I The Aristocats (U) There's a Disney re- release hitting the cinemas. so it must be school holiday time. Easter 1994 sees the return of O‘Malley the alley cat. as he woos upper-class feline Duchess against the backdrop of tum-of—the- century Paris. The music. often unfairly dismissed in favour of other Disney ditties. is good. particularly the jazzy street cat band fronted by Scat Cat (voiced by Scatman Crothers) and the Maurice Chevalier title song. I Beethoven’s 2nd (U) Time for some puppy power. as cinema‘s favourite St Bernard gets it together with Missy (distinguished by the bow in her hair) and causes more headaches for the Newton family. The problem is that Missy is involved in a tug-of-love- and-money situation between her master and his ex-wife. whose anti- canine sentiments make her a poor man's Cruella De Ville. But. hey. troo luv will win the day. whether you get around on four legs or two. Unfortunately. it‘s not enough just to have the audience barf at the cuteness of it all; the filmmakers are determined to rub our noses in it. Needless to say. however. small kids and people who smile at Andrex adverts will satisfy their sweet tooth


I Hal Hartley Shorts ( 15) Just released on video. and featured last issue with a Hal Hartley interview. his 1991 trio Ambition, Theory Of Achievement and Surviving Desire find the idiosyncratic American filmmaker developing his work in the shorter format. A GFT special focus on Hartley‘s work comes at the end of April. but this Filmhouse


Easter is upon us, and in the cinemas, it’s raining cats and dogs. And nuns. The List gets back in the

habit of reviewing the new films opening in Scotland this fortnight.

screening gives the shorts their first Scottish big- screen airing.

I The Music Of Chance

( 15) Divorced from his

, wife and separated from

his daughter. former fireman Nashe (Mandy Patinkin) picks up professional gambler Pozzi (James Spader) but manages to lose his worldly belongings backing his new friend in a poker game. Such is the set-up for what suddenly

3 becomes a fascinating

dual character study. as this distinctly odd couple are tnade to pay off their debt by the pointless exercise of building a wall. ‘a monument to itself‘. Spader with dyed greasy hair. moustache and goatee has a sparky nihilism that plays against Patinkin's coolly detached enigma. Funny in an independently dead-pan manner. with some wonderful playing and character insight. See preview.

I Short Cuts ( 18) Long. but absorbineg entertaining. Robert Altman‘s latest harks back to the patchwork-quilt approach be utilised in the likes of Nashville.

5 Shifting Raymond Carver‘s short stories to l.os Angeles. he slowly

builds a picture of a fractured city tottering on the edge of social and geological faults. filled with fascinating

; characters whose lives

loosely interlink in a

mundane. but somehow

inevitable way. These people exist at the top and bottom of the social ladder. but no one is more happy or sad than anyone else.

Stories come to the surface for a while. then slip back. to be picked up later. once other excerpts have played out: in other words, it‘s like a long. extremely well acted. perfectly constructed soap opera and that‘s by no means a criticism. (AM)


First things first: this is not another serial killer movie. It’s a compelling l four-handed character piece that unsettles the audience as much I through one character’s fascination with the minds of murderers as another’s propensity for extreme and l sudden violence. Like few of its : fellows in this bloodied field,

Kalifornia manages to bring intelligence to ghoulish allure, driving its narrative through twists in characterisation rather than genre ; cliche - although not stopping short at '

smashing a shovel in the baddie’s face I, when necessary.

a petrol bills on a fact-finding road trip . for his sites-of-serial-killlngs thesis, ' Brian (David Duchovny) picks up white

Adele (Juliette lewis), to the initial

Hoping for someone to share the

trash rejects Early (Brad Pitt) and

. chagrin of his photographer girlfriend . Carrie (Michelle Forbes). As the

journey progresses, each individual is

affected in some way by the others, to the extent that character traits are

passed around like a bad cold. Most tellingly, Adele attachs herself to the suave and arty Carrie despite her

3 under-educated loyalty to Early, while

Brian is increasingly seduced by the charismatic but extremely volatile Early - the perfect test case for his graduate paper.



The acting is excellent all round:

lewis does a familiar turn, but this

time her imitation of a slow-thinking woman-child fits perfectly; Duchovny f and Forbes provide different points on l a bridge between the audience and a 1 growing perception of what makes a

killer tick; and Pitt, hiding his clean- cut good looks behind a layer of dirt and grease, is believath frightening as a young ex-con going way over the edge. Think of this as a musical quartet, with eerie discords creeping

in before the full orchestra hits a blast

for the finale. (Alan Morrison) Kalifornia (18) (Dominic Sena, US, 1993) Brad Pitt, Juliette lewis, David Duchovny, Michelle Forbes. 118 mins.

From Fri 1. Edinburgh: Filmhouse, UCI.

Strathclyde: UCls.

‘Iike few of its fellows in this bloodied field, Kalifornia manages to bring intelligence to ghoulish allure’


After the original movie became a ‘surprise’ smash (ie, it was a load of old tosh that even the studio expected

: to slither down the tubes), Whoopi

Goldberg was signed on a squillion dollar contract to do the sequel, but after several thousand drafts, this was all that Hollywood’s highest paid back writers could come up with.

Here, we see her Whoopiness tempted back from the bright lights of Las Vegas by her former Sisters to help Mother Superior (Maggie Smith) and co in their latest arduous task, knocking some education into the underprivileged youngsters at one of San Francisco’s toughest high schools. Heinstalled as Sister Mary Clarence and settling into her new gig, our heroine soon realises the seriousness of the situation: unscrupulous administrator James

Coburn and dithering headmaster . Barnard Hughes look set to close the

whole place down - unless, that is, Whoopi can transform her rap-crazed class of teenage miscreants into a musical force capable of winning the all-state choral competition.

All this would make one of 1955’s best films, if only it was even remotely well put together. Bill (Deep Cover) Duke is a hip and talented moviemaker, but this is chequebook cinema at its worst. Alas, and predictably, Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit churns out the requisite slew of musical numbers - see the nuns do ‘Get Up foa That Thing’, ‘Ball Df Confusion’, etc - while throwing in an economy pack of social concern and

an autopilot star performance, but it just forgets about the jokes. Yes,

5 jokes: as In ‘humour’, as in ‘comedy’, as in ‘laughter’. This lasts a testing

107 minutes, dear reader, and l chuckled a grand total of once.

? Consider those odds before you plan

your Saturday night. (Trevor Johnston)

' Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit (PG)

(Dill Duke, US, 1993) Whoopl Goldberg,

Kathy Hajimy, Maggie Smith. 107 mins. , From Fri 25. General release.

sponsored by BACARDl BLACK

‘after several thousand drafts, this was all that Hollywood’s highest paid back writers could come up with’

12 The List 25 March-7 April I994