JACK THE BEAR
in this superficially soapy but creeplly disturbing iarnlly picture, nanny lie Vito plays a late-night TV horror show host and single lather oi two young sons, three-year-old Jack (Robert J. Steinmiller) and twelve-yeanold llylan (Mike llughes). Following the death oi his wlie, .lohn Leary (lie Vito) moves the tarnin to a quiet suburb in Oakland, Galilornia. llowever, populated by the kind oi quietly deranged misilts we saw in Joe Dante’s The Burbs, their new neighbourhood has some scary surprises in store. What might have been a cosy, nostalgia-tinged tale about coming-oi-age in the early 70s gradually shades into a darker, Gothic story about the real-Iiie monsters lurking behind the lace curtains oi middle America.
Ghlei among the neighbourhood welrdos is brain-damaged road accident victim llorman (Gary Sinese), known to the local kids as llorm the
Zombie. The iirst hint oi trouble comes on llallowe’en, when Dylan answers the door and ilnds llorm outside, together with a neighbourhood kid he has dressed in an outsized llazl uniiorrn. it’s a blood-ireezing image oi corrupted innocence, one that lie Vito picks up on in his drunken, ranting introduction to a timely screening oi lion Siegel’s ‘lnvasion iii The Body Snatchers’, ironically playing up its warning about the lliggers, likes and Commies who are threatening to take over the viewers’ neighbourhoods. The mysterious death oi lionn’s dog, iollowed by llorm’s abduction oi young Jack, brings things to a head.
Although the later scenes spill over into cod-Spielbergian melodrama, the general tone is more controlled and unsettling, ‘thirtysomethlng’ co- creator Steven Zaillian shitting seamlessly irom involving iamily drama to Gothic weirdness and dark, oiibeat humour. This proved too unusual and disturbing ior American audiences, but it deserves to iind a more appreciative iollowing here. (lllgel Floyd)
I Jack The Bear (12) (Marshall
llershkovltz, US, 1993) [Jenny lie Vito, Robert J. Stelnmiller Jnr, Milco llughes, Gary Sinese. 101 minutes. From Fri 28; Odeons and all llGls.
I— GOP Alli) A HALF
Once you’ve spotted Police Academy producer Paul Maslansky’s name at the top oi the credits, you know you’re in ior something special. lot. The organisational genius behind iive oi the worst iilms ever has come up trumps again with Gop And A llali, the sort oi soggy programme iiller that makes you yearn ior the balmy days when kids knew their place and didn’t presume to be cinema’s most signiiicant marketing niche. Basically, Gop And A llali is Legoland construction-kit stuii. A kid (llorman ll. Golden II) is a material witness, and
to get him to testiiy the Tampa Pll indulge his TV cravings by letting him ride with McKenna (Burt Reynolds). What iollows is the Kindergarten Gop sequel that never got made - lots oi cute wisecracks, bopplng oi villains, and outwitted thickies. Reynolds’s screen persona has never really managed to sort out the diiierences between butch and kitsch, and this little number is guaranteed to have 70s addicts oi Sharkey’s Machine, Smokey and the Bandit and - best oi all - llooper reaching ior the tranqs.
Gop And A llali (PG) (lienry Winkler, US, 1992) Burt Reynolds, llorman Ii. Golden ll, Ruby Dee, lioliand Taylor. 97 minutes. From Fri 28, MGhls and all llGls.
AN ACTOR’S REVENGE
They say that revenge is a dish best served cold; well, this one has been in the ireezer ior 30 years, and it’s not quite thawed out yet. lion lchikawa’s 1962 movie, now released in a pristine new print, was itseli a remake oi a 1930s melodrama, which also starred Kazuo ilasegawa in the dual roles oi a kabuki iemale impersonator and the min llood-llke thlei who beiriends
lchikawa uses the Scope lramlng magniiicently, but the simple story takes iorever to unravel, the acting is unbearably camp, and the accompanying music is the kind that even a Ilit to the tacklest cocktail bar would reject. A mish-mash oi styles, with the director often sending up material that is already overdone, it nevertheless is a curiosity piece that is wonderiul to look at. But I can’t help thinking there are thousands oi Wm titles ripe ior restoration. An Actor’s Revenge (PG) (Kon lchﬁrawa, Japan, 1962) Kazuo llasegawa, Fullko Tana-note, Ayako Wtao. 113 mins. From Sun 30: Edinburgh Filmhouse.
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The List 2] May—3 June l99317