Let’s see the Tory right-wingers pick on Arnold Schwarzenegger as a single mum, then. The List suspends disbelief and reviews the new films opening over the next fortnight.
I Clean, Shaven (18) Despite all the hype. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer never really did get into the mind of its subject as it had promised. Lodge Kerrigan’s debut feature. however. achieves what is probably the closest screen approximation to schizophrenia ever seen. Using a carefully structured soundtrack of alienating voices and noises. Kem’gan allows the audience to truly appreciate the dreadful anxiety that is the schizophrenic’s daily life. Within this brilliantly effective compendium of experimental techniques are the bare bones of a detective story. as the disturbed Peter searches for his estranged daughter. tailed by a man who believes his prey is a murderer. Several scenes — head and fingernail gouging — are graphically realised but have their justification in the illness under examination. A genuine short. sharp shock. See preview. I [fear Clary (15) An intimate journal. captured with both narrative and technical freedom. writer/director/actor Nanni Moretti’s Cannes award-winner falls into three sections The first sees him zip around Rome soaking in the atmosphere and making small discoveries; the second dwells on television’s inescapable presence even at the Aeolian island home of a friend; the third is a more internal odyssey. as Moretti comes up against the doctors who are having problems diagnosing his possibly malignant illness. What may seem loose and unordered on the surface is actually very carefully structured. Wonderfully light, with a level of intimacy rarely achieved in the cinema. See preview. I That’s Entertainment III (U) Forget those sorry TV compilations of studio or star ‘highlights’.
Twenty years ago. when MGM’s vaults were first raided for the showstoppers from its musical heyday. a golden age of song and dance was rediscovered at a time when the genre itself was suffering credibility loss. Such was the wealth of material produced all those decades ago by Arthur Freed and his like
to find a few sparkling pleasures lying around. Now. in the third instalment. directors Bud Friedgen and Michael J. Sheridan have found pots of gold in Metro’s store of out-takes. Here is a selection of charming moments that didn't quite make the final cut. a bunch of set-pieces that will delight completists and rekindle memories for fans. Going back to the early days of sound. the film again draws on the talents of legendary stars to narrate the ongoing story and uses split-screen techniques to illustrate
_ MIHACE on 34TH smear
Avuncular, silver-bearded, gushing with generosity and goodwill - Richard Attenborough was born to play Santa Claus. We’ve seen him brim over
with emotion during countless
televised luvvie-bashes; we’ve
‘: witnessed the caring philosophy in his
directorial work, as individuals triumph against oppression in Cry Freedom and Chandi. Maybe it’s our belief that Attenborough’s sweetness
1 is genuine that balances the saccharine of John Hughes’s
reworking of the 1947 Hollywood
3 classic Oscar-winner. that a sequel still managed 5;
key numbers with behind-
I Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (PG) After putting some smiles on the faces of Hollywood executives with his Batman profits. Tim Burton was given the green light to branch out into something decidedly different. Likewise. Jack Skellington. the skinny tn'ckster king of Halloweentown. is restless with success and needs a new challenge. For Jack. inspiration comes when he unexpectedly comes across Christmastown. After kidnapping Santa. Jack takes his place. but his mixed-up Yuletide isn’t quite what the kids of the world expected. It‘s a real treat to see such imaginative fare up on the big screen in the form of stop-motion animation. Add to that Danny Elfman's excellent score. ,and you've got a deliciously dark
l to play guinea pig - acting as
When her department store Santa gets too drunk to drive the float in the annual parade, high-flying exec Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) persuades a kindly old gentleman, who tells her
i Miracle On 34th Street: ‘ioy-t-the-world charm’ 3
reins. Later, he proves a hit with the kids when he holds sway in the grotto and, in a strange way, wins the respect and confidence of their parents by pointing out which of the
store’s competitors are cheaper. Sales :
boom, however, and the main rivals start to bristle. Pretty soon Kris is forced to defend himself in court and prove that he is indeed the one-and- only Father Christmas; but, more importantly, he also has to convince Dorey’s cynical young daughter Susan
(Mara Wilson) that there is still a little '
magic in the world.
The film certainly has its flaws: the adult romance angle is an under- developed afterthought and the courtroom climax is a confusing let down. But as a moral fable for the festive period, it’s a winner. Despite the fact that the story is set hang in the centre of the merchandising world and that the film - particularly as a remake - is very much a product of the Hollywood machine, there’s a pleasant Christmassy feel about the whole. Like warming your toes beside the fire and breathing in the spices waiting through from the kitchen, this is a secular Yuletide with neither a stable nor a cradle in sight; but there’s an indisputable ‘joy to the world’ charm as the film champions a childhood belief in all that is unselfish and good. (Alan Morrison)
Miracle On 34th Street (PG) (Les Mayfield, US, 1994) Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins, Dylan Mcliermott. 110 mins. From Fri 9.
his name is ‘Kris Kringle’, to take the g Genera release,
Like Ivan Heitman’s previous ‘high concept’ Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy vehicle, Twins, this is not so much a movie as a machine for making audiences laugh. With Danny DeVlto also back as his cynical sidekick, the self-mocking and surprisingly sympathetic Arnie again increases his across-the-board appeal — this time by getting pregnant, wearing pink maternity frocks and sending up his own ultra-masculine image.
Arnie plays Austrian tight-ass Dr Alex Hesse, who together with his colleague Dr Larry Arbogast (neVlto) has invented a revolutionary new drug, Expectane, that guarantees safe pregnancies. When the university’s dean (Frank Langella) pulls the financial plug and gives his lab space to daffy doctor Diane Heddln (Emma Thompson), Hesse reluctantly agrees
temporary host for a fertilised egg that is implanted into his stomach
Christmas hit. see feature, lining. But cold fish Hesse gets more
"24 The List 2—15 December 1994
pink maternity frocks’
Jtmior: ‘Arnie in
| than a bun in his male oven, he also
gets the morning sickness, the tender nipples, the food cravings, the feelings of isolation, the whole damn thing.
Playing a pregnant man can only increase Arnie’s swelling reputation. There’s even some uncharacteristic love interest, with Thompson’s accident-prone Dr Heddin providing the perfect romantic and comic foil for Arnie’s humourless Dr Hesse. Heitman’s direction is brisk and efficient, with fine acting support from neVlto’s mercenary co- conspirator, Pamela Heed as his estranged, pregant wife and Langella as the slimy dean who ends up with unfertillsed egg on his face. For my money, this is just a little too tight and
calculated for its own good, but it hits
“3 933’ “mots 0'8" time and than 8 ofRobert Matthews.
; Melody Lee. Lee Stone. ; I 21 mins. Sat 10: Fife
no denying that it works. (ngel Floyd) Junior (PC) (Ivan Heitman, US, 1994) Arnold Swarzenegger, Danny DeVlto, Emma Thompson. 110 mins. From Fri 9: General release.
_ THE wmcs or HDNNEAMIS
From the opening frames. it's clear that this feature is in a different class from any (mi/nu video releases. Shito l.hadal is a cadet in the Kingdom of llonneamano's Royal Space l-‘orcc. an outfit ridiculed for its inability to ptit a man into orbit despite years of research. When he volunteers to become his country's first astronaut. the idealistic and naive Shiro undergoes an amateurish training programme as his superiors stumble towards their goal. The advisors of the Emperor. however. have different plans. and attctnpt to use the benign space mission as the catalyst for war with the neighbouring republic llonncamano is not Japan. nor is the film set in any recognisable past. present or future; but the architecture. social backdrop and countless other details that fill the screen seem elusivcly familiar and part of a coherent. subtly rendered parallel world. Technically. the film is a
delight for (mime fans and
film-goers new to the style: its use of shadow and foreground/ background composition is tailored to the demands of individual action. romantic or comic scenes. The gentle parody of The Rig/It .S'Iirlf'ys'tir‘ks well with Shiro's gOofy heroism (an tlllllllt’ lead who is allowed a measure of character development!); and. while the final. quasi-religious message is a bit simplistic. the notion that everything — space rockets. individual humans — must find their true purpose also slots in perfectly with the overall atmosphere. Add to this an appropriately wide- ranging score — frotn techno pop to choral voices — overseen by Ryuichi Sakamoto. and the result is Japanese animation at its very best.
i (Alan Morrison)
The Wings Of Honneamise ( I 5)
( Hi rovuki Yamuga. Japan, 1987/94) With the voices
Robin '3. Sat 1 7.‘ Glasgow 0deon. Sat 7 Jan: Edinburgh Orleon.