Could Keanu manage Smph far less 50mph in a bus along the Princes Street tourist traffic?
Anything’s possible as The List
reviews the new film’s opening
I City Slickers ll ( 12) With less emphasis on all- American. urban. mid-life crises. this follow-up to the surprisingly successful original hits the fatnin entertainment nail more squarely on the head. Subtitled The Legend Of Curly 's (Io/(l. it‘s also much more fun in terms of a traditional Western romp. ()nce again. the New York opening drags on a little too long. but pretty soon we're off on a wish-fulfilment. boys' own adventure as middle- aged Mitch (Billy Crystal) pushes aside thoughts of his 40th birthday and Phil (Daniel Stern) comes to terms with his divorce by setting off in search of gold hinted at in a map hidden in the late Curly’s hat.
Ever since his last trip out west. Mitch has been convinced. through a set
ofclichéd nightmares. that he buried the old cowboy alive. and so he's convinced he’s seen a ghost when Curly‘s twin brother. Duke (a reappearance by a grizzly Jack Palance). also turns tip on the treasure-hunting trail. ()nce they’re saddled up. the characters are all
developed beyond the confines of the original.
with an additional sub-
) plot concerning Mitch‘s ‘ prickly relationship with his brother Glen (Joli
Lovitz). Cue that typical Crystal blend of genuinely fttnny one-liners — ‘1 can't
believe you two are from ' the same gene pool.‘
‘lle’s from the shallow end.‘ — and yucky. sentimental. character- strengthening resolutions. lindearingly manipulative. but comfortable and fun in an undemanding way. See preview.
16 The List 23 September-6 ()ctober I‘M-'1
I Speed ( 15 ) There are movies where characters really matter. where we care about their motivations and the consequences of their actions. And then there are white-knuckle adrenalin rides that only aim to please. Speed freefalls without a parachute into the latter category. but it‘s more than a simple thrills 'n' spills rollercoaster ride —-
it's the fastest. tnost finely
tuned fairground attraction of the year.
l.os Angeles SWAT man Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) really has to earn his pay cheque when he comes up against mad bomber Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) in three extended set-pieces. First there's the Die Hard style tower block siege; then. in the film’s stand-out action sequence. on a bus hurtling down the freeway. set to explode if it drops below 50mph: and. finally. in the construction hell of LA's as-yet-unfinished subway. Keanu does what he's best at (running around. sweating and looking good with his muscles beefed up); Dennis does what he‘s best at (acting the trademark psycho); and debut director takes what he's best at (shooting state—of-the-art action scenes) and creates a movie that will leave you on a high for days afterwards. See feature.
I Weekend At Bernie’s 2 (PG) Well. we knew Andrew McCarthy‘s career was going down the tubes when he did the original; the fact that he‘s come back for the sequel says a lot. Also back are
Jonathan Silverman as his equally yuppie buddy and Terry Kiser as their deceased boss. Twice a corpse‘.’ Must be smelling as back as this whole black comedy bundle.
' the key players to come to the fore within a concentrated timetrame,
. credit that his movie is paced in such
; facts emerge naturally from the dialogue without resorting to dull ' history lesson techniques. Gettysburg
‘ accept that the casualties were heavy ' and sympathise when best friends who i once fought together find themselves
music of Randy Edelman, tries to ' convince us that both sides fought ' with a genuinely heartfelt purpose.
while this might make the film most
obsession with the bovine beast,
; between the officers’ names might at 3 first be awed by the number in the
cast, often indistinguishable behind
i over-zealous facial hair. It is, however,
K- I losrrvsauno
1 With a running time of around four and l a half hours, you might be forgiven for l thinking that the entire American Civil
. War was fought in a shorter space of l time. The length may approach a
; marathon, but the focus of the film is
: actually very precise: the three days
i of fighting around the Pennsylvanian
! town of Gettysburg, during the third
3 summer of the five year ‘War Between 2 The States’. Historically, it was
3 significant as the single event that
; took the wind from the sails of the
Confederate cause; artistically, it
allows the personalities and beliefs of
while setting the glories of great victory directly alongside the slaughter of defeat.
Those unschooled in the distinctions
I; 1% I L. i 3 I793 : "
i agreeable to spotty wargamers, it i does draw the audience into the fray of the action by allowing us to understand how - as well as why —
these tactical moves matter. In this way, the issues behind the bangs and t bullets begin to be appreciated on an
to writer/director Ronald F. Maxwell’s
a way that characters and important I The actors (only one line in the whole i thing is assigned to a woman) are ) uniformly excellent: Martin Sheen
is by no means an anti-war movie: we l brings respect to Robert E. lee, a
l in his portrayal of John Buford; and
l Jeff Daniels is magnificent as an honorable, red-eyed, somewhat
i idealistic Joshua Chamberlain. (Alan : Morrison)
(Gettysburg (PG) (Ronald F. Maxwell,
on opposing sides, but the philosophising from general to common soldier, set to the stirring
Much time is spent analysing the l Jeff Daniels. 259 mins. From Fri 23.
field before battle commences and, 'Glasgow: MGM Film Centre (70mm). 3 Edinburgh: UCI.
THE RED SQUIRREL
In complete contrast to the prevailing image of Spanish cinema - as purveyed by Pedro Almodovar, Bigas Luna, Ana Belen, etc - Julio Medem’s debut, Vacas, was as elliptical an art movie as could be imagined: a 60-year saga of one Basque family’s oddball
which owed much more to the inscrutable filmmaking school of Victor Erice (Spirit Of The Beehive, The Quince Tree Sun).
The Red Squirrel, on the other hand, is something of a lurch towards the conventional. By no means can it be described as a compromise with the hysterical sex farces that are the dominant Spanish genre, but there are some common elements - mostly in the character of the lead male, Jota (llancho llovo), an ex-rock star who decides to lie his way into the life of a doe-eyed amnesiac (played by the charismatic Emma Suarez), who interrupts his suicide bid by crashing her bike in front of him.
What Medem creates, though, is a complex melodrama about deceit, betrayal and - hey! - the meaning of love, which is shot through with glimpses of the kind of angled symbolism that were stuffed wholesale into Vacas. The animal theme is there again - the squirrel represents a kind of playful spirit of
subversion, explicitly connected with the mysterious amnesiac, whose unravelling life story provides the main source of dramatic tension. Medem’s second film is obviously accomplished, but suffers somewhat from its narrowing of scope (from the lush landscapes of Vacas to a lakeside campsite, itself named The Red Squirrel). But it remains a teasing and fun parable, a clever blend of psychodrama and thriller, which bodes well for Medem’s future output. (Andrew Pulver) The Red Squirrel (18) (Julio Medem, Spain, 1993) Emma Suarez, Nancho llova, Maria Barranco. 114 mins. Subtitles. From Fri 30: Edinburgh
Filmhouse. From Fri 7: Glasgow Film
‘ US, 1993) Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger,
l intellectual as well as emotional level. ‘
l general who is clearly no longer at his , sharpest; Sam Elliot has a spark of fire
my! .15" / fr , ,
1‘ t‘ .’ r:
‘paced in such a way that characters and important facts emerge naturally from the dialogue without resorting to dull history lesson techniques’
.1 “’4? .4174} 1 4.574%
‘a complex melodrama about deceit, betrayal and - hey! - the meaning of love, which is shot through with glimpses of angled symbolism’