lf Seientologists don’t agree with blood transfusions, what’s Tom Cruise doing playing a vampire? Find out as The List reviews the new movies opening over the next fortnight.

l Abraham Valley (PU) Based on Agustina Bessa- Luis's novel Vale Ali/tutu. which itself is based on l-‘laubert‘s Alta/time lioi'ury. Manuel l)e ()liveira‘s film plays out in Portugal‘s Douro Valley. lima (Leonor Silveira) enters into a loveless marriage with C‘arlos (Luis Miguel C‘entra). a doctor who's loose affections cause her to begin affairs with other men. The power she enjoys through her beauty is pointless. however. if she remains bored and unsatisfied by her suitors. and so she turns her attentions towards suicide. The plot outline very much echoes that of Haubert‘s novel. bttt the attitude of the filmmaker and characters to it is less than reverential. The book. as read by the young lima. is mere romantic fiction. but its fatalistic passions are. in their way. at the root of Ema's own desires and the cause of her tragedy. Exceptionally long (at just over three hours) when the pace is so sedate. this is liuropean art cinetna at its most demanding. but also at its most rewarding. The film receives only one screening. at 2.15pm on Sunday 22 at the Glasgow Film Theatre. I Amateur ( 15) An ex- nun (Isabelle Huppert). who spends her time writing short stories for a pornographic magazine. comes into contact with an atnnesiac (Martin Donovan) wandering the streets of New York. As they try to unravel his past. they realise that he is linked in some way to a soft-Core porn actress (Elina Lowensohn) and that there are some vicious corporate assassins on his tail. Yes. this is the unmistakable world of Hal Hartley. where oddballs exist on every street comer. mouthing sublitne and witty dialogue. There is a loosely defined plot holding the glorious moments together. and some nods in the direction

of appropriate genres attd

specific films (notably a Reservoir Dogs-style torture sequence). Atnple

proof that the ideas have

not run out in the llartley household. See preview. I Eat Drink Man Woman (PG) Ang's previous movie. The Her/(ling Banquet was a surprise

international artbouse ltit. His latest surpasses it in

every degree. Chit. the greatest living chef in 'l‘aipai. is a master in the art ofcooking. but

llounders when it comes

to dealing with his three grown-up daughters one a teacher about to become an old tnaid. another a yuppie executive. the third an easy-going romantic. love enters the life of

each of the four in an

unexpected manner. but

the difficulty they have

communicating with each

other is only increased. [fut Drink Mun Woman is

crammed with frustrations. love. warmth and human understanding; visually. literally. metaphorically. the filtn is a feast as colourful dishes

are prepared as a means of

displaced affection. See preview.

I Vanya on 42nd Street (U) By no means a straightforward film account of Andre. Gregory's production of Chekhov's Uncle lit/rm. Louis Malle's filtn 'etnphasises the intensity of the relationships between the characters by keeping the camera close to the action. The actors perform without costumes or stage sets. the aim being to reduce drama to its very essence. And. after half an hour or so of mulling over the intellectual qualities of such an approach. the audience suddenly finds that it is the play itself and the uniformly excellent acting that has captured the attention. Not. perhaps. the greatest piece of cinema ever shown. but undoubtedly a fascinating piece of theatre that puts stodgy UK productions of

I Chekhov to shame. See l feature.

22 The List l3--26 January 1995


Neil Jordan’s elegant, blood-drenched adaptation of Anne Rice’s decadently erotic vampire novel is the most uncompromising studio-funded horror film since Kubrick’s The Shining. More faithful to Rice’s book than anyone had any right to expect, it benefits from its source’s strengths (seeing the events unfold from the narrator

l vampire Louis’s point of view, a

; perverse eroticism and the

atmosphere of morbid melancholy that l pervades the 18th century New

5 Orleans setting) and suffers from its

main weaknesses (a tendency to lurch ; from one time-frame or Grand Guignol

; set-piece to the next, with only the

i blood flowing smoothly). It is therefore i Iascinafing 0793"" Rice depleted-

] left to Brad Pitt’s vampire, in his

: interview with Christian Slater’s

f modern-day journalist, to provide the

i narrative coagulant that will make

2 these elements congeal.

: The master stroke of Rice’s book is

' that when Louis accepts the vampire

, Lestat’s (Tom Cruise) Faustian bargain, escaping from a world of human pain and suffering into a twilight world of blood lust and hunger, he retains the passion and feeling of a mortal. Louis is therefore constantly haunted by his own nature, sickened by his need to prey on the innocent. So is it out of pity or out of a craving for companionship that he ‘turns’ the orphaned child Claudia (Kirsten Dunst)

into one of them? _ Sadly, Cruise is the weak link here,

because while he captures Lestat’s beguiling, manipulative charm, he never succeeds in convincing us that


It’s only a short step from marvelling at the construction of the pyramids and the astronomical perfection of their alignment to querying whether or not such accuracy could come from a civilisation at this stage of development. The next part of the argument was Earth visited thousands of years ago by aliens from a much advanced culture? sends the gullible scurrying for paperback theories and creases the brows of hardened sceptics. Stanley Kubrick used this for the hook of 2001: A

- Space Odyssey, before frustrating us all with layers of intentional obscurity.

Roland Emmerich, on the other hand,

knows how to make the best of such intriguing material: throw out the credibility of the plot in favour of huge sets, brilliant digital effects and an emphasis on action-adventure fun.

By solving the mystery of unknown carvings on a huge stone circle unearthed at Giza, Egyptologist and language specialist Danial Jackson (James Spader) unlocks a gate to a planet on the other side of the universe. He joins a reconnaissance team led by granite-souled Colonel Jack O’Neil (Kurt Russell) and discovers a world of Bedouin-like slaves held under the tyrannical hand of self-appointed alien god Ra (Jaye Davidson). It’s now a race against time

{ This is due in part to Cruise’s inability

| to shrug off his screen persona, a

! problem compounded by Jordan’s

| downplaying of the homo-erotic

; attraction between Lestat and Louis,

l which - like the hints of paedophilia

is reduced to an oblique, deeply

buried subtext. The graphic violence

and copious blood-letting are

elements that are there for all to see,

as Jordan’s sumptuously over-ripe

visuals never shy away from the more gruesome aspects of vampirism.

Equally importantly, Jordan knows that

melancholy and loss lie at the heart of

any film about immortality, so he is

1 able to invest Louis’s story with an

: emotional undertow that is sadly all

I too rare in modern horror films. (Nigel

1 Floyd)

l Interview With The Vampire (18) (Neil

l Jordan, us, 1994) Tom cruise, Brad

Pitt, Kirsten Dunst. 122 mins. From Fri

he is the amoral, icy and yet sexually 20. General release.

as Jackson searches for the symbol journey.

Emmerich, best known for Universal Soldier, serves out hokum in healthy measures. The most surprising aspect of the film, however, is that the American military destabilise the fascist leader, who has banned reading and writing in order to deny the tribe a sense of their own history, and then promote government of the people - an inverse metaphor for US foreign policy. Who said sci-fi was far- fetched? (Alan Morrison)

Stargate (PG) (Roland Emmerich, US, 1994) Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson. 122 mins. From Fri 13. General release.

which will act as the key for the return I



‘the most uncompromising studio-funded horror film since Kubrick’s The Shining’

‘throws out the credibility of the plot in favour of huge sets, brilliant digital effects and an emphasis on action-adventure fun’