Bird (15) (Clint Eastwood, US, 1988) Forrest Whittaker, Diane Venora, Samuel E. Wright, Michael Zelinker. 161 mins. While past evidence. such as the dreadful biopics of Benny Goodman and Bix Beiderbecke, has shown us to be wary of any cocktail that mixes Hollywood and jazz, such preconceptions are soon blasted away by Bird—Clint Eastwood‘s labour of love in attempting to bring to the screen some of the complexities of the character known as Charlie ‘Yardbird' Parker, whose improvisational developments on the alto saxophone rank him as one of the most significant musical presences ol the twentieth century.
Eastwood etlortlessly manages a patchwork narrative structure that moves from Parker's shambling early development and musical humiliations in the struggle to find his style to the later years of stirring saxophone flights of expression and the physical decay of a body pushed too far by a gargantuan appetite for food, alcohol and hard drugs. His continuing dependence on
9 w, a; a. 1.
heroin, and his stuttering relationship with long-suffering common-law wile Chan Richardson provide a constant thread to set against the saxman's various musical sorties, first developing the then dillicult Bebop music, tussling with Jim Crow-ism in the South, and latterly lacing problems with linding work as the law came down on his narcotics use.
Winner of the Best Actor prize at Cannes, Forrest Whitakerwith his rounded teatures makes for a good
physical resemblence, and his ability to range from the restless joie de vivre ot Bird's lighter moments to the haggard looking carcase ol the man who died at thirty-tour, but looked sixty, represents a considerable achievement. The same might be said at cameraman Jack N. Green’s use of heavy shadowing to create a haunting impression of the jazz underworld’s myriad seething clubs and grubby hotel rooms, while Lennie Niehaus score is a technical triumph lorthe manner in which it cleans up the quicksilver invention of Parker‘s original solos and places them within better recorded backing by some at today‘s signilicant jazz artistes.
While the purists might argue over a certain historical llippancy and the tendency to avoid the most unsavoury aspects of the often squalid Parker lifestyle, even the most demanding viewer should be thankful tor a movie that brings the scintillating Parker legend to the screen more or less intact so that for a further generation of devotees Bird Lives. (Trevor Johnston)
recommended. ladinburgh: lidinburgh Film ( iuild.
' I The Seventh Sign ( 18) t Carl Schultz. t 's. 1988) Demi Moore. Michael Biehn. Jurgen Prochnow, 97mins. .‘slythological mystery tour through the Book ( )f Revelations as a series of cataclysmic eyeltts unfold to bring mankind closer to the :‘spocalypsc and pregnant mother Moore. menaccd by the stranger downstairs. finds that in her unborn child lies the fate of millions.
l'tter tosh the lot of it. but Carl Schultz's direction contrives to add just the right amount of conviction and transform the movie into an enjoyable slice ofescapism that mostly ayoids bathetic absurdity. 'I‘he assured performances certainly help. (ilasgow : Cannon. Strathclyde: AMC Clydebank. I Sign O The Times ( 15 ) ( Prince. L's. 1987 Prince. Sheila F. Sheena liaston. 85 mins. Capturing one of today 's tnost extravagantly talented pop composers live in action in Rotterdam. this is asuperior concert movie because Prince's stage performance is a superior entertainment. With a harder. even funkier sound thanor record. and the imposing sexual presence of dancer Cat. and Drummer Sheila li. this is hot stuff for the eyes and the ears. lidinburgh: lidinburgh l.'niversitv Film Society. ' I Silkwood ( 15) (Mike Nichols. CS. 1983) MerylStrecp. Cher. Kurt Russell. 131 mins. Based on the true story of Karen Silkwood. who died under mysterious circumstances as she was about to bring to light safety rnalpraetices in the nuclear processing industry. Mike Nichols' subtly crusading drama features a superb performance from Streep. and an early flash of Cher’s potential as the former‘s lesbian lover. (ilasgow: (il’l'. I The Singing Detective As part oftheir Dennis Potter season. (il’l~ are screening his controversial series starring Michael (iambon as the hospitalized Marlow. a writer trying to complete his latest crime novel but beset by the neuroses of a painful emotional history. A showingover two evenings should allow viewers the chance to give the rich blend ofrnernory. fantasy. and unpleasant reality the kind of sustained concentration the material undoubtedly deserves. (ilasgow: (iF'l I Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ( ti) (Walt Disney Productions. (IS. 1937) Voices: Adriana Caselotti. Harry
Stockwcll. l.uci|le La Verne. 83 mins. ()ne of the most enchanting and influential of animated features. The central character is a mite wet but the irulividualisticdw arfs. memorable songs and superbly crafted backdrops and incidents make this an essential cinematic experience. Crlasgow: ()deon. Central: Cannon. Strathclyde: ()deon Ayr.
I Star Trek: The Motion Picture ( l’( i) (Robert Wise. CS. 1979) Williatn Shatner. Leonard Nimoy . Del-‘orrest Kelly. 132 mins. Kirk and his crcwof old-timers are reeommissioned to board the linterprise once tnore and save the Iiarth frorn the unidentified alien probe fast approaching. lnterminably dull big screen adventure with Spock and Co. unlike the series. there's far too much time and money to spend. (ilasgow; Cannon Sauchiehall Street. lidinburgh: Cameo.
I Star Trek Ill: The Search For Spock ( PU) (Leonard Nimoy. CS. 1984) William Shatner. De Forrest Kelley. Leonard Nimoy. Dame Judith Anderson. 105 mins. Following on from The Wrath ()fKahn. the linterprise crew scour a distant planet for Spock's body. A bit too rambling this one. though the Vulcan rejuvenation ceremony takes some heating for sheer carnpness. (ilasgow: Cannon Sauchiehall Street.
I Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home ( l’( 3) (Leonard Nimoy. CS. 198(1) William Shatner. De Forrest Kelley. Leonard Nimoy. 119 mins. The crew of the Starship lintcrprise beam down to 1980 San Francisco to protect the earth from an incoming alien probe and save the whale into the bargain. As daft as it sounds. and essential y iewing for corset and toupee aficionados. (ilasgow: Cannon Sauchiehall Street. lidinburgh: Cameo.
I Star Trek II: The Wrath 01 Khan ( PG) (Nicholas Meyer. CS. 1982) William Shatner. Leonard Nimoy. Ricardo Montalban. 95 mins. The 'I‘rekkies battle evil megalomaniac Montalban in the most enjoyable entry to the series (so far). simply because it sticks closest to the tacky verve ofthe television original. (ilasgow: Cannon Sauchiehall Street.
I The State 01 Things ( 15) (Wim Wendcrs. US Portugal. 1983) Patrick Bauchau. Paul (ietty 111. Sam Fuller. 121 mins. A European film-maker hitting creative and financial trouble on location. flies to Hollywood to seek help and guidance but
meets only disappointment. Profoundly
despairing comment on the state ofthe cinema as an artform. notable for a cast of interesting eccentrics. and l lenri Alekan‘s ravishing monochrome. A dour but satisfying trip. lidinburgh: Filmhouse. ISuspect(15)(Peter Yates. L's. 19s7) Cher. Dennis ()uaid. Liam Neeson. lift» mins. Work-weary public defender Cher is dumped with the case of an apparently barbaric down-and-out Vietnam veteran on a tnurdcr charge over the savage killing of a young woman for a pathetic sum of money. Needless to say. all is not quite what it seems. and the death of a Supreme Court Justice could. in sortie strange way. be related to the murder. a fact uncovered by Ouaid's reluctant jury member.
An old-fashioned. wintry thriller that really thrills with Cher and ()uaid bringing tnuch needed conviction to their roles and screen partnership and Yates confidently adding a cold. bleak feel to the proceedings. suggesting a sense not ofthe aberration of crime but its commonplace frequency. lidinburgh: Filmhouse.
I Thou Shall N01 Kill ( l8) ( Krzystopf Kieslowski. Poland. 1988) 84 mins. Nominated as one of the European films of the year. Kieslow-ski's new film gets a cherishable Scottish screening as part of the Polish Realities season. lixamining the interlinked destinies ofthree very different characters (aimless drifter. idealistic lawyer. and cab driver) it creates a powerful argument against capital punishment. the retribution of an eye for an eye. (ilasgow: (il’l‘.
I The Three Amigos ( PU ) (John Landis. LS. 1987) Steve Martin. Chevy Chase. Martin Short. 105 mins. A rare Martin misfire as Steve and the boys go vainly searching for laughs in old Mexico as silent screen stars mistaken for real cowboy heroes. A dreadful comedy-nuisical fiesta turkey that barely musters a sympathetic chuckle. Glasgow: (EFF.
I Three Men And A Baby ( PG) (Leonard Nimoy. US. 1987) Tom Selleck. Steve (iuttenberg. Ted Danson. Celeste 1 lolm. 102 mins. A trio ofsmug. w'omanisinglads share a bachelor apartment. but the arrival on their doorstep of the offspringof one of their careless affairs is soon to wreak havoc with their chic macho lifestyle.
Fine ify'ou have a sentimental. undemanding critical faculty and a love of lavatorial humour. otherwise forgettable mainstream fodder and a fairly
unaccountable box office success. Strathclyde: AMC Clydebank Hi.
I Tom Thumb (t' l ((icorge Pal. 178. I957) Russ'l‘amblyn. Peter Sellers.'l'erry Thomas. 9“ mins. A tiny forest boy gets the better of a pair of incompetentcrooks in this efficient. old-style Hollywood effects film for children. Strathclyde: .»\MCClydebank lll.
ITop Sun (I’( it t lony .S‘eott. (18'. I986) l‘om ( ‘rutse. Kelly .llt‘Uil/ix. l'al Ktlmer. Ill) mins. Say whatvou like abouthtm. ‘l‘onv .S‘eott undoubtedly has thegolden touch of the box (Ill-llCt'. lltts emotion/ex.)
formula adventure about men being
grand/v upstaged bv vervlaxt, l‘t’rl' ¢'.t'/)t'll.\tt‘¢' and very dangerous aircraft.
with the \‘plt’lltlltl Kelly .llt'(it'llt.\ thrown in as love interest/or ( ‘ruts‘e. made afortune. espeetally tn the l '5. It had to bet/rose planes. or maybe the rampant 'xl mert'ea the strong ethos of the film. because ttdoexn 't have mueh more to oller in its dtsplaeed western plot about rivalry lu'tii'eenptlotx
for the t'oi'eted tttle oltop gun. Strat/te/yde:
()deon :1 vr. I The 12 Tasks ol Asterix l l 7 l ( France. 1975 ) 82 mins. l-urtheranirnalcd adventurcsof the plucky little(iallic warrior. aided. as always. by (ietafix's magic potions. lidinburgh: Filmhouse I U2 Battle And Hum ( Phil .loanou. l 'S. 1988) liono. 'l'he lidge. Adam Clayton. Larry Mullen. 9“ mins. C2 on their worldwide Joshua l‘ree tour find themselves exploring the great tradition of American popular music as they record with 13.11. King and make a trip toSun Studios where lilvis first recorded. Intriguing mix ofstirring live footage and intitnatc documentary capturing a band in transition. Film of the album ofthe book. lidinburgh; Cannon. I Videodrome ( l8) ( Dav idCronenberg. Canada. 1983) James Woods. Debbie Harry . 88 mins. Woods is a programmer for a pirate cable station who becomes intrigued and then obsessed with a bizarre untraceable channel that triggers hallucinogenic fantasies in this initially intriguing but ultimately unsatisfactory film with ey e-popping special effects. lidinburgh: Cameo I Vincent ( P( i) (Paul Cox. AUstralia Netherlands. 1987) 103 mins. L'nusual film on \'an (iogh. neither straight documentary nor fictionalized account. but a study of the artist'slifc using his famous letters as the soundtrack to visuals that merge the paintings withthe places he lived and worked in. Ambitious attempt at varying an old rather staid form of filrnmaking. but the pace isoften unbearably slow. lidinburgh: Filmltouse. I Wall Street( 15) 2'".- (()liver Stone. CS. 1987) Charlie Sheen. Michael Douglas. Daryl Hannah. 'l‘erence Stamp. 129 mins. Returning to the trenches. unabashed tnoralist Stone again presents a flawed hero with character-defining dilemmas and invites us to observe as he is excited. seduced. overwhelmed. abandoned and ultimately redeemed by the wrongturns and twists of his encounters with malfeasance. Contemporary robber baron and stockmarket legend (iordon (ieeko (Douglas) takes a shine toatnbitious 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 of evil. but the result is stillan impressive. engrossing drama that. for memorable dialogue and fluid cinematic skill remains comfortablyahead ofthe current pack. Strathclyde: ()deon Ayr. I Who Framed Roger Rabbit ( PG) (Robert Zemeckis. CS. 1988) Bob Hoskins. Christopher Lloyd. Joanna ('assidy. 104 mins. (ilasgow: ()deon. Edinburgh: ()deon. Strathclyde: Cannon Kilrnarnock. Kelburne Paisley. ()deon Ayr. ()deon Hamilton. Rialto Dumbarton.
15 The List 25 Nov — 8 Dee 1988