Sort out the Easter bunnies from
the rotten eggs as The List reviews the new movies opening in Scotland over the next two weeks.
I An Awfully Big Adventure t l5) A million miles away from the frothiness of Four Weddings And A Funeral. Mike Newell‘s latest ﬁnds itself amidst dreary post- war surroundings where
the naive and impressionable Stella (Georgina Cares) takes a job as assistant stage manager with a rep theatre company. lmrnediately she falls head over heels with the director (Hugh Grant). but also becomes the object of desire of ﬂamboyant actor P.L. O'Hara (Alan Rickman). Newell taps into the darkness at the heart of Beryl Bainbridge's novel. using'the theatre as a microcosmic world ﬁlled with rivalry and jealousy. bitterness and resentment. Cates transmits her character‘s charm and spirit while allowing child-like insecurity to peek from beneath the surface. it‘s an intriguing ﬁlm, but like Newell’s Enchanted April and Four Weddings And A Funeral itself. it really might be more suited to an evening at home in front of the box. See preview. I Hoop Dreams (15) While ﬁctional sports movies shamelessly manipulate the audience into an emotional response. this rivetting documentary succeeds by having us genuinely care about real people and situations. Filmed over four-and-a-half years. Hoop Dreams follows the hopes and disappointments of two young black kids from Chicago whose ticket out of the ghetto is a basketball scholarship. You'll cheer the games. you‘ll cry at family traumas, you'll get angry at a system that sets up and snatches away goals that mean more than life to the participants. More than a remarkable achievement. this is great cinema. See preview I Once Were Warriors (18) Films on domestic abuse tend to branch dow_n two paths: the melodramatic TV-movie- of-the-week and the gritty
Loach-stylc drama. Lee Tamahori‘s feature debut falls into the latter category. and it‘s one of the toughest. most frightening. most impressive movies you'll see this year.
Set in a poor suburb of Auckland. the ﬁlth tells
the story ofJake and Beth. :
married with ﬁve children for all ofeighteen years. Beth is still drawn to her husband by his raw animal attraction. but more and more he uses his muscular power to prove his masculinity with his ﬁsts. One son has joined a neighbourhood gang; another has been taken to a welfare home. Teenage daughter Grace. a talented writer. sets herself apart from her urban surroundings. but in the process becomes the most vulnerable member of her family.
Once Were Warriors is about survival ~ of individuals. of families. and of the Maori race. it is an uncompromising, shocking ﬁlm that doesn‘t sensationalise its material ~ and doesn't fall into the drama-doc approach either. See preview.
I The Silences Of The Palace (15) A young woman. Alia. returns to the palace where she was born. the illegitimate daughter of a servant and. in a series of flashbacks. relives her upbringing in pre-independence Tunisia. Female director Mouﬁda Tlatli constructs a complex view of a repressive regime. where intricate rituals reduce women to objects for the pleasure of the princes. At its heart. however. is a strong mother-daughter tale which gives Alia her sense of identity. The presence of concubines may seem almost medieval. but Tlatli is careful to introduce references to the growth of the nationalist movement during the 19505. thereby emphasising that a new political regime did not completely liberate the women of the Arab— Muslim world. See preview.
l l nurvre AND DUMBER i
lf'l‘om l-lanks is the new James Stewart. then Jim Carrey is the new Jerry Lewis. and it wasn't funny ﬁrst time round. But not even Carrey's never-ending cycle of facial contortions can stop Dumb .‘ltld llutnher from being an embarrassingly infectious sprint through the best in broad visual and verbal comedy. Brainless limo driver Lloyd (Carrey) drops off the beautiful Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) at the airport. and unknowingly foils her attempt to pay off her husband’s kidnappers when he retrieves her suitcase containing the ransom. Totally in love, Lloyd with his equally intellectually-ch; llenged . roommate Harry (Jeff Daniels) head off to Aspen to return the loot-ﬁlled luggage and. hopefully. win Mary‘s affections into the bargain. Lloyd and Harry‘s lack of K) isn't the stuff of Forrest (lump or Benny And Joon. so there‘s nothing patronising
~ “I; it ‘, 4'” “the "'v :é'r-f- Dumb
And Dumber: ‘embarrassingly infectious' 5
about their sheer stupidity. 'l‘hese losers i are our heroes. these buddies really do i have a touching concern for each other. i The whole thing is endearineg
overdone and. even if you don't laugh when Carrey pulls a.face. there are
i plenty of good one—liners and slapstick situations to go around. Okay. this is
f comedy for people who didn't
i understand the jokes in Wayne Is World. but it’s aimless, silly. puerile and
. shamefacedly hilarious. The only
i question mark hangs over the
soundtrack: eclectic in the extreme.
there‘s surely something for everyone. but isn‘t it a bit inappropriate to set i Carrey's unsophisticated clowning to
the gothic angst of Nick Cave? (Alan
[)unrb And Dumber ( [2) (Peter
Farrel/y, US. 1994 ) Jim Carrey. Jeff Danie/x. Lauren Holly. 102 mins. Front
Fri 7. General release.
The Cold War may be over, but there are still a few nasty Russians left in the box marked ‘clichéd baddies’. Instead of subverting the good ol’ US of A, they are now busy hijacking planes full of Russian gold, earmarked to buy food aid for their starving compatriots.
Aww heck! But at least Charlie Sheen is still in the box marked ‘clichéd dorks who save the world’. Phew. And what’s more, he comes in the multi- purpose, pre-packaged ‘devil-may- care sky-diving nutters with their brains between their legs’ model, so much in fashion at the moment.
In case you hadn’t guessed, Terminal Velocity is ioin-the-dots, action- thrilier hokum. Not to say that it is completely dire - just mostly so. Its saving graces are a good pace, fiastassja Kinski as a new breed of
Terminal Velocity: ‘ioin-the-dots, action-thriller hokum’
Russian spy - the goodie — and some seriously wicked stunt action. Kinski makes a tough, sassy and believable blonde Bond, kicks Sheen’s ass, manages not to laugh at her gadgets and avoids most of the holes in the plot.
As for the stunts, they look mighty good, particularly the low flying sky- diving effects, but they also require some severe suspension of disbelief. Suspension from fifty thousand feet, that is. Without a parachute. In the boot of a car. Which is locked. But that’s what’s good about this stuff: the baddles always die horribly. (Thom Dibdin)
Terminal Velocity (15) (Deran Sarafian, US, 1995) Charlie Sheen, Rastassia Kinski, James Gandolfini. 102 mins. General release.
Silent Tongue: ‘terrible acting“
A huge chunk of Sam Shepard's work as a writer "examines notions of ‘the west' as it relates to the subsequent history of America. In Silent Tongue. he follows the pattern of those revisionist westerns of the 70s. placing dissolute. down- and-out characters on ﬂat wastelands that stretch as far as the eye can see: but. by focusing on the supernatural rather than gritty violence. he brings a poetic. expressionistic vision to the genre.
The ﬁlm‘s set-piece opening at a medicine and freak show run by liamon McCree (Alan Bates) is. by turns. colourful. pathetic and otherworldly. ln rides Prescott Roe (Richard Harris). who kidnaps McCree‘s half- breed daughter Velada (Tantoo Cardinal) in order to calm his son (River Phoenix), whose grief over the death of his wif:: (Velada's sister) has sen: him mad.
The ﬁlm is at its most effective during the atmospheric Indian ghost story passages. but it is irrevocably damaged by acting that is. on the whole. terrible. Bates, resembling an overgrown leprachaun with braided hair. has never been worse as he lets loose alcoholic rants in a loud ‘oirish' accent; as Bates's son. Dermot Mulroney seems unsure what his role is meant to represent; Phoenix. in his last completed movie. screams and looks distressed. but never gives any sense of personal sadness or reason why he would wish his wife‘s spirit to remain with him. Only Harris emerges with self-respect intact. contributing a perfectly crafted portrayal of grizzled, weather- beaten dignity. (Alan Morrison)
Silent Tongue (12) (Sam Shepard, US, 1992) Richard Harris, Alan Bates, River Phoenix. 106 mins. Wed 19 and Thurs 20: Edinburgh F illnhouse.
24 The List 7—20 Apr 1995