llo one handles genre Him-making with such chameleon-like virtuosity as Rob Rainer, be it coming-oi-age tale (Stand By Me), romantic comedy (When Harry Met Sally . . .) or horror-

’Tis the cinematic season for kids to get one up on their parents. The List spikes their popcorn and settles down to review more summer fare.

I The Custodian (15) It may have sneaked out on video last month. but this superior police corruption movie from Australia definitely deserves to be brought to your attention now the Filmhouse is giving it a limited big screen airing. Anthony LaPaglia is a good apple in a bad barrel, but his domestic traumas could be the cause of his paranoic belief that all his buddies in the force are on the take. Convinced that the only way to blow their gaff is from the inside. he sets up an intricate operation that might end with him as a sacrificial lamb.

LaPaglia is tremendous. coiled with inner tension to the poin‘t of explosion; writer-director John Dingwall pushes the claustrophobic pedal with tight close-ups on

troubled faces. A seat-edge

thriller, which becomes even more interesting with its multi-iayered

exploration of notions of _

integrity - the good cop's hard-line honour, the lntemal Affairs man's bumbling, old-fashioned dignity, the TV reporter’s naive. idealistic approach to investigative journalism. A fine movie indeed. I The Last Seduction (15) John Dahl’s polished pulp is always a joy to watch. in his latest excursion into a genre he is steadily making his own, Bridget (Linda Fiorentino) a femme more fatale than we’ve seen for a long time double crosses her hubby (Bill Pullman easing again into a put-upon role). runs off with a heap of money. and holes up in a town so small you can't shuffle sideways without stepping on someone's toes. Picking up the goofin innocent Mike (Peter Berg) in a bar. she hatches a deliciously immoral plan that will free her from her past, and pretty soon she has Mike in her

control as a sexual puppet

Ihistn't throwawa

paperback cinema. but a truly well-crafted blackly comic crime thriller. Fiorentino is magnificent as the Grade 'A‘ bitch who brings 40s noir into the greedy 90s.

I Sirens ( 15) Scandaiised by an etching that depicts a nude woman on a cross. the Sydney clergy dispatch Anthony Campion (Hugh Grant) - a curate newly arrived from England - to the home of artist Norman Lindsay in order to talk the bohemian into seeing sense. But the sensuous landscape and lifestyle on Lindsay's estate soon seduces Campion and. moreso. his timid wife Estella (Tara Fitzgerald).

The sexual repression of

the English and the emotional freedom of the Australians are exaggerated in John Duigan's period piece. which doesn‘t quite pull off its lukewarm mix of culture-clash comedy. intellectual debate and voluptuous naked bodies (including. among others. supermodel Elle MacPherson). Unlike your typical Merchant-ivory, the period costumes are less important than the manner and frequency in which they are discarded. See preview.

I Wild Target (15) A professional killer is spotted by a delivery boy as he carries out a hit but, instead of adding another body to the pile, he takes on the youngster as an apprentice. His first opportunity to watch and learn from the master in action is when the assassin is hired to kill a female thief who sold a gangster a fake painting. Cue fumblings, accidental corpses. some supposedly bad-taste comedy and self-parody. Pierre Salvadori creates an inverse world where the hitman is the most moral being. but it’s all a bit

lame. At least Guillaume '

Depardieu. as the hitman's pupil. manages to look sexier than his old man ever was.

thriller (Misery). His storytelling talents were to the tors in The Princess Bride, but they’re stretched to the limit with liorth, a very ambitious episodic comedy about a boy in search oi new parents.

liorth (Elijah Wood) is an extremely intelligent, universally popular eleven- yoar-old, whose academic and extra- curricular achievements are shadowed by the iact that his parents not only don’t appreciate him, they virtually ignore his existence. in the shopping mall one day, he takes the advice oi a laid-back Easter Bunny (Bruce Willis), and does what every kid has at some time secretly dreamed oi: ditching Mum and Dad, and travelling the world in search oi a couple who will give him the liiestyle he deserves. There’s only one catch: the judge at the court where liorth divorces his parents states that he has three months to come up with a new set, or iace iiie in an orphanage.

When liorth begins to have second thoughts, pressure is put upon him by children the world over, inspired by his devious Milky-Bar-Kid-irom-Heil schoolchum Winchell. For liorth is now a pro-pubescent messiah, and he’ll be lynched it he returns to his natural parents, thereby stripping the kids’ generation oi its new-iound power oi

emotional blackmail.

Reiner’s iiim inhabits that od American satirical world oi Hudson Hawk and The World According To Garp; that is, its quirks and extreme individuality mean it either succeeds or iails with individual viewers. What is certain is that iew other children’s movies treat their young audience with such respect. llo condescending adult head-patting here (at least not until the uniorgiveable cop-out ending), but instead a child actor who brings a knowledge and maturity beyond his years to the lead role. A continually inventive, last-moving iantasy that shows ingenious touches right up until the iinai iew minutes. (Alan Morrison) liorth (PG) (Rob Reiner, us, 1994) Elijah Wood, Jon lovitz, Bruce Willis. 87

mins. From Fri 29. General release.

‘A continually inventive, last-moving fantasy that shows ingenious touches’

_ GETTING EVEN wmr one

5 Gulkin and Benson teaming up for a

: summer movie has to reach new lows

3 in the kid-ilick-irom-heil stakes. But

having seen Beverly Hillbillies this is - by comparison, mind you a relatively soit touch ior any adult doing their duty at the Saturday matinee.

Getting Even With Dad is what you might call a hotch-potch movie, stirring elements oi caper, heist, love

istory, bonding and travelogue into something which is altogether smaller than the sum oi its parts. iianson is Ray, a small-time crook who has learned a trade while doing time, and who decides on one last victimless crime to set himseli up in the straight world as a cake decorator. But who should come along but young Mr Gulkin himseli as Ray’s estranged kid “mmy

Ray and his uniunny, bumbling partners Bobby and Carl do the job while Timmy works out what’s up, nicks the loot and blackmails Ray into taking him on a tour oi San Fransisco’s most iamous tourist spots and the obligatory iather/son bonding routine. Meanwhile, rookie cop Theresa (Glenna Headly) is working up ior a bit oi love interest as she susses the blag and persuades her boss to let her go undercover (but not under the covers) aiter the crooks.

[ Younger kids will probably love

Gulkin’s deadpan delivery straight to camera oi some oi the most cliched lines in the movie industry. Which would be iair enough ii the whole iilm did not throw away its ideas to the lowest denominator. The gags are set up well, but iall to the obvious at the punchline, which makes tor a complete waste oi both Glenna ileadly and Gailard Sartain as the overweight Carl. Sad. (Thom llibdin)

Getting Even With Bad (PG) (Howard Deutch, US, 1994) Macaulay Gulkin, Ted llanson, Glenne Headly, Saul Rubinak, Gailard Sartain. 110 mins. From Fri 5, General Release: Hills and MGMs.

.s'pmrsnred /)_\‘ BACARDI BLACK

‘The gags are set up well, but tail to the obvious at the punchflne’

24 The List 29 July-l 1 August 1994