I Chasers (15) Take a loose adaptation of the 70s Jack Nicholson film The Last Detail. add ex- Buvwarch babe Erika Eleniak as the naval girl being transported tojail for going AWOL. throw in Dennis Hopper as director and . . . the result is a complete disaster. An utter plod, whether taken as a comedy. thriller or half-hearted attempt at romance. and an amazing waste of everyone's talents.
l Peeping Tom (18) if 1995's worldwide Centenary of Cinema has any positive purpose. perhaps it should be to reassess those films and ﬁlmmakers whom fashion and critical quirks of the time unfairly dismissed. in Britain, there is no one better to start with than Michael Powell (who with his partner Emeric Pressburger made some of the most specacular films of the 40s and 50s) and his derided 1960 psychological thriller. Peeping Tom. The story focuses on a young photographer's disturbing desire to photograph his female victims at the moment of their death; thematically. the mix of voyeurism and death. through the camera lens. is very potent. In recent years. the film has been hailed as the first serial killer movie, but a fresh viewing. on this restored print. shows that it may have a nasty edge. but it’s far richer than any genre tag can offer. See feature.
- t r
l Princess Garaboo (PG) Four Weddings And A Funeral could only boast one imported American star; Princess Carabaa
A shallow grave, a corpse, a hacksaw, severed limbs . . . enjoy the festive period, Scottish style, as The List previews all the new films opening over the next four weeks.
has three — Phoebe Cates. Kevin Kline and John l.ithgow. but it‘s likely to do only a fraction of the former film’s business. Nevertheless. it too has a distinctive charm and.
given its period finery and
Cinderella structure. it's
as good a close alternative
to pantomime as any. Early in the 19th century. a mysterious girl
arrives in Bristol unable to
speak a word of English. The local gentry immediately claim she is an Eastern princess and
soon journalists. scientists
and aristocrats from across the country are falling under her spell. There was a potentially
dark psychological side to
this true story. but instead the filmmakers opt for a mild satire on the pretentious fools eager to bask in the social prestige she gives them and for a is-she-real. is-she-fake Sammershy-style hook. See preview.
I Shallow Grave (18) Move over Tarantino er al. Scotland can play this
game too. After months of knocking the international
film festival circuit on its heels, this deliciously black comedy thriller — filmed in Glasgow and Edinburgh — is ready to take on the public. Three young ﬂatmates decided
to dispose of the corpse of
the recently arrived. but now very overdosed
Hugo, when they discover
a huge stash of money under his bed; but the long arm of the law and the short ﬁst of some crooks are about to catch up on them. Worse still. the mental pressures inside their happy home are about to knock their own delicate balance for six. Shallow Grave is a skilfully crafted genre piece. filled with brilliantly cynical one- liners and star-making performances from the three leads. lt’s bloody and intelligent enough to please the cult audience, but it's also accessible enough to break into the mainstream. See feature.
30 The List 16 December 1994-12 January 1995
Action man Jean-Claude Van liamme returns to the sci-fl genre that gave him his best role to date (in Universal Soldier), but this time as a human future-cop charged with policing Time itself. In the year 2004, the dream of time-travel has become a nightmarish reality, with criminals and corrupt businessmen trying to alter the course of history in order to boost their power or their bank balance.
Together with his ballsy partner Agent Fielding (Gloria Rueben), Timecop Max Walker (Van Damme) travels back to 1994 to investigate and unravel the mystery surrounding powerful senator Aaron McGomb (Ron Silver from Blue Steel). But Walker also has a private agenda of his own: haunted by the death of his wife Melissa (Mia Sara) in an explosion, he is determined to discover the truth about her murder.
Having directed 2010 and Outland, Peter Hyams is no stranger to large- scale sci-fi, so his handling of the giant sets and expensive SFX is more than adequate. His handling of the storyline and performances, on the other hand, is poor - the narrative suspense and emotional undertow are too often dwarfed or obscured by the massive designs and complicated plottings. In this, llyams is not helped by Mask scriptwriter Mark Verheiden’s
casual disregard for narrative logic, or
by some variable acting performances, .
especially from Reuben as Van Damme’s ambiguously motivated partner. That said, this is at least a proper sci-fi movie, so if futuristic hardware, big set-pieces and robust action are your thing, this may be enough for you. (Nigel Floyd) Timecop (18) (Peter Hyams, US, 1994) Jean-Claude Van liamme, Ron Silver, Gloria Reuben. 98 mins. From Fri 6: General release.
‘The narrative suspense and
emotional undertow are
too often dwarfed or obscured by the massive designs and complicated plottings’
It’s traditional to spend Boxing Day warlly eying up an overstuffed turkey and unappetising leftovers. That’s exactly what’s being dished up on the big screen as Hollywood’s latest big star hype opens across the country on 26 December.
Sylvester Stallone and James Woods are a crack explosives team who fall out when Woods cynically allows a young girl to be killed along with their South American drug baron targets. Years later, man-of-honour Stallone is seduced out of self-imposed exile by the mysterious Sharon Stone, who wants to use his bomb skills in a bloody revenge plot against her parents’ killers. The mere sound of her sex-charged voice on a telephone line is enough to make Sly cash in all his principles; but Woods is involved in this dangerous game too, suggesting there will be more than a whiff of double-cross in the air before long. Sure enough, Stone has used her obvious assets to slink her way into the murderer’s family - the sleazy Miami-based Leon clan, led by like- father-Iike-son ham-acting duo Rod Steiger and Eric Roberts.
The above synopsis might sound fairly coherent; its screen realisation is not. Chunks of narrative are flung into the fray like slabs of raw meat onto a lazily tended barbeque. Every now and then, there’s a rip-roaring explosion that shakes the very walls of the cinema in an attempt to con the audience into believing they’re getting their money’s worth. Stone has never exactly been renowned for accepting parts founded on character development, but never before has a
director treated her quite so brazenly as a mere object. Stallone’s strong- and-silent routine also lacks conviction, while the stars’ steamy scenes - Stone relying on old party tricks, Stallone all knotty muscles and strained bodybuilder veins that look set to pop - reveal as much sexual tension as a Mickey and Minnie Mouse cartoon. That only leaves the ever-reliable Woods to breeze through it all in patented nasty mode, no doubt snarling his way to the bank. (Alan Morrison)
The Specialist (18) (luis Llosa, US, 1994) Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, James Woods. 110 mins. From Mon 26: General release.
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“Chunks of narrative are
flung into the fray like slabs of raw meat onto a lazily tended barbeque’