I Born Yesterday When the world remembers those classic on-screen pairings of real-life spouses ()livier and

As Scottish producers scramble to team up Sly Stallone and Muriel Gray for Cli‘fflzanger 2: The Monmes. The List contents itself with reviews of the films opening this fortnight in Scotland.

Leigh. Bogart and Bacall ~ rest assured that Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson will not be on the list. This time she's flung into the dumb blonde category. a decoration on the arm of scrap metal dealer John Goodman. who‘s supposed to help his political career with her looks. but keeps putting her stilettoed foot in her mouth. ln comes Johnson as a reporter who‘s hired to teach her social graces. The fact that there have been no press shows for this movie does not bode well. If you want some Goodman. see Matinee instead.

I Boxing Helena An emotionally unbalanced doctor finds himself looking after the object of his desires when she is hit by a car and has her legs amputated. Hiding her in his house. he tries to win her affection. dismembering her further but failing to transform her physical dependency into emotional need for him. Julian Sands is typically wooden as the doctor. while Sherilyn Fenn is surprisingly good as the woman made into an object of art and placed. literally. on a pedestal. Jennifer Chambers Lynch's debut shows some of the faults of a first-time director -—

the themes and ideas are there. but just aren't fully realised on screen. See feature.

I Cliffhanger Sylvester Stallone climbs back to the top with a cracking action movie set on craggy rockfaces and mountain peaks. A mountain rescue pro with a shadow in his past. he is pitted against John Lithgow (currently carving himself a career as a classic screen villain) and a bunch of other baddies. way up in the highest hills of Colorado. Director Renny Harlin balances the action scenes perfectly. with stunning photography and stunt scenes to match. (AM)

I The Party About as

far from Hollywood as you could hope to get. Cynthia Beatt's black and white film starring Tilda Swinton is the kind of subtle and enigmatic study that makes Orlando look crassly commercial. Like that recent release. Swinton‘s placid presence dominates The Party as


she plays Queenie. the chic young hostess of an arty cosmopolitan house party. meandering from guest to guest. picking up snatches of intense or pretentious conversation. drifting round the piano player. flirting. mingling. stirring. Recalled as if from a drunken haze. the

film has no story beyond

the fact that the party is a way for Queenie to resolve an argument with her husband. but creates the sense that the evening is an opportunity for the guests to give vent to the thoughts. feelings and

emotions that are held

back by the pressures of daily life. The charm of the film is its low-key. almost somnambulistic air. a quality that if you‘re

- looking for action and . adventure will certainly

disappoint. but ifyou‘re in the mood for downbeat. atmospheric non- mainstream cinema. The Party will intrigue. (MFF)

14 The List 18 June—l July 1993


This lightweight comedy from Gremlins director Joe Dante is an affectionate tribute to the larger-than- life antics of schlock filmmaker William Castle, creator of low-budget gems like The House On Haunted Hill (during which the skeletons flew out

of the screen) and The Tingler (with its . specially wired ‘shock’ seats). ' Recalling the innocent dreams and

nuclear nightmares of the early 60s,

this ‘coming-of-age’ tale is set at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, during which the usual teenagers

discover the opposite sex, learn about

life, and realise that the nuclear apocalypse they’ve seen in dozens of

‘B’ grade sci-fi movies might also be a

terrifying reality. John Goodman is so good as the

bluff, likeable showman who comes to

a small Florida town with his new picture, Mant (‘Half Man. Half Ant. All Terrorl’) that he tends to overshadow Cathy Moriaty, who is nevertheless

excellent as the glamorous but cynical

star of his outrageously bad monster pics. Dante takes a little too long to get us into the auditorium, but once Mant starts and the nuclear crisis outside impinges on the fantasy world within, Matinee gradually becomes darker and more interesting. With its

sharp humour and clever in-iokes, this is a must for sci-ti and horror fans, but

the gently humorous tone and sly sideswipes at complacent suburban Americans should also appeal to a wider audience. (Higel Floyd)

Matinee (PG) (Joe Dante, US, 1993) John Goodman, Cathy Moriarty, Simon

Fenton. 99 mins. From Fri 18. Glasgow:

MGM Parkhead. Edinburgh: Ddeon, UCI. Strathclyde: UCI Clydebank.


Bewildered human beings have been visited by aliens several times over the cinematic decades. When it’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, it’s easy to get caught up in the optimistic wonder of it all; when it’s something like Communion, and there’s that catalytic tagline for the sceptic - ‘based on a true story’ then the audience can often feel like it has been forced to read National Enquirer and treat the tabloid print like gospel.

Fire In The Sky tells the ‘true story’ of Arizona logger Travis Walton who, in November 1975, disappeared after wandering off from his goggle-eyed workmates to look at a hovering flying saucer. When he is finally found five days later - naked, in shock, suffering

flashbacks - he remembers the

claustrophobic interior of the ship and the extra-terrestrial mad scientists who wanted to experiment upon him.

as; e

Fire in the Sky: ‘decent enough sci-ti adventure'

When Fire In The Sky restricts itself to the reaction of Walton’s neighbours to his disappearance, their desire to lynch the apparent ‘murderers’ and the subsequent trauma suffered by surviving witnesses, then it is tense and interesting. However, the real Walton claims only to have fuzzy memories about his experiences when abducted, and this certainly puts extreme pressure on the credibility of the entire prolect. So when that line ‘based on a true story’ comes up in the credits, just close your eyes and ignore it. Suitably distanced from claims of ‘reallty’, this is a decent enough science fiction adventure. (Alan Morrison)

Fire in the Sky (15) (Robert Liebennann, US, 1993) D.B. Sweeney, Robert Patrick, Craig Sheffer. 110 mins. From Fri 18. Glasgow: MGMs.

, Fife: Robins. All DCls.

The Dx: ‘more profound than depressing’

; The directing debut of

l Sven Nykvist (one of the

handful of well-known cinematographers following his long

, partnership with lngmar Bergman and. more recently. with Woody

l Allen). The ().r is in many

! ways as dour and sombre

; a story as its title suggests.

it‘s set amongst a starving community of Swedish farmers. in the middle of the 19th century. where emigration is the only practical alternative to death.

This bleak backdrop is

7 the ideal canvas fora

.1 straightforwardly Swedish morality tale: Helge (Stellan Skarsgard). at his wits' end to provide for his wife and child. secretly slaughters his rich neighbour's ox for food. Local clergyman Max Von Sydow is the moral conscience of the community. exhoning the criminal to turn himself in; and when the winter is over. Helge does so. only to find himself transported to a hard-labour camp.

What follows is the

unsurprising aftermath of recrimination. desperation and redemption. as Elfrida (Eva f‘roling) is forced to cope alone. Nykvist. as you might expect. attends scrupulously to all details. from frosted period

reconstruction to blue-

tinted grime in the prison gravel pits. The narrative is solidly. rather than

' spectacularly. constructed:

similar in tone to Bille Andersen‘s The Best Intentions in its mix of moral dilemmas and costume drama.

Yet The 0.x"s very directness means that the film is a rewarding view. The skill with which Nykvist evokes the decaying rural life (as villagers leave for America). impassioned performances from the central actors and Nykvist’s surefootedness in knowing that the time is right to make a solo bow. add up to a rather more profound than depressing movie. (Andrew Pulver)

The 0x ( I 2) (Sven Nykvist. Sweden. [992)

- Max Van Syrian; Liv I Ullman, Stellan

Skarsgard. 92 mins. I-‘mm

Thurs 24. Glas‘gow: 01-7: