a near-suicidal crisis of faith. Mother definitely disapproves and as Norman struggles to control his unfortunate bad habits it's time for another night ofthe long knives.
Valiantly battling against the diminshed interest inherent in an ongoing series. debutant director Perkins serves up his slaying with a dash of relish. some style and a wicked sense ofhumour. Edinburgh: Cameo I Richard Pryor— Live in Concert ( 18) (Jeff Margolis. US. 1979) 78 mins. The first and best of the Pryor concert movies. filmed before an audience in Long Beach as he
discourses on sex. death and race in his inimitany frenetic and foul-mouthed style. Glasgow: GFT
I Robocop(18) (Paul Verhoeven. US. 1987) Peter Weller. Nancy Allen, Ronny Cox. 103 mins. Slick and stomach-churningly violent futuristic thriller blending elements of Dirty Harry, Hankerrsrein 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: Filmhouse
I Salvador ( 18) (Oliver Stone. US. 198(1) James Woods. Jim Belushi. John Savage. 122 mins. Raw. abrasive reportingof journalists under fire as sleazy 'war junkie' photojournalist Woods travels to Salvador and finds his senses assaulted by the fear and corruption perpetrated by the ruling elite. Exceptionally wellacted. angry. bravura filmmaking that not only demands your attention but deserves it. Edinburgh: Cameo
I Sammy and Rosie Get Laid ( 18) (Stephen Frears. UK. 1987) Shashi Kapoor. Frances Barber. Ayub Khan Dim. 100 mins. Over-ambitious. provocative Canterbury Tale for the 1980s as a pragmatic Indian politician returns to his beloved England and son Sammy to find his sensibilities and fanciful memories confronted by rioting in the streets and the nightmare of inner-city life in Thatcher‘s Britain.
Blunt. bittersweet comedy that explodes across the screen in a dazzlingly undisciplined exploration ofsexual politics. self-justifying expediency and the bankruptcy of moral or personal commitment. Undenianychallenging. well acted and sickeningly relevant. it is difficult to ignore but equally hard to like. Glasgow: Grosvenor I The Scientific Cardplayeru’G) (Luigi Comencini. ltaly. 1972) Bette Davis. Joseph Cotten. Alberto Sordi. Silvana Mangano. 119 mins. The redoubtable Bette David stars as an elderly American millionairess with a passion for cardplaying. Once a year she travels to Rome to play with two impoverished Italians. Installed in a luxurious villa on the edge ofsuburban slums she generously finances their ante and proceeds to win it all back. just for idle amusement. The neighbourhood however. survives on the hope that one year she will be bettered . ..
Elegant but scathing parable ofthe abyss between rich and poor. Edinburgh: Filmhouse I Someone to Watch Over Me ( 15) ( Ridley Scott. US. 1987) Tom Berenger. Mimi Rogers. Lorraine Bracco. 106 mins. Watchable. glossy thriller in which Berenger's recently promoted Queens detective falls in love with a trial witness and her seductive lifestyle. Although sluggishly paced in places and slightly overlong. the film delivers a few crispjolts and is held together by Scott's wallow in Manhattan chic and the verycreditable central performances. Tentative proof that a human heart can beat beneath this director‘s hi-tech glitz. Edinburgh: Dominion I Stakeout ( 15) (John Badham. US. 1987) Richard Dreyfuss. Emilio Estevez. Madeleine Stowe. Aidan Quinn. 1()() mins. Dreyfuss and Estevez are two unconventional cops given the task of
setting up a stakeout on the ex-girlfriend of escaped convict Quinn. but romance strikes and the routine assignment becomes more than just a job.
Bland. formulaic cop stuff with moral dilemmas, well-mounted action highlights and a comic dog. A performance of hard-working charisma from Dreyfuss saves it. Glasgow: Grosvenor I Stand By Me (Rob Reiner. US. 1986) River Phoenix. Will Wheaton. Corey Feldman. Jerry O‘Conners. Keifer
12The List 10- 23 June 1988