Beetlejulce (15) (Tim Burton, US, 1988) Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton. 92 mins. Last year Pee Wee Herman's Big Adventure appeared from out of nowhere to become a milestone in celluloid comic absurdity, now from the same crazed consciousness comes another chortlerama of utter ott-the-wallness.The Maitlands (Baldwin and Davis) are a nice, as in NICE, New England couple who’ve just met their deaths in an automobile accident, and are having a little difficulty adjusting to the hereafter. Firstly, the Handbook for the Recently Deceased is a rathertechnical affair that takes a little getting to grips with, and, secondly, it doesn‘t solve their primary problem; the Deetzes, a horrid Noo Yawk family that have moved into the Maitlands'tormer home and set about redecorating it in grotesque yuppie chic.
Their atterlite caseworker says it's up to them to haunt out the newcomers. but this serves only to further intrigue the Deetzes morbid daughter. Eventually, the Maitlands succumb to the last resort, ‘treelance bio-exorcist' Betelgeuse (pronounced ‘Beetle-iuice’), a lecherous, uncontrollable lree spiritwith a poltergeist’s sense of tun, and ‘a tree
demonic posession with every exorcism‘. Soon worlds and nether-worlds are on an almighty collision course.
It‘s not altogether surprising to learn that 29 year-old director Burton is a former Disney animator, for his films combine the brightly coloured look of a cartoon with the medium‘s ability to bend the rules of everyday plastic reality. In this movie human beings transform their heads into chicken
shapes, or they exhale cigarette smoke through slitthroats, and then there's also the attack of the killer shrimps to consider. Great fun it all is too, creating its own little comic cosmos where the unexpected is the norm. 1 mean, where else would a case oi possession amount to involuntarily singing Harry Belalonte songs? See the movie, marvel, and laugh. A lot. (TrevorJohnston).
trash king Waters does his own bizarre version of mainstream comedy. Definitely one of the fun movies of 1988. Glasgow: (‘annon Sauchiehall Street.
I Hawks ( 15) 1*: (Robert Iillis Miller. L'K. 1988)Timothy Dalton. Anthony“ Edwards. Janet McTeer. (‘amelle (‘oduri. 110 mins. A duo ofterminally ill patients. successful lawyer Dalton and touring American footballer Edwards. are determined to fight their illness with laughter. To this end they steal an ambulance and head for an Amsterdam brothel. but on the way they strike upan unlikely relationship with a pair of [inglish girls in distress.
Absolutely repulsive attempt at a sentimental tragi-comedy with a sickeningly misogynist attitude towards the women characters and a resistibly manipulative treatment ofterminal illness. All in all. a hamfisted and loathsome piece ofwork to be avoided at all costs. despite the moderate attractions ofthe cast. Glasgow: ()deon. lidinburgh: ()deon.
I The Jungle Book ( 1?) (Wolfgang Reitberman. L'S. 1967) With the voicesof George Sanders. Louis Prima. 78 mins. Growing up in the jungle. young Mowin learns from the animals around him. Enjoyable latterday Disney. a long way after Kipling. but the songs are wonderful. Glasgow: ()deon. lidinburgh: ()deon. Stratbclyde: ()deon Ayr. ()deon Hamilton.
I Lite 01 Brian ( 15 )(Terry Jones. L'K. 1979) Graham Chapman. Terry Jones. John (‘leese. Michael Palin. Iiric ldle. 93 mins. The Gospel According to Monty Python offended a whole host ofreligious denominations upon its initial release. which rather obscured the fact that behind the controversy lay what still remains their most sustained exercise in lunatic linglish humour. A host of very funny setpiece scenes and smart cameos from all the team climaxes in a rather fetching musical crucifixion. Edinburgh: Cameo.
I Little Dorrit (L' ) ((‘hristine Eidzard. UK.
1987) Derek Jacobi. Alec Guinness. Sarah business enterprise. Well-cast Bowie gives
58 The List 19— 25 August 1988
Pickering. Part One: Nobody“s15ault( 176 mins). Part Two: Little Dorrit's Story( 181 mins). Dickens' complex novel about the grim social duplicity of his contemporary London is beautifully translated to the screen focusing on the central relationship between the upright Arthur (‘lennam and Little Dorrit. born in a debtor's prison. yet still conveying the scope. detail and changing perspectives of the original. As their tentative romance slowly blossoms a vivid. scathing picture is gradually woven of scandalous landlords. impenetrable and inefficient bureaucracy and parasitic wealth. It is a two-nation society and the parallels with Britain today are startling. Derek Jacobi is outstanding as the gentle. bewildered (‘lennam and is ably supported by a host of delicious character performances reflecting Dickens' blend of the grotesque and the realistic as the film moves from pain to comedy. A classic film that pays eloquent testimony to Dickens' sharp social documentation and unshakeable ability to tell a good story. Glasgow: (il’l‘. I The Lonely Passion Of Judith Hearne( IS) a": (Jack (’layton. LR. 1988) Maggie Smith. Bob lloskins. Wendy lliller. 1le mins. Screening as part of the 1 landmade season is this special sneak preview ofthe film adaptation of Brian Moore's highly -regarded novel. Maggie Smith in the title role plays a single woman in reduced circumstances who mov es into a Dublin boarding house and gets to know the landlady 's brother ( l loskins). While her attraction towards him grows. he sees in her the business partner he is looking for. but w hen the profound misunderstanding at the heart oftheir relationship is revealed the consequences are to be serious for them both. lidinburgh: ('ameo.
I The Man Who Fell To Earth ( ls ) ( Nicolas Rocg.l.'1s'. 1976) David Bowie. RipTorn. Buck Henry. 138 mins. An alien searching for the water needed to save hisown planet has his powers destroyed by the sinister machinationsof multinational
perhaps his best performance in this dazzling. occasionally obtuse. piece of Roegian sci-fi. A film that bears and indeed improves with repeated viewings. Iidinburgh: (‘ameo
I Maniac Cop ( lls’) t": (William Lustig. LS. 1988) Tom Atkins. Bruce ('ampbell. Laurene Landon. Richard Roundlrce. 93 mins. Swift exploitation riposte to Robm‘up. written and produced by the reliable Larry ('ohen. The plot revolves around a series of brutal New York murders committed by a cop. which leads the population to start slaughtering innocent policemen. ()fficer Bruce ('ampbell is arrested as a scapegoat. but to clear his name he must establish the identity of the real maniac cop.
Special preview of promising looking schlocker. with atop notch B-movie cast list.To be reviewed. lidinburgh; Cameo. I The Passionate Thief ( PU ) (Mario Monicelli. ltaly. 196(1) Anna Magnani. Ben (iazzara. Toto. fired ('lark. lllbmins. Little seen. offbeat comedy intertwining the lives of two impecunious film extras and a smooth-talking con artist as they attempt to work the crowds of revellers and wealthy tourists during the New Year festivities. ‘A minor tale of love and larceny" . Glasgow: (if-'1‘.
I The Pied Piper( 15) :1— (.liri Barla. ('Iechoslovakia. 1986) 57 mins. Definitely not for children. Barta's gothic. puppet visualisation of the famous folk tale has been hailed as a ‘dauling masterpice‘ and a ‘grotesque nightmare set in a horrific half-dream. half-nightmare world. populated by models carved in medieval st)’le from walnut”. Recommended to those w ho have savoured the .-1/(‘/l(’nll.\'!.s ()fl/lr’ Surreal seasons. (ilztsgoys I (il‘vL
I Police Academy V: Assignment Miami Beach ( PU) (Alan My'crson. l'S. was) Bubba Smith. David liraf. Michael Winslow . 91) mins. Latest execrable dollop ofcomic ineptitude has as its ingredientsa Police ('hiefs' convention. a stolen bagof diamonds. and our lovable academy graduates on the loose in Miami. The production notes promise ‘high-speed
boat chases across alligator-infested swamps‘. God help us all. Glasgow: Cannon Sauchiehall Street.
I The Powwow Highway ( 15) n (Jonathan Wacks. US. 1988) Gary Farmer. Anthony Martinez. 90 mins. Part of the Handmade season is this special preview screening of the company‘s latest comedy. a Red lndian road movie no less. Buddy Red Bird (Farmer). radical tribal spokesman. hitches a lift across country with obese Philbert Bono. whose only interest in life is food. but as the journey progresses the balance of power is to shift between the two Indians. Edinburgh: Cameo.
I Prison (18) (Renny Harlin. US. 1987) Viggo Mortenscn. (‘helsea Field. Lane Smith. 103 mins. The reopening ofa disused penal establishment unleashes the angry spirit of an inmate wrongfully executed there twenty years previously and now out for revenge. Straight-faced and ingeniously nasty shocker that works up a fine old head ofsteam. Recommended for genre addicts. Glasgow: Grosvenor.
I A Private Function ( 15) (Malcolm Mowbray. UK. 1984) Maggie Smith. Michael Palin. Bill Paterson. 93 mins. Royal Wedding celebrations in ration-restricted post-war Yorkshire prove the ideal breeding ground for all-out class warfare. Engaging comic crossbrced combining the Ealing tradition with the cheerfully rude humour of writer Alan Bennett. Edinburgh: (‘ameo
I Raging Bull ( 18) (Martin Scorcese. US. 1981)) Robert DeNiro. ('athy Moriarty. Joe Pesci. 129 mins. Middleweight boxing cliampJake LaMotta finds it difficult to sustain his early success and as his career fades. he declines into a travesty ofhis former self.
DeNiro's stunning physical presence dominates Scorsese’s savagely bleak study of self-destructive male machismo. Glasgow: G Fl'.
I Retribution ( 18) (Guy Magar. US. 1987) Dennis Lipscomb. Leslie Wing. l loyt Axton. 108 mins. Unsuccessful artist Lipscomb survives a suicide leap offthe roofof the downbeat hotel where he lives. but soon afterwards he begins to have terrible nightmares where he imagines himself the perpetrator of a number of horrific murders. When he awakes however. a shock is in store for him.
()ccasionally effective. but sometimes just plain nasty shocker on a tight budget. Iidinburgh: (‘ameo.I Three Men And A Baby (PG) 1? (Leonard Nimoy. LS. 1987) Tom Selleck. Steve Guttenberg. Ted Danson. ('eleste llolm. 102 mins. A trio of smug. womanising lads share a bachelor apartment. but the arrival on their doorstep of the offspring ofone oftheir careless affairs is soon to wreak havoc with their chic macho lifestyle.
Fine ifyou have a sentimental. undemanding critical faculty and a love of lavatorial humour. otherwise forgettable mainstream fodder and a fairly unacountable box office success. Glasgow: ()deon. lidinburgh: ()deon. IThrow Momma From The Train( 15) (Danny De Vito. LS. 1988) Danny De Vito. Billy ('rystal. Anne Ramsey. S7 mins. Would-be author De Vito wantsto rid himselfof his grotesquely domineering mother. whilst his creative writing tutor (‘ry'stal displays similarly murderous intentions towards his ex-wife who has plagiarised his work in her own bestseller : and left him with a numbing creative ‘ block. The solution to their problem licsin an exchange deal inspired by 1 litchcock's .S'rrungers ()n A Train.
The rich potential for dark laughter is I largely thrown away in the soft-hearted : later stages of this ratheroverstretched ! black comedy. First-time director De 1 \'ito‘s hysterical straining for effect doesn‘t help matters much. but can't take i anything away from a marvellous exercise ' in celluloid horribleness by Oscar-nominated mama Anne Ramsey.