NAKED IN NEW YORK
A few years ago, Whit Stillman wittily captured New York’s young, well-off deb scene in Metropolitan: now another writer/director makes his independent feature debut by offering up a different slice of the Big Apple. Daniel Algrant’s Naked In New York sets itself in the arts and literary milieu, dealing out a series of star cameos and ‘as themselves’ special appearances with an equal sense of awe and satire.
Jake Briggs (Eric Stoltz) is an aspiring playwright In his late twenties, determined to delve self- indulgently into the emotional turmoil of his past and have it played out in public on stage. At first his talents make him a pretty cool catch at school and college, and he ends up falling in love with the class beauty, Joanne (Mary-Louise Parker), an insecure but talented photographer in her own right. Settling into comfortable co-habitation in Boston, Jake’s writing is about to dry up,
particularly when Joanne’s career begins to take off. Now is the time, he decides, to make the move to New York and rewrite his masterpiece. The conflict between raw artistic energy and the practicalities of maturity is present not just in the characters, but in Algrant’s presentation of them. Romantic pressures will always come to a head more acutely when placed alongside careers driven by ego and the need for self-expression but, although the film slides into a familiar coming-of-age structure, it perks up with its Player- like elements. The sight of NYC luminaries Quentin Crisp, Ariel Dorfman and William Styron gives a realistic foundation for the fantasy sequences - straight-to-camera monologues and two-way conversations with animals - while the fact/fiction line is blurred by self- parodic performances from Kathleen Turner, Griffen Dunne and others. (Patricia Wilson) Naked In New York (15) (Daniel Algrant, US, 1993) Eric Stoltz, Mary- Louise Parker, Tony Curtis. 93 mins. From Fri 30: Edinburgh Filmhouse.
Naked In New York: ‘Player-Iike elements’
The Innocent: ‘Cold War thriller'
I _ ﬁTHEINNDCENT
lan McEwan’s novels seem, ? inexplicably perhaps, to be hot movie 3 properties - after last year’s I adaptation of Andrew Birkin’s The I Cement Garden and, further back, Paul Schrader’s rendering of The Comfort r 0f Strangers. Converser though, I there’s little agreement on how to t ‘ approach the things, with Schrader’s I lush bore-athon in complete contrast to Birkin’s smelly, ambiguous offering. ; accomplishment to make up the gap, I John Schlesinger opts for the Cold ; War thriller, appropriately enough , since the tale is set in Berlin in 1955. E Campbell Scott is the innocent of the I title, an electronics ace seconded to ' Pulvefl I the Americans, who falls in love with a l German woman (Isabella Rossellini) ' whose husband works for the other side. When she murders her alcoholic ' spouse, Scott has no choice but to get involved in helping her dispose of the
McEwan’s typically minute
description is the book’s tour de force
I — to replicate that would have sent The Innocent down the road to Video Nasty Land, so Schlesinger
I considerately refrains from too much
is, deprived of his gross set-pieces,
there’s almost nothing to a McEwan
novel other than the retelling of a
weary narrative. Schlesinger doesn’t , seem to possess the cinematic
and what you get is a movie that would like to be Casablanca crossed
: with The Third Man, but is depressineg unlike either. (Andrew
The Innocent (18) (John Schlesinger, UK/US/Germany, 1993) Campbell Scott, Isabella Rossellini, Anthony Hopkins. 120 mins. From Fri 30: Glasgow Film Theatre. From Mon 17 Oct: Edinburgh Filmhouse.
slaughterhouse gore. The only problem
WOODSTOCK: THE DIRECTOR’S OUT
Is there something amiss when the world’s greatest semi-spontaneous example of love, peace and togetherness is repackaged and remarketed with a simultaneous video sell-through release? That apart, the six-track spectral digital sound and busy split-screen montage does deserve to be enjoyed in the cinema, while some additional footage - Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane are in, with more Hendrix and Canned Heat for your money - is more worthy than certain original numbers. Some may wallow In remembrance, younger viewers may appreciate the revival; but for others, there will always be something significant about Jimi Hendrix deconstructing ‘The Star- Spangled Banner’ to an ever-depleting crowd. (AM)
Woodstock: The Director’s Cut (15) (Michael Wadleigh, US, 1970/94) 224 mins. From Fri 30: GF T
I! 39‘ 1.,
Woodstock: The Director’s Cut: “wallow in remembrance’
Brainscan: ‘hi-tech nightmare’
The great thrill of the horror movie is the
I experience. the rush of adrenalin that sweeps
round the room. Willi more and tnore genre movies being pushed into the video ghetto. this is no longer a shared sensation: just you. a cassette and a TV screen. Next stage will be where interactive CID-ROM games meet feature films — here the aim is for a personalised experience that is ‘more real than reality'. And you can be sure that. once the technology is available. slasher and porno virtual realities will be the ﬁrst to ﬂood the underground market.
Bruinstwi taps into fear of the former. as sixteen- year-old Michael (Edward Furlong) sends off for the latest state-of—tiie-art terror toy. He puts in the disc. settles down and ‘enjoys‘ ﬁrst-hand a brutal murder with himself as the killer. But. back in the real world, the event has really happened. and Michael linds himself being sucked into a hi- tcch nightmare as he must enter subsequent stages of the game to cover his tracks.
Interesting ethical arguments are casually tossed around. while a snake-faced. punkish demon acts as our latest Freddie successor and a child-hero is supposed to win the sympathies of an adult-only audience. Great I idea. poor on-screen I realisation. And beware: if 3 ‘it was only a dream' is Public Enemy No] in 1 terms of cop-out endings. I ‘it was only a game' is I just its new technology Il equivalent. (Alan I Morrison) BI'UIIINt‘U/I (/8) (Jo/m l-‘lwm, US, I‘M-l) lz‘rlii'urr/ Fur/wile, l’runk [Angel/u. 'l: Ruler Smith. l’mm Fri 23. lz‘t/I'II/Hll't'lli UCI.
I .S'II'uI/n'li't/t': U(‘/ l Clix/chunk.
The List 23 September—6 ()ctober I994 17