Drinking bourbon with Al Pacino and playing games with Robin Williams - here’s The List’s guide to all the new releases opening in Scotland in the next fortnight.
l Gandyman (18) While researching a paper on ‘Grafﬁti Art and Urban Despair‘. Helen Lyle. a female graduate student based in Chicago. comes into contact with various inhabitants of the run- down Cabrini Green housing project. A series of murders there have been assigned to the Candyman. a supematural hook-handed killer who soon draws Helen into his deadly nightmare - or is he part of hers? Writer- director Bernard Rose. adapting Clive Barker's magnificent short story ‘The Forbidden'. never lets us know whether this is a genuine bogeyman ﬁgure or a product of the protagonist's increasing paranoia. C andyman is horror ﬁlmmaking at its very best: a liberal dash of jumps. shocks and gore coupled with a compelling narrative that touches the
raw nerve of a decaying society.
I iioffa (l5) Big budget. big star. small interest factor. Danny DeVito directs Jack Nicholson in this factual but unengaging account of the life and times ofJimmy Hoffa, an American union boss famed more for his dodgy gangster connections than working— class credentials. Nicholson is always worth watching. while DeVito could do with being less tricksy with the camera and editing. Unlike many ﬁlms on labour injustices. it is curiously unemotional: all action without explanation or motivation. Even the conspiracy theory ﬁnale is lukewarm: one gets the impression no one would notice ifthis ﬁlm ended up wearing concrete shoes at the bottom of the sea.
So, is it a kids’ film for adults or an adults‘ film for kids? looking at what’s up on screen, it would appear that director and co-writer Barry Levlnson isn’t very sure either. it may be a cliche, but when Orson Welles said that directing a movie can be the best train set a boy ever had, you’d think he had lust left a screening of Toys with his head in his hands.
Robin Williams (yes, the danger signs are flashing already) is Leslie love, a child in a man’s body, who lives with his father and similarly sympathetic but infantile sister (Joan Gusack) in a utoplan toy factory. When the old man dies, however, nasty uncle Leland (Michael Gambon) takes over and starts churning out war toys, setting his militaristic madness against Leslie’s childish lunacy. The battlelines are drawn, with levinson making the most of the two-sided cute/threatening nature that some playthlngs possess.
Toys is a good example of how true blzarreness in a movie is born, not made: the absurdity of the characters and setting is lust too forced to charm an audience into complicity. Throughout it all, levlnson’s intent is unclear as he condemns the violent
‘The absurdity of the characters and setting is just too forced to charm an audience.’
video game culture one minute, then panders to it the next with an effects- laden shoot-out finale between the militaristic toys and traditional clockwork dolls and animals. At its best, Toys is production design existing in resplendent primary colours for its own sake, with its themes lust as chunky and obvious. At its worst, it’s an expensive lesson in self-indulgence. Oon’t move over yet, Willy Wonka. (Alan Morrison)
Toys (PG) (Barry Levlnson, OS, 1992) Robin Wllliarns, Michael Gambon, Robin Wright. 121 mins. From Fri 12. Glasgow: Odeon, MGM Parkhead. Edinburgh: Odeon. All OGls.
I- SGENT or A WOMAN
The big bucks paid in last year‘s flimscript war obviously didn’t reach the writer of this Al Pacino vehicle. if they did, watch out for that million dollar Godzilla plot!
I Orlando (PG) Sally Potter takes Virginia Woolf‘s epic novel Orlando and turns it into a sumptuous voyage of discovery that straddles four centuries and both sexes. Tilda Swinton is the male Elizabethan courticr who is granted an estate by Queen Elizabeth 1 providing he never ages. Down the ages Orlando travels the world and English society. ﬁrst as a man. then as a women. encountering sexism, treachery and love. Swinton's simple but unique beauty captures the androgyny of historical portraits. which makes her the perfect aristocratic Everyman/woman. The idiosyncratic casting ~ Quentin Crisp as the old queen. Ned Sherrin as a Restoration essayist.
“ ‘.v ' . _ M1- at =' . i ~ .‘I ‘ '
Jimmy Somerville as an Elizabethan falsetto — combines a knowing playfulness with a questioning of the accepted social and sexual conventions of each historical period. The result is that Orlando is ﬁnally able to discover his/her true identity as something that exists out of time — Orlando is the same person. regardless of the body he/she inhabits. The ﬁlm may have Jarman’s costume designer and Greenaway‘s production designers. but it avoids the respective sparseness and gluttony of each director. favouring instead a humorous and visually splendid succession of episodes that is a constantjoy to watch. At last. a literary ﬁlm rather than a literature substitute. (AM)
Fiery veteran Lt. Colonel Frank '
; Slade‘s family need a break, so they hire college kid Charlie Slmms to look after this blind, alcoholic old uncle of
theirs for the Thanksgiving weekend. Maudlin about his wasted life, Slade decides to spend the weekend in the Big Apple, living it up in the Waldorf Astoria with a bit of woman, tango, fast car and good nosh. Oragglng Gharlle along for the ride, he shows the kid a thing or two about life and they help each other to resolve their
; internal conflicts over a moment of ; male bonding, (surprise? not) before
going home to live happily ever after, that bridge neatly crowd.
This being an Al Pacino vehicle, there is, of course, The Method in all this movie madness, although it’s a moot point whether he learned his blindness from the continuity department - thrill to the amazing refilling Jack Daniels bottle! lie tangos his character through the movie with blunt efficiency, but you never believe that the completely naff Slade could ever possess the hidden depths of melancholic despair which Pacino manages, at times, to convey. Then there is the problem of Chris O’Oonnell as Gharlle. Despite an impressive lawiine, he is totally overshadowed by Pacino, to the extent that he blows the crucial reconciliation scene.
Topping and tailing the trip to iiew York are two episodes at Gharlie’s
framework for the movie: should the haracter “"0" h squeaky clean college kid rat on his 9 o 9 pals? And if so, is this the sort of guy the movie with
we want to run America? incongruous blunt eﬂiciency,’
though these scenes are, and contrived as the dilemma is, they are a lot more satisfying than the body of the movie, despite Pacino’s best attempts at that Oscar. (Thom Olbdin)
Scent of a Woman (15) (Martin Brest, OS, 1992) Al Pacino, Ghrls O’Oonnell, James Bebhorn. 156 mins. From Fri 12. Glasgow: Grosvenor, MGMs. Edinburgh: Gannon. Strathclyde: Odeon Ayr. All Ilils.
18 The List l2 —25 March l993