I Air America (15) (Roger Spottiswoode. US, 1990) Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr, Nancy Travis. Ken Jenkins. 112 mins. Modestly entertaining comedy thriller set in neighbouring Laos during the Vietnam war. Gibson and Downey star as maverick pilots signed up to Air America, a corrupt and covert drug/gun-running business under the C lA's discreet auspices, who are forced to think for themselves to save their skins when the organisation sets them up as scapegoats. Engagingly light and unpretentious action fare. Edinburgh: UCI. Strathclyde: UCI Clydebank, UCI East Kilbride. I Alice (15) (Jan Svankmajer, Switzerland, 1988) 84 mins. Radical new version of the Lewis Carroll classic by brilliant Czech filmmaker Svankmajer, which has the protagonist as the only live action character making her way through a harsh dreamscape vividly conveyed through puppet animation and trick photography. Atmospheric treatment of cruel, childlike fantasies, which makes for absorbing viewing, but Disney itdefinitely ain’t. Edinburgh University Film Society. I Almost An Angel (PG) (John Cornell, US, 1990) Paul Hogan, Elias Koteas, Linda Kozlowski, Doreen Lang. 105 mins. On committing one good deed and subsequently waking up in hospital, small-time thief Terry Deans (Hogie) reckons he must have died and returned as an angel, and duly sets about the good work. Reverting to the soft-centred rogue formula which served Crocodile Dundee so well, not to mention a pretty similar bunch of jokes, Hogan has somehow contrived to sustain the freshness, and comes up with another heartily enjoyable romp. Edinburgh: UCI. Central: Allanpark. I The Amazing Mr Blunden (U) (Lionel Jeffries, UK. 1972) Laurence Naismith, Lynne Frederick, Diana Dors. 99 mins. Another superior family entertainment from the actor/director of The Railway Children. Set in Dickensian times, it spins an engrossing yarn about a friendly ghost who persuades two children to travel back in time to assist two maltreated youngsters. Good supporting character work from Dors as a slatternly housekeeper. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Apocalypse Howl (18) (Francis Coppola, US, 1980) Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper. 153 mins. Vietnam as The Ultimate Trip. We follow US Army assassin Sheen downriver and deeper into the Heart ofDarkness ruled over by Brando‘s mad Colonel Kurtz. Alternately pretentious and visually overpowering (the Valkyries helicopter attack, for example), its grandiloqucnt folly somehow pierces right to the bone of the conflict. Edinburgh: Cameo. I Anchnophobia (PG) (Frank Marshall, US, 1990) Jeff Daniels, Julian Sands, Harley Jane Kozak. John Goodman. 110 mins. in rural retreat on the California coast, the Jennings family are unpleasantly surprised when they meet their new neighbours, a particularly venomous breed of spiders. which are to terrorise the village ofCanaima, not least through the surgery of arachnaphobic Dr Jennings (Daniels). Produced by Steven Spielberg and billed as a ‘thrillomedy'. this feast of humorous horrors is guaranteed to appeal to sick-minded punters who enjoy either nightmares or close contact with our eight-legged friends. Glasgow: Cannon The Forge, Odeon. Edinburgh: Odeon. UCI.

UCI East Kilbride.

I Bad influence (18) (Curtis Hanson. US, 1989) Rob Lowe. James Spader, Lisa Zane. 102 mins. Spader plays a demure

Strathclyde: Odeon Ayr, UCI Clydebank,


The Big Picture (15) (Christopher Guest. US, 1989) Kevin Bacon, Emily Longstreth, J.T. Walsh, Jennifer Jason Leigh. 99 mins. I normally hate plays about the theatre, but at least some illms about Hollywood contrive to sidestep the cringe factor. Perhaps it's because you can’t live in Tinseltown and not see the ludicrousness oi it all. But Christopher Guest's comedy both relreshes and disappoints, precisely because it's a Hollywood movie about Hollywood movie-making.

One one level, it's a straightforward satire on the corrupting allure oi the star system, and for me it lost credibility right at the beginning. The opening scene takes place at the National Film Institute, where tyro lllm graduate Nick (Bacon) is among the nominees lor the Student Film Awards. Two oi his rivals’ illms (ol which we are shown clips) are both too lavishly produced and too crass to be believable; while Nick’s pal Lydia (Leigh) unleashes a stream ol unmitigating kookiness, which miraculously does not become irritating till halfway through the illm. Like most or the stereotypes here, it’s just a little too much to take.

0n winning the award, Nick is besieged by otters lrom producers and agents, then snapped up by Walsh's

shady studio boss, and tor a while it looks as though his cherished project (a kind at Allen-does-Bergman alialr to be shot in monochrome and midwlnter) will be made. Everyone wants to know him, and for a while all is groovy, but the viewer’s Pavlovian alarm bells sound when he drops his down-to-earth girlfriend Susan (Longstreth) tor the irresistibly sensual starlet Gretchen (Teri Hatcher). Sure enough, decline is on its way.

The emotional subtext oi the illm is about sticking to your guns and not dumping on your mates. This is brought to life through the deterioration ol chk’s friendship with cameraman Emmet (co-writer Michael McKean, barely recognisable trom This is Spinal Tap, in which he co-starred with Guest) and his relationship with Susan. But because The Big Picture is a Hollywood comedy, everything turns out for the best, which to me looks like major compromise - precisely the evil this movie’s supposed to be tackling. Not that it’s not ton and has nothing to say, but it's a pretty tame ride along the skids, and it lacks the coruscating accuracy that made Spinal Tap a work ot genius. (Andrew Burnet)

Edinburgh Filmhouse Thurs 7-Sat 9 Feb.

finance manager with a luxury LA apartment and, signifigantly. a video camera. Enter Lowe. who personifies everything Spader ain‘t: cool, assured and unhindered by moral scruples. The two strike up a friendship and Spader's life takes a dramatic turn. Though it shares much the same roots as the pretentious Apartment Zero it is a far superior production with suspense and humour served up in equal measures. An unexpected slice of quality entertainment. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

I Betrayed(l5) (Costa-Gavras, US, 1988) DebraWinger. Tom Berenger.John Heard. 127mins. Winger is an FBI agent investigating Midwestern farmer Berenger, who at first seems such a nice guy that the two fall in love. He turnsout however. to be involved in organising guerilla activities in the cause ofwhite supremacy, which makes their relationship somewhat tricky. The implausible plot tends to undermine the ideological credibility of the film. Edinburgh: Broughton Film Society.

I Betty Blue ( 18) (Jean-Jacques Beineix. France. 1986) Jean Hughes Anglade, Beatrice Dalle. 120 mins. Tempestuous love gone mad as an older handyman and a free-spirited woman embark on a passionate. peripatetic fling that ends in tragedy. Filmed with a dazzling technique and an irritating emptiness by the maker of Diva. Edinburgh: Cameo.

I The Big Picture (15) (Christopher Guest. US, 1990) Kevin Bacon, Emily Longstreth,J.T. Walsh. JenniferJason Leigh. 99 mins. See review. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

I Blue Velvet ( 18) (David Lynch, US. 1986) Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, lsabella Rossellini. 120 mins. in small-town Middle America, would-be boy detective MacLachlan finds a seve red car on some waste ground. When the police shoo him away he decides to do some investigating of his own. A singular fusion of the cosy and the terrifying which blends kitsch and nightmare, B-movie detection and brutal sex to deconstruct our complacent vision of normal society. This

is film-making of remarkable imagination i

and skill. Edinburgh: Cameo.

I Brainstorm (15) (Douglas Trumbull. US. 1983) Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson. 106 mins. Walken plays an eccentric inventor who comes up with the ultimate toy a machine which enables the wearer to experience someone else‘s thoughts and feelings. it all goes horribly wrong when the powers-that-be get wind of it, of course. Enjoyably silly but disappointing

flaccid sci-fi thriller, which has the dubious i

distinction of being the project during which Wood drowned. Edinburgh: Cameo.

I Breaking In (15) (Bill Forsyth. US. 1989) Burt Reynolds, Casey Siemaszko, Shelia Kelley. 94 mins. Conceived by its beleagured Scottish director as ‘a very European film‘ to be watched ‘as if it was in black and white’, Breaking In was progressively glossified during Forsyth‘s acrimonious passage through Hollywood. Essentially a quirky buddy movie, in which a small-time crook and an old-lag burglar become uneasy partners, it retaim something of Forsyth‘s capricious eye for characterisation, but much of the man‘s individualism has been polished away. Glasgow: GFT.

I Camille Claudel (PG) (Bruno Nuytten. France, 1988) lsabclle Adjani, Gerard Depardieu, Laurent Grcvil. 175 mins. Despite its slightly forbidding length, this account of the troubled and eventually tragic life of French sculptress Camille Claudel (Adjani), and her relationship as both pupil and lover with Auguste Rodin (Depardieu) boasts a feast of memorablc images and goes to prove that France‘s

biggest stars are also two of its best actors. T

Glasgow: GF’T.

I Cinema Paradiso (PG) (Giuseppe Tornatore, ltaly/France,1988) Phillipe Noiret, Jacques Perrin. Salvatore Cascio. 123 mins. Tornatore‘s vision ofhis movie-mad childhood is a wonderful love letter to the cinema itself. Told largely in flashback, it traces the young Salvatore‘s

infatuation with his village cinema, and his

growing friendship with its projectionist (played to perfection by Noiret).

Essentially. it‘s Tornatore‘s lament for the

joyous movie-going experience of his youth and a recognition of the price we pay for our maturity. 1990 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film. Edinburgh: Cameo.

I Colors ( 18) (Dennis Hopper, US, 1988) Robert Duvall, Sean Penn, Maria Conchita Alonso. 121 mins. Buddy cop movie set amongst the drug-related gang

warfare of LA's ethnic street gangs has old

hand Duvall and greenhorn Penn differing in their approaches to law enforcement in an almost impossible situation. Benefiting from a steely documentary approach that captures a brutal street culture with disturbing authenticity, Hoppcr‘s return to Hollywood credibility finds his bleak world-view of non-communication somewhat deadened by formulaic narrative excitements. Edinburgh: Cameo.

I The Comlort Oi Strangers ( 18) (Paul Schrader, US, 1990) Rupert Everett. Natasha Richardson, Christopher Walken. Helen Mirren. 105 mins. lan McEwan‘s short novel of sexual power games and the perception-warping possibilities ofculture shock isinherently hard to film. Schrader and his excellent cast give it their best shot, the Venetian

.iocations and sets are luscious and Harold

Pinter's screenplay is surprisingly faithful. But the narrative tension and pace on which the novel relies are conspicuously absent. Glasgow: Grosvenor.

I The Creature From The Black Lagoon ( 18) (Jack Arnold, US, 1954) Richard Carlson. Julia Adams, Ricou Browning. 79 mins. Fifties‘ monster movie classic has a party of scientists on an Amazon expedition discovering a strange amphibious creature, the gill man, who proceedsto

20 The List 8— 21 February 1991