Six years on from Wings of Desire and Wenders returns to Berlin for another flit with the angels through the thoughts and hopes of Berliners. Were he a Hollywood director this would be

From Spanish sleaze to Disney purity, it’s a busy start to summer. The List offers a helping hand by reviewing the new films opening

over the next fortnight.

I Fortress ( 18) in a harsh America of the future. a former Black Beret and his wife are thrown into a futuristic maximum security prison for attempting to have a second child. Stuart (Reanimator) Gordon delivers an entertaining prison-break drama with sci-fi trappings. great sets. deliciously overcooked acting and a satisfying array of fire-power. Great fun. and a dead cert on video. See preview.

I Golden Balls ( l8) Benito Gonzales has three passions: fried eggs. building skyscrapers and having sex. When he marries for money. it seems that all his dreams could come true. especially when he‘s able to see his former girlfriend on the side. A sleazy take on lust and Spain‘s nouveau riche from the director of Jamon .lamon. See feature.

I Kika ( 18) A make-up artist is involved with an American writer and his photographer son; she‘s also avoiding the attentions of her lesbian maid. whose ex-porn star brother escapes from prison and ends up at the house. Meanwhile. striding around in outlandish combat gear designed by Gaultier is Andrea Scarface. a predatory 'reality TV‘ reporter who takes a ghoulish delight in other people‘s misfortunes. It all adds up to Pedro Aliiiodovar‘s tenth feature. and his blackest mix to date of sex. death and stylish kitsch. See feature.

I lightning Jack (PG) Well. he's not Jesse James or Billy the Kid. btit Lightning Jack Kane reckons he‘s a top bank robber and the fastest gun iii the West. So. determined to get his

name in the history books.

he teams up with a mute sidekick. teaches the

youngster a thing or two. and sets out iii search of

some pretty lame adventures. The rascally charm that Paul Hogan brought to Crocodile Dundee is about all there is to recommend what is undoubtedly a feeble family comedy masquerading as a

; westeni. See preview.

I Staggered t 15)

Drugged at his stag night and dumped naked on a Scottish island. Neil

(Martin Clunes) has only a couple ofdays to get

back to London for his

wedding. Brit nasty best man and supposed best

friend Gary (Michael

Praed) has put plenty more stumbling blocks in

Neil‘s way. and it soon

becomes clear there's

more to this than just a

laddish prank. Staggered

knocks about from one

I comic set-piece to another. introducing us to

an entire rep company of regional eccentrics. from hammin hard cops to vanipirish pathologists.

; See preview. 3 I Bouiin Z ( 12) The latest

slice of Manga animation to receive a big-screen

outing also happens to be

the latest to be based on a story by ()tomo Katsuhiro. writer of the acclaimed xikira series. l'nder iliroyuki Kitakubo's direction. however. Roujin Z lacks the groundbreaking animation splendour of the Akira movie

The Japanese government has come tip with a project that tackles the problems of an aging population: a bed that will

Cook. feed. wash.

exercise. entertain and

toilet its elderly patient.

Btit a sudden malfunction brings about the

obligatory merging of flesh and technology. and

old M r Takazawa becomes the latest man-

machine to stalk

downtown Tokyo. There‘s definitely something appealing about a film that has as its hero a wrinkly. regenerated grandad.

Wings of Desire II: The Fall. But he’s

an introspective German, so we get

Faraway, So Close! in which angels

again roam Berlin, jumping at will

from one perch to the next, listening

in to a whispering soundtrack of

g secrets.

Cassiel (Sander) is the angel who,

i tired of his role in paradise where

Gorbachev, Peter Falk and tau Reed

3 are among the strangers whom he

i listens in on, wants to experience the

concrete reality of life. By altering the

t course of the real world he is catapulted into existence and comes

i to know tastes and pleasures as well

f as sadness, destitution and

: hopelessness.

; Up to this point the film is an

1 elegant, witty and poignant look at

g post-Wall Berlin in which Wenders’

ability to wield great elliptical slices

( of celluloid in search of philosophical

; truth is never in doubt. But he changes

Q gear and takes the film into pseudo-

Faraway, So Diesel: ‘mornents of pure genius' thriller mode with a stupid gun- running plot, which attempts to give the film a stronger narrative drift but merely clouds the issue.

Recipient of both a Grand Jury Prize and a loud booing from the press at Cannes last year, Faraway, So Close! is let down shockingly by Wenders’ inability to create clear narrative. There are moments of pure genius, some excellent performances and jaw- droppineg beautiful cinematography, but for overall brilliance, it’s not close, its faraway. (Thorn Dibdin) Faraway, So Close! (15) (Wim Wenders, Ger, 1993) Otto Sander, llastassja tliinslri, Bruno Ganz.145 mins. From Fri 3 1. Edinburgh: Cameo.


is .\

Kim Basinger beats Ali McGraw into the ground as a sexy screen heroine

' but, in a square-go, I reckon Alec Baldwin’s Doc McCoy wouldn’t last five minutes with Steve McDueen’s. Inevitable comparisons will be made between The Getaway (1994) and The Getaway (1972, just released on sell-

' through by Warner Home Video), with the tough and moody original coming out on top; but the main question to ask is, who in Hollywood thought that

,- Walter llill’s reworking of his script (based on Jim Thompson’s novel)

would work better in the hands of

g director Roger Donaldson than hard-

bitten action maestro Sam Peckinpah?

1 Granted, this story about a bank-

I robbing couple, who keep one step ahead of a revenge-fuelled

? accomplice and a double-crossed

; gang boss, always had an edge because the McCoys are a married couple, not just a boy and a girl and a

The Getaway: ‘competent enough star vehicle' gun on the run. Add to this the fact that Basinger and Baldwin are 5 themselves Tinseltown stellar 7 spouses, and there’s a neatness to the ? package that will grab studio execs ; but probably not their audiences.

Basinger manages to shrug off the , dead weight of a couple of recent 5 stifts, but each time she and hubby

are on screen, you’re crying out for the attention to shift to the fascinating sub-plot following arcth seductive baddie Michael Madsen and T his batty but willing hostage Jennifer Tilly, as the quartet head for a showdown. A competent enough star . vehicle, but there’s nothing here to i threaten the original’s classic status. (Alan Morrison) J The Getaway (18) (linger Donaldson, E US, 1994) Kim Basinger, Alec Baldwin, Micheal Madsen. 115 mins. From Fri 1. i General release.


lleedtul Things: “exceptional cast’

One approaches each new Stephen King adaptation with trepidation, hoping for another Misery but fearing a repeat of Maximum Overdrive. This is better than most. mainly because an exceptional cast adds weight to its simple storyline about a mysterious stranger. Leland Gaunt (Max Von Sydow), who opens an antiques shop in Castle Rock and. by tapping into the inhabitants‘ acquisitive desires. sets them at each other's throats.

ln Gaunt’s shop, Needful Things are not only curios. but also special items coveted by individuals: a rare baseball card, a beautiful necklace. a children's race-track game. No cash payment is required. but in exchange for each coveted object, Gaunt demands a small service. usually a malicious prank. However. as the victims of these pranks suspect not the actual perpetrator

but another person against

whom they already have a private vendetta. a spiral

; of revenge ensues.

As director Fraser C.

Heston has observed.

= there are no supernatural

beings here, the only

monster is avarice. The

script by W.C. Richter (Buckaroo Banzai) is all the more effective for this. although the climactic pyrotechnics don‘t hurt any. ln plot terms. this is simply one of those old

EC Comics morality tales

in which greedy people

j finally get their

comeuppance; but Heston has a strong eye for visual

detail and wide-screen

composition, elements

that will only be seen to their best advantage on

the big screen. (Nigel Floyd)

Needful Things ( [5) (Fraser C. Heston, US. [993) Ed Harris, Mar Von

Svdoii; Bonnie Bede/in.

120 mins. Possible Fri 8


Sponsored by BACARDI BLACK

26 The List l—l4July I994