The Poll Tax, Michael Forsth and children’s summer movies: three

the rest of the UK. The List casts its eye over the new movies opening this fortnight.

I Arthouse round-up For reviews of Equinox. Annabel/e l’urtuget', I Was On Mars, The Silent 'Iiittt‘h and Triple Bugey ()n A Par Five Hale. see previous page.

I The Assassin t 18) Virtually a scene-for- scene. shot-for-shot remake of l.uc Besson's I990 thriller Nikita. John Badham‘s US version places a heavier emphasis on the action scenes than its moody predecessor. Like Anne Parillaud before her. Bridget Fonda is perfectly cast as the fragile yet deadly teenage drug addict turned government killer. but brings tnore emotional depth to a character that was lost in the visual drive of the French original.

Comparisons will inevitably be made. with plus points being scored by both camps. Those who missed the original will enjoy a violent thriller with better twists. performances and

character sympathies than

its Hollywood peers: those who stand by a ‘l'trst-is-best' policy may be surprised that. this time at least. the translation of style from one country to another has been achieved with integrity intact. See preview.

I Savage Nights ( 18) Powerful. semi- autobiographical film by

; Cyril Collard. who died of AIDS days before it went

on to sweep the awards at the French Cesars. Jean. an lllV+ photographer. throws himself into affairs with his boyfriend and girlfriend although he knows he is carrying the virus. Confrontational in

terms of both the film‘s

subject matter and its presentation. Savage

3 Nights is a daring. at times almost documentary.

examination of the emotional complexities that living with AIDS incurs. Remarkable. and made all the more poignant by the death of the writer-director-star. See preview.

. I Tom and Jerry: The

Movie (U) First. they colourise the silent classics; then they dub those great European actors. Now. sacrilege of sacrileges. they tnake Tom and Jerry speak. Have these people no souls? ()kay. from time to time. certain compromises must be made in the name of art. but to play around with cultural icons from

r the days of our youth is

24 The List 2 l5 July l‘)‘)3

asking for trouble. The question is. after decades of sublime live-minute

bursts ofcartoon mayhem.

can the world‘s greatest cat and mouse act sustain the full motion picture formal'.’

Well. the filmmakers are onto a winner by exploiting the familiar chaos surrounding moving home and having our heroes meet a bunch of new characters while on the streets. However. even if we accept that dialogue is a necessary evil. the song-and-dance numbers take away any originalin and force '12)": um! Jerrv.’ The Movie into a corner where comparisons with Disney and other animated musicals are inevitable. It will divert the kids. certainly. but a huge legion of life-long fans face disappointment. (A

[— BENNY & Jill)"

A romantic comedy with a difference, starring Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson as a pair of ‘likeable loonies’, whose innocent love affair is threatened by Joon’s overly protective brother, Benny (Aidan Quinn). looked after by him since the road accident that killed both their parents, the traumatised Joon is cut off from everyone except her brother. But when Benny acquires his friend’s eccentric cousin, Sam, in an unorthodox poker

game, Joon realises there is more to

. things Scotland has to suffer before

life than mooning about the house and daubing child-like paintings. Drawn out by Sam’s magic tricks and funny silent comedy routines, the shrivelled Joon blossoms into a vibrant young woman. Benny, though, is both concerned and jealous, afraid not only that his sister might get hurt, but also that Sam will usurp his special place in her affections.

Skilfully capturing the weirdness of everyday life and the emotional tensions within this romantic/family triangle, director Jeremiah Ghechick observes both with a shrewd eye. Scriptwriter Bob Berman’s wacky situations and oddball dialogue, meanwhile, keep easy sentiment at bay. All of which helped the movie to become a reasonable hit in the States, simultaneously reviving the career of The Proclaimers, whose song ‘l’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ is tacked onto

the opening and closing credits (see Music Preview). More dubiously however, as in Untamed Heart, the underlying assumption is that the only sensitive male is a cerebrally- challenged chiId-man who can, literally and metaphorically, be taken


\\ .

The Trial: ‘not Kafkaesque enough' To wake up as Josef K is surely up there on anyone‘s list of worst nightmares. yet the effect ' is rather muted in this new Pinter-scripted BBC Films version of Kafka's

in hand. Also, am I alone in finding the j paranoid c".‘.ssic. At first

idea of likeable, creative, but over- sensitive mad people a shade patronising? Only when Joon loses it near the end is there any hint of the pain and confusion which besets

gsight. Kyle McLachlan

, seems inappropriately cast

a as the much put-open

minor bank official. but as

soon as he‘s arrested by the suitably grotesque duo

those with mental illness. (lllgel Floyd) Omany Hayganh and

Benny & Jean (12) (Jeremiah Chechick, US, 1993) Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn. From Fri 9. 98 mins. Glasgow: MGMs. Edinburgh: MGM. All UGls.


Q f i

Champions: ‘the lowest level of moviemaking by maubers’

Under the title The Mighty Ducks, this lame ice-hockey flick took over $50 million at the US box office last year, which, considering it cost about thruppence to make in the first place, ranked it as one of the most profitable movies of the year. And that’s really about all you need to know about the damn thing, for Stephen llerek’s film lurks at the lowest level of moviemaking by numbers. Truly, it’s the sort of no-surprises, rigidly formulised junk that only the least demanding of audiences - an amoeba convention, say - might find remoter interesting or exciting.

The plotline is sad to relate. Emilio Estevez, a waste of space as usual, is Gordon Bombay, an arrogant hotshot lawyer condemned to community service after a drunk driving conviction. In order to get back in with

his boss and confront his own traumatic past, he starts coaching a little league ice hockey team. Needless to say, he whips these misfits back Into shape, falls for one of their mums, and sees his star player go through the same stress that afflicted his own youthful puck-raking career. The sundry kids seem to have tumbled from the brat department at central casting, Jess Ackland malingers lneffectually as llans the kindly sports store owner and Emilio’s surrogate father figure, while you’ve seem more exciting rink action on Grandstand. Mighty Buck? Mighty dull is more like it. (TJ)

Champions (PG) (Stephen llerek, US, 1992) Emilio Estevez, Joss Ackland, Lane Smith. 104 mins. From Fri 2. General release.

David Thewlis. problems 3 start to pile up. Sadly. his ' distinctly dodgy English : accent and curiously - declamatory performance scupper the film from the . very opening scene by spiking the audience identification essential to its fear-haunted narrative. A cavalcade of top British thesps do. however. manage to come a up with the goods (Anthony Hopkins's weightily oppressive priest. Juliet Stevenson's evanescent neuroticism as K's enigmatic neighbour). but they only underline the feeling that what might look sturdy enough on the telly falls short of impact and inspiration on the big screen. Pinter's adaptation pits an incredulous. almost self- righteous individual against the absurdist machinations of an institutionalised (in)justice system gone mad. grounding unfolding events in authentic Prague locations and l9l2 period detail yet the result effectively boxes in the parameters of Kat‘ka‘s inspiration. As extras bustle in the streets and starched shirts rustle by. we're in the familiar realm of the BBC literary adaptation. Unlike

.Welles‘s dizzying city of

the imagination in his l963 treatment. David Jones‘s doggedly faithful run-through just doesn't seem Kaikaes'que enough. (T1)

The Trial ( l2) (David Jones. UK. 1992) Kyle

McLachlan. Jason Robards. Anthony Hopkins. l2() mins. From l Fri 9: Glasgow Film