Once more into the VHS breach as we tackle the latest video releases clogging up our tape decks.
I Days otThunder(15) The Top Gun team reunite in a tale of derring-do on the stock car circuit. Tom Cruise plays Cole Trickle. a dead-end kid who is aiming for the top. All the ingredients are there: the wily, experienced trainer (Robert Duvall). the arch-rival punk (Randy Quaid) and the love interest (Nicole Kidman). but the whole thing never quite gels into anything more than a thrills ‘n' spills action pic. (ClC Rental)
l Nasty Boys 2 The intriguineg titled sequel to Nasty Boys deals. apparently, with the everyday problems of the North Vegas Narcotics Squad — problems such as, why are we all seventeen? The spurious plot has our boys attempting to track down the ’Vegas Vigilante’ (Frank Sinatra?), a wronged man who is busy gunning down the city‘s drug barons and doing the boys in blue out oftheir YTS money. The lads achieve their aims with considerable ease and the remainder ofthe ﬁlm is a drawn-out wait forthe predictable conclusion. Remember kids. the baddies are the ones who smoke, don‘t shave and play rap music in large German ears.
I Lambada (15) What! only a 15 certiﬁcate for that lewd dancing? Another one of those dance-craze films where the faintly ludicrous plot is merely an excuse for plenty of pelvic gyrations. Kevin Laird is a maths teacher by day. but a swinging Lambada devotee by night. His double life causes problems when it is discovered; as Ken Barlow found out when he tried the same thing at Weathcrﬁeld Comprehensive. (Pathe Rental)
Think ot larmers and generally an image of lamb a la truck springs to mind. A new series on Channel 4, The Land of Europe, looks set to redress the balance. It not resurrecting the idea ol a rural idyll, it should at least promote increased sympathy tor those locked to the land.
The series was the brainchild ol Pelicula Films at Glasgow as producer Douglas Eadie explains. ‘We thought it would be a terrlllc idea to have a Pan-European series on how country people perceive themselves. Mostly the people who live in the countryside are discussed by experts and conservationists irom towns, so to give them a chance to talk about themselves is something quite new.’
Not surprisingly, Channel 4 couldn’t afford to send the Scottish team throughout Europe so Pelicula approached various continental lilmmakers. The result is lour documentaries about rural lile, irom
the Soviet Union, Finland, France and Wales in addition to the Scottish eliort. Eadie says he detects a similarity ol attitudes amongst all oi those leatured in the iilms.
‘They all have a certain resilience, toughness and determination to keep at it, it at all possible. The tanner in the Scottish iilm talks about having to work harder and harder each year just to stand still, and the French iilm is the sad story oi a man lorced to sell his larm which has been in the family lor
An old village woman in Pytalovo. the second in Channel 4’: series of European films.
‘But what I think comes out most strongly is the contrast between East and West. The Russian documentary is lilmed on the Russian-Latvian border and leatures an ex-KGB man and his wile who are trying to make a living on the land because they are so disgusted with the whole system. They quite rightly say that the only thing that has changed in Russian larming since Peter the Great is that they have electricity. Otherwise, they live in a plg-sty. Meanwhile, iust2tltl miles overthe border, a peasant couple in Finland have this wonderful sauna and seem to spend most at their time stark bullock-naked talking about the meaning ot lile.’ (Philip Parr)
The Scottish production, A Place in The Country will be on Channel 4 on 9 Feb. The series continues on succeeding Saturdays.
Serious times are indeed upon us when Carry On Up The Khyber is banned ior showing British troops in a bad light. Casting around tor a law morsels oi humour in the gloom is a tough task nowadays. Strangely enough, the lunniest thing in ages was BBC Scotland’s larcical attempts to bring us the Scottish Cup Draw live.
Alternoon Sportscene already bursts in upon Des Lynam’s urbane innuendos like some low-budget pirate channel. This time they managed to allow Jock Brown to drone on so long with deathless reportage along the lines ol ‘lle hit a 25-yarder irom all oi 25 yards’, that they missed the English classilied results and had to drag the announcer back in to do them all over again in an injured and reluctant tone. The draw itsell was hilarious. Dougie Donnelly sweated as the Tennents PR men struggled to open the little balls, and the glamour girls drifted out oi locus in tront ol the cardboard backdrop. At the end, the cameras homed in for a close-up of the draw, scribbled illegibly in red tell-tip pen. BBC Scotland parsimony seems to have hit the graphics department hard. The 'comic genius responsible should be rushed over to Queen Margaret Drlve’s humour department post-haste.
In fact, once you start watching live sport lor amusement, you stumble on a goldmine. Brough Scott at Channel 4 Racing is the most watchable. He peers
into the distance, turns round, spots the camera, looks round suspiciously, mumbles ‘Am I on?’, and linally starts presenting. Meanwhile his lat chum John McCririck is in the bookies ring, holding lorth, oblivious ol the crowd oi lads behind him peering gleeiully into the camera and making the universally-understood waggling wrist gesture.
Comedy at a more deliberate type sees Only Fools And Horses siblings Del and Rodney in somewhat gentler mood lorthe latest series. Writer John Sullivan is using the 50-minute episodes to paint in some subtler shades to the characters, and sacrificing the occasional one-liner tor the more cohesive whole. More power to his pen. The most enduring comedies are those that are unalraid to be occasionally serious, and there’s been a distinctly black side to recent episodes, although we’ve still got the wonderlul comic creation ol Trigger, the gormless roadsweeper, and Del’s increasingly tortured language. Some critics are saying ‘lt’s a lot less lunny’. I say ‘No way Pedro.’ (Tom Lappln)
I The Guardian Jenny Seagrove stars as a nanny to the newly-born wean of LA yuppie couple — the Stirlings. lnitially Ms Seagrove puts Ms Poppins to shame until her attachment to junior becomes entangled with a large and sinister tree (yes a tree) close to the family home. After various graphic and gory incidents between the trunk and the nanny. the couple finally realise that they ought to be thinking in terms of baby‘s safety and nanny‘s P45. The climax and indeed most of the ﬁlm is as outrageous as it is gruesome but should satisfy any macabre viewers and randy tree surgeons among our readers.
I Dick Tracy (PG) Yes. the tape ofthe film ofthe life-size cardboard cutout advertising promo ofthe comic strip. Warren Beatty is uncharacteristically clean-cut, Madonna is characteristically vampish. the soundtrack sucks. production values are sumptuous (68 Oscar nominations no less!). but the film lacks acertain something in the narrative department. Still, good clean fun playing the ‘first one to spot Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino‘ game. (Touchstone Rental)
I Flashback Kiefer Sutherland playsa clean-cut, teetotal vitamin- popping FBI agent charged with returning a recently recaptured felon to the scene of his most most outrageous misdemeanour. The felon in question is one Huey Walker. a drug-wise 60s radical and legendary hippy. expertly portrayed by Dennis Hopper (who doubtless required long months of research before taking on the role). Huey ensures that the journey does not go entirely to plan and the pair end up on the wrong side of a corrupt and ruthless sheriffin upstate Oregon. Their ensuing adventure ﬁnds them both having to come clean about various aspects of their crooked past. A diverting caper with some cracking one-liners and a touch of sentimentality thrown in for good measure. As Rolf would say — ‘Enjoy it.‘
56 The List 8— 21 February 1991