I Dennis: (PG) He's blond. he‘s cute. he‘s American. his dog isn‘t a ﬁuffball with teeth. At least the stripey jumper remains the same. But. then again. the Dennis of the US cartoon strip never was related to The Beana's arch-menace. With John Hughes on the production credits. you can expect sotne sort of
Home Alone variation; and sure enough. when [)ennis‘s folks go off on business. the mischievous little brat is left in the hands of his elderly neighbours. 'l‘hankfully. they're played by Walter Matthau and Joan Plowright. so this cinema
trip isn’t a complete waste action star admits plenty of knowing
E- __ K 3 CK- . I Just Another Girl on the II": ( l8) ‘The ﬁltn Hollywood dared not do’ says the closing tag-line of Leslie Hatris’s debut feature. which looks at the life and traumas of one Brooklyn fly-girl. much given to riding the subway. So what is it that makes this — the ﬁrst ‘major‘ feature by an African-American woman - such hot stuff‘.’ Just Attat/ter (itrl opens brightly enough. with a freewheeling jazzy style. well suited to the brassiness of its subject: homegirl Chantel (Ariyan Johnson) who chats to buddy Natete (Ebony Jerido) or the camera with equal ease.
The director gets her points across quickly and efﬁciently — that New York‘s shrieking teens deserve as much respect as anyone else. and that being black and a woman has its own special style (and problems). Thus. Chantel has to fend off her two younger brothers while juggling the affections of smoothie
Tyrone and plonker Cedrick. And. just around the corner. real life lies waiting in ambush.
What. however. isn't so neatly handled are the ﬁlm‘s moral dimensions: Chantel‘s classroom protests (apart from being a tasteless stab at Jewish sacred cows) are a blunderingly didactic device. and when the narrative halfway through becomes urban tragic in style. its impact is blunted by the soapish clumsiness of the dialogue. Like the equally dogmatic Straight ()ut ()flinmklvn and the upcoming Ruby In Paradise. this was a prizewinner at the Sundance Film Festival. where moral sophistication is evidently not a prized commodity. What's telling. though. is that even the Bomb Squad-produced soundtrack. mixing girl rappers with deep soul. can‘t avoid becoming wearisome. Maybe Hollywood was right. (Andrew Pulver)
a MAD ooo AND GLORY ~
lAST ACTION HERO
I Arnold Schwarzenegger is, well, Big Arnie himself, in this feisty parody of his usual all-action heroics. It’s a 1 simple conceit: young Danny (Austin i O’Brien) gets a magical movie ticket : which catapults him out of his seat 1 and onto the screen, mixing real and ‘ fictional characters. On screen Jack 1 Slater (Arnie) is wiping the floor with ‘ ‘ the villains in a movie-land where ' anything is real, bullets cause flesh 7 wounds and only minor characters and ; . baddies die. But when the dastardly l Benedict (Charles Dance) gets hold of
the ticket and returns to the real
a world, real people die, and the kid and
the film fails to go the whole hog. Why
3 the hero follow to retrieve said ticket
and save humankind. not cast Culkin as the kid and - s
' The self-referential circuitousness of Hickman as the baddy. O’Brien and 0f Anne 8 "593'
I having Arnie play Arnie playing an Dance perform adequately, but are all'acuon simply not kiddish or dastardly
. . heroics’ 3 nods to all sorts of genres while the ,
; movie dances from one level of reality
l to another. But action movies in
; general, and Arnie’s movies in
. particular, come in for most of the quips. This could have been either a very clever low-budget debut or the blockbuster it is: no other living actor
, is big enough to play the hero unless
1 they had been an unknown. However,
5 K— i
enough. Even the ‘don’t do this at home kids’ caring message is fluffed by underplaying the horror of reality. Worth seeing, if only to wonder where Arnie goes from here. (Thom llibdin) Last Action Hero (15) (John McTiernan, US, 1993) Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austin O’Brien, Charles Dance, Anthony Quinn. From Fri 30. General release.
‘ \J ‘2 j II, E : g I ‘. ‘._. 3‘ y . . -.
‘ 0n the surface, the plot of John
(Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer)
. McHaughton's first mainstream
Hollywood movie is a familiar one: cop
and gangster fight over a beautiful
‘ girl. Having stumbled upon a convenience store robbery and saved the life of loan shark Frank Milo (Bill Murray), Chicago crime scene analyst
Wayne (Robert De Hiro) is ‘given’
gorgeous young barmaid Glory (Uma
Thurman) as a reward - for one week only. lnevitably, Wayne falls for Glory, . so when the week is up, he is forced t to decide whether to give her up or fight for her. For Wayne - whose ironic ' nickname ‘Mad Dog’ completely belies his gentle, unassuming manner - the phrase ‘no guts, no glory’ suddenly takes on a new meaning.
With a script by flew York writer Richard (Color of Money) Price, a Chicago setting, two major actors cast against type, a fairytale Hollywood scenario and some painterly lighting and camerawork by Dutch-born
cinematographer Hobby Muller (best known for his work on Wim Wenders films), this uncategorisable, mix-and-
match movie breaks all the rules. This
: may be a nightmare for the marketing
‘ people, but it’s also what lends the
.film its distinctive quality. Some may
find the shifts of tone a shade disconcerting, but while it is often . surprising, the overall feeling of the ms heSt work movie is, like the expertly chosen for yeaIS’ soundtrack, consistently enjoyable. As I the vulnerable Wayne, De fliro does his best work for years; comedian Murray reveals his darker side as a loan shark with teeth; and the seemingly transparent Thurman is as deceptively fragile as toughened glass. (Higel Floyd) Mad Dog And Glory (15) (John Mcllaughton, US, 1992) Robert De lliro, . Bill Murray, Uma Thurman. 97 mins. '5 . From Fri 30: Edinburgh Cameo.
‘De Hiro does i
The List 30 July ~l2 August I993 17