THROW MOMMA FROM
Throw Momma From The Train (15) (Danny De Vito, US, 1987) Billy Crystal, Danny De Vito, Anne Ramsey. 87 mins. The always personable Billy Crystal is Larry Donner, a walking timebomb oi lrustration who is seething with anger at his ex-wlie's bestselling celebrity, achieved on the back oi his purloined manuscript. His life is consumed by resentment, every moment spent in the shadow other unmerited success. Suiierlng from an overwhelming creative block that will not allow him beyond the iirst line at his next book, all he desires is sweet revenge. He would happily see her suffer a slow, lingering, painful death. Debutant director De Vito is Owen Lift, a keen as mustard would-be writer of mysteries, who eagerly devours the pearls oi widsom from his literary teacher Donner. The one major problem in his life is the presence of his dragon-like mother (Anne Ramsay), a sumo wrestler in skirts with a bark and bite that are equally learsome. Feeling like a liter on a chain gang, he could cheerfully dispose at this unwanted baggage. Seeking advice from a distracted Donner, loyal pupil Lilt is told to pep us his woelul technique by studying the master of suspense. Why not catch a screening of Hitchcock’s classic, Strangers On A Train? The little fellow
misconstrues the suggestion and mistakenly believes he has been invited to enter upon a mutually advantageous murder pact.
The basic premise oi Strangers On A Train is rich in potential for reworking as a sinisterly black-edged comedy. Whilst Throw Momma begins to exploit this potential, it never develops beyond a suriace scratch, ultimately lacking the courage of its convictions and rolling overto reveal a core of soil-centred, sentimental mush. However, in its iavour there are some funny md‘rnents ol slapstick humour and throwaway verbal abuse, the
relaxed and experienced comic skills of Crystal and De Vito and a splendidly etched monstrosity oi a matriarch trom the Oscar-nominated Anne Ramsey.
The tact that such isolated pleasures don’t coalesce into a satislactory whole renders Throw Momma all the more disappointing. De Vito seems to settle too readily tor the cute or whimsical instead of exploiting the ierocity inherent in the character’s utter, end-ot-tether desperation. Thus, instead of a irenetic iarce in dubious taste we have a large marshmallow oi a situation comedy guaranteed not to give oiience. (Allan Hunter)
William Goldman's heavily ironic. tongue-in-cheek fairytale is given a spirited treatment by the director ofStand By Me and an enthusiastic troupe. Edinburgh: Dominion.
I Postman Always Rings Twice (18) (Bob Rafelson.US.1981)Jack Nicholson. Jessica Lange. Anjelica Huston. 121 mins. Steamy version of the James M. Cain novel with Nicholson. Lange and the kitchen table swept away on a tide oflust that leads to murder andthe souringof their seemingly perfect and uncontrollable passion. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
I A Room Willi A View (PG) (James Ivory. UK. 1985) Helena Bonham Carter. Maggie Smith. Simon Callow. 117 mins. Crisply realised. near perfect evocation of the EM. Forster novel in which an apparently delicate English rose blossoms into a passionate young woman after a romantic encounter in Florence. Sheer delight. Glasgow: GFT.
I Raising Arizona (15) (Joel Coen. US. 1987) Nicolas Cage. Holly Hunter. 94 mins. Married ex-con Cage settles down to a life ofcrime once more and remedies his wife‘s childless state by stealing a millionaire‘s recently whelped quintuplet. Exhilirating. live-action cartoon combining non-stop action, crazy
VOICE OF THE BEEIIIVE
situations and deadpan wit. A joy. Edinburgh: Cameo. I Roxanne (PG) (Fred Schepisi. US. 1987) Steve Martin. Daryl Hannah. Shelley Duvall. 107 mins. Witty. tender and charming reworking of Cyrano de Bergerac deploying a range ofcomedy techniques as fire chief Martin ofthe enormous proboscis copes with life and lovestruck romance. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Seduced And Abandoned (PG) (Pietro Germi. Italy. 196-1) Stefania Sandrelli. 123 mins. A young girl is seduced and then (you guessed it) abandoned by hersister's unscrupulous fiance. but the family honour must be upheld. Outrageously dark farce. elaborately photographed and directed. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Sunday in'A'ugust (PG) (Luciano Emmer. Italy. 195(1) Vera Carmi. Anna Baldini, Marcello Mastroianni. 80 mins. This semi-documentary presents an affectionate and unpretentious mosaic capturing a Sunday at the seaside as all humanity. from young lovers to petty crooks. congregate on the teeming beaches. Another film in the Comedy. Italian style season. 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 trialwitness and her seductive lifestyle. Although sluggisth 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 very creditable central performances. Tentative proof that a human heart can beat beneath this director‘s hi-tech glitz. Glasgow: GFT. I Stand By Me (Rob Reiner. US. 1986) River Phoenix. Will Wheaton. Corey Feldman. Jerry O‘Conners. Keifer Sutherland. 88 mins. Based on a Stephen King short story. this film recalls a
childhood adventure for four small-town
boys who discover the whereabouts ofthe corpse of a missing boy. and decide toget there before the local toughs. lt‘sa charming rite de passage which Reiner directs with a sure touch. carefully evading sentimentality. Glasgow: Salon
I Top Gun ( PG) (Tony Scott. L'S. 198(1) Tom Cruise. Kelly McGillis. Val Kilmer. 110 mins. Thisemotionicss
formula adventure about men being grandly upstaged by very fast. very expensive and very dangerousaircraft. with the splendid Kelly McGillis thrown in as love interest for Cruise. made a fortune. especially in the US. It had to be those planes. or maybe the rampant ‘America the strong‘ ethos ofthe film. because it doesn‘t have much more to offer in its displaced western plot about rivalry between pilots for the coveted title of top gun. Glasgow: Grosvenor.
I Tokyo Story (U) (Yashijuro Ozu. Japan. 1953) Chishu Ryu. Chieko Higashaiyama. 139 mins. Ozu‘s widely acclaimed masterpiece is a quiet-spoken but eloquent statement on the travails of growing old. The simple plot tells ofan elderly couple‘s visit to their children in Tokyo where they are treated tactlessly by their selfish offspring. Glasgow: GFI‘.
I Three Men And A Baby (PG) or (Leonard Nimoy, US. 1987) Tom Selleck. Steve Guttcnberg, Ted Danson. Celeste Holm. 102 mins. Slavishly reworking the popular 1985 French farce Three Men AndA Cradle Hollywood has produced a blandly innocuous light entertainment that has delighted American audiences to the tune of$152 million. The reasons for its success are hard to fathom.
Three smug. womanising lads share a bachelor apartment with hot and cold running women. One of their number carelessly impregnates one affair and the result arrives on their doorstep one day. Unfortunately. the father. an actor. is on location in Turkey and his two hapless ﬂatmates are reduced to gibbering nervous wrecks by their inability to cope with the demands of a hungry.
nappy-filling toddler. Fine if you havea sentimental. undemanding critical facultv and a love of lavatorial humour. otherwise forgettable mainstream fodder. Glasgow: Odeon. Edinburgh: Dominion. Odeon. Strathclyde: Odeon Ayr. Odeon Hamilton.
I Throw Momma From The Train ( 15) ‘52 (Danny DeVito. US. 1988) Danny De Vito. Billy Crystal. 95 mins. See caption review. Glasgow: ()deon. Edinburgh: Odeon.
I Vamp ( 18) (Richard Wenk. US. 1986) Chris Makcpiece. Sandy Baron. Grace Jones. 9-1 mins. Out-of-town undergrads come to town in search of a stripper fora frat party and wind up in the After Dark Club. where the exotic dancers turn out to be voracious vampires. La Jones finally gets the role she was born to play in this intermittently exploitative. occasionally engaging recent addition to the Hollywood catalogue of vampiric lore. Edinburgh: Cameo.
I Wall Street ( IS) ‘5? (Oliver Stone. US. 1987) Charlie Sheen. Michael Douglas. Daryl Ilannah. Terence Stamp. 129mins. Returning to the trenches. unabashed moraiist Stone again presents a flawed hero with character-defining dilemmas and invites us to observe as he isexcited. seduced. overwhelmed. abandoned and ultimately redeemed by the wrong turns and twists of his encounters with malfeasance. Contemporary robber baron and stockmarket legend Gordon Gekko (Douglas) takes a shine toambitious yuppie Bud Fox (Sheen) and eventually offers him the choice of becoming a ruthless player like himself. or maintaining his self-respect and integrity.
Wall Street finds Stone's fire tempered by a more seductively ambivalent incarnation ofevil. but the result is stillan impressive. engrossing drama that. for memorable dialogue and fluid cinematic skill remains comfortably ahead ofthe current pack. Edinburgh: Dominion.
I Wings OI Desire ( 15) (Wim Wendcrs. W. Ger. 1987) Bruno Ganz. ()tto Sander. Solveig Dommartin. Peter Falk. 127 mins. Restless angel Ganz on duty over Berlin takes a tip from American movie starand former angel Peter Falk on the possibiliticsofcrossing over. and follows his mentor’s path to consumate his relationship with beautiful circus acrobat Dommartin.
Gorgeous black-and-white. and an attractively sensitive feel for the people and places of Berlin grace this thematically rich and uncharacteristically optimistic slice of Wenders movie enchantment. Highly recommended. Glasgow: GFT. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Withnail And i ( 15) (Bruce Robinson. UK. 1987) Paul McGann. Richard E. Grant. Richard Griffiths. 107 mins.1969. Two out of work actors surviving through London giro squalor take a break in a pictureseque Lake District cottage. where one of them suffers the attentions ofthe ageing homosexual owner.
Reasonably entertaining British comedy with a tendency to rely on the all-too-easy targets of drug-taking and gay stereotyping for much of its humour. Glasgow: GF'T.
ITALIAN FILM FEAST
18The List 8— 21 July 1988