Our tortnightly round-up oi what’s available on video.
I THE lMAGE (15) The always watchable Albert Finney struts his rotund stuti as an investigative TV ioumalist becoming increasingly lamous tor his exposes ot swindling wrongdoers. However, when one ol his ‘victims' commits suicide atterthe transmission oi one otthe programmes, Finney begins to wonder whether he’s getting bigger than the stories he's covering, and sets out to give the case in question an even more thorough exploration. With good secondary work trom Swoozie Kurtz and John Mahoney as his media cohorts. this solid, well-meaning etiort otters the modest pleasures at a topnotch TV movie. Which, having been made tor US ‘ cable network HBO, is exactly what it is. (Warner. rental)
I SEA OF LOVE (18) Homicide ‘tec Al Pacino is told to scourthe New York personal columns on the look-out tor a psycho with a good taste in music. So, all lnthe line at duty, he sets up a date with single-parent Ellen Barkin. However. work and play don't mix and he begins to suspecthis would-be paramour may be into heavierthingsthan sex. Unlortunately, the rusty plot can't match up to the line pertormance lrom the two leads. Nevertheless, it‘s an enjoyable thriller, albeit with an unsatistactory conclusion. (ClC, rental)
I HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS (U) Disney's biggest evergrosser makes a speedy transition to video. Rick Moranis is the crazed inventorwho accidently shrinks his otlspring. The kids then have to light their way backto saiety, warding otidlve-bombing bees, monstrous insects and avoid being cut down in their prime by a giant lawnmower. An amusing romp in the old Disney style. (Buena Vista, rental)
:— laugh radio
As if Rab C. Nesbitt getting his own networked TV show on BBC2 weren’t enough. Radio 4. that other favourite medium of the chattering classes, has got into the act by devoting a show to the wit and wisdom ofthe Glaswegian.
The Humour ofGIasgow takes the standpoint that Glaswegians. like New Yorkers. Liverpudlians and London’s East Enders have developed their own patter and jokes as a survival mechanism. Like those groups. Glaswegians enjoy a firm sense of their own identity, and a jaundiced view of the rest of the world. which they have a habit of voicing in one-liners rather than political pamphlets.
Glasgow Herald columnist Jack McLean and comics Elaine C. Smith and Billy Connolly all contribute their views. as well as non-Glaswegian observers such as author William McIllvanney, and folk singer Danny Kyle. One of the most pointed commentators on the ‘new‘ Glasgow is cartoonist Padam Singh who contributes to Glasgow magazine Electric Soup. A Sikh, he
takes a novel stance on Glasgow‘s religious bigotry with his cartoon character Billy Pope, a kind of religious schizophrenic.
However. it is the jokes and banter of the streets that the producers are more interested in. The bulk of the programme is devoted to everyday Glaswegians rather than media figures. In an attempt to show a genuine inventive humour in the city, rather than a media gimmick or hype. the humour ofordinary bus drivers or shipyard workers exemplifies the ‘dry sharp abrasiveness‘ of the Glaswegian.
Halfan hour on the radio seems a criminally short time to devote to it. There‘s several PhD theses just waiting to be written on the subject.
' Put simply, it‘s a humour often based
in the working-class male strongholds ofworkplace. betting shop or pub. doing its best to glamorise poverty, excessive drinking and failure. but paradoxically managing to glorify Glasgow and the Glaswegian in the process. Which reminds me: Did you hear the one about the Englishman. the Irishman and the Glasgow guy in a plane when the engines failed . .. (Tom Lappin)
The Humour OfGIasgow, Radio 4, 0 Oct, 10.15—10.45pm.
Art programmes on TV, perhaps because at their very nature, always leel compelled to appear in dynamic new lormats. As it they want to compete with their content tor interest value. The question is, what new structure or approach is there lett to take with an arts programme? Without Walls, the generic title tor a series at documentaries, short lilms and discussions to be screened on Channel 4, proiters one possible answer. In a brave step lorward in arts programming they have dispensed with the nasal tones at a presenter and opted instead to have the links handled by an armadillo called Douglas. Kicking oii with an innovative stab at detective tales, along the lines ot the photo romance stories so tavoured by Jackie and My Guy magazines, the programme’s regular Wednesday slots will include a wide survey at the arts world as well as specillc documentaries, all screened underthe
umbrella title. Among the 30-minute lilms coming up over the series are Gazza’s Tears, a study of men who greet, Doing the Dishes, a celebration at the often scorned satellite dish, and 1867 which shows, in one ten-minute shot, how Manet’s paintings depicting the death of Emperor Maximilian were carried out.
The line-up oi hour-long documentaries is no less intriguing; Tunnel Visions has a British tilm crew heading overthe channel to examine French culture, while a French equivalent does the same to ours. Upholding the Bricks, a re-examination oi the work at Carl Andre, who once sold the Tate Gallery a pile oi bricks, is presented by his uncle, Raymond Baxter. However, the show's claim to innovation is best justiiied by J'Accuse, which invites a variety oi artists and critics to appear and get torn into one or other cultural icon oi our age. That, you can't help thinking, really would be unusual, and tar better than the current cultural snoglests that litterthe airwaves. (Ross Parsons) Without Walls, Channel 4, Wed 3 Oct, 9.15--10.15pm.
I COMEDY ANTICS WITH TOMMY COOPER Since his untimely death on stage, a teat since emulated by many atthe Edinburgh Fringe. his unique blend ot idiocy and magic has been much missed. At49 minutes, this video is just long enough to be bearable and provide a reminderol the man who made the leza comic prop.
I RELENTLESS (18) Judd Nelson used to be respectable Brat Packer, whom you’ll probably remember as the cool shades-wearing rebel type in The Breaktast Club. but these days his career must be hitting a downward slope it he's walking through tormulaic snoozelests like this. Cast as the oilspring oi a tanatical policeman lather. Nelson's central role sees him turning psycho slayer when the lorce retuse his entry papers. William (Maniac Cop) Lustig directs with an eye iorslickly excessive slaughter, but the saddest sight is watching a once promising young actor reduced to the kind at movie where he has to strangle topless bimbos. (Warner. rental)
I DOA (15) Disillusloned Eng Lit protessorDennis Ouald staggers into a police station to report a murder, his own. With only 48 hours until the poison he has ingested takes eiiect, he careers through a twilight world at red herrings, suicides, murderand adulteries until he unearths the academic )ealousies at the heart at the campus shenanigans. This remake oi Rudolph Mate's excellent 1950 lilm noirtails to match the ever-increasing tension at the original. (Buena Vista, £9.99)
I BLACKADDER GOES FORTH The Beeb have claimed that these episodes signity the death throes ot the cowardly dynasty. Captain Blackadder and his gormless manservant Baldrick iind themselves thrust into the mud and gore oi the Western Front, and the usual team setabout much the same situations with the same gusto they had in previous incarnations. (BBC Video, ((19.99)
82'l‘hc List 28 September— 1 1 October 1990