John Singleton’s follow-up to Boyz N The Hood is a polemical allegory about black identity. It argues that redemptive love is possible, but winds up in the ‘all you need is love’ schmaltz. Justice (Janet Jackson in her feature debut) and Lucky (Tupac

Shakur) have been hurt by life in South I

Central, but they’re soul survivors. Compare them to the other characters - Lucky’s ex is on crack, Justice’s best friend is a drunken ’ho’ and her boss Jessie has lost her heart - their self- respect earns them one another’s love. More radically (perhaps studio

backers Columbia Pictures missed this), Justice and Lucky are members of an ideal black nation. Out on a road trip round California, they enter an

African-American family reuinion (‘l’ve

never seen so many black people in one place not fighting’), and then l merge into the crowd at an Africa festival. The message is certain: unity i and love are enabling. Poetic Justice is a remarkably uncynical film. Writer-director Singleton made the stunning Boyz N The Hood when he was only 21, but Poetic Justice is a let-down. This is the fault of a romantic structure which adds too much sugar to the spice. However, the f , film glows and fines. Singleton’s 1 South Central is violent but brightly- l coloured like crossing NWA with A Tribe Called Guest - and Maya Angelou’s poetry, spoken in the movie by Janet Jackson, is beautiful. Dennis Hopper’s distinctly white Colors has ( nothing to do with it. (Hannah Fries) Poetic Justice (15) (John Singleton, i US, 1993) Janet Jackson, Tupac l Shakur, Tyra Ferrell. From Fri 14.


Glasgow: MGM Film Centre.


Poetic Justice: ‘too much sugar'

Blue Sky: ‘worth noting'


Consignerl to the vaults when ()rion Pictures ran into trouble. Blue Sky is worth noting fora couple of reasons. The most obvious. and the one that gave the boost for this low-key British release. is the recent Oscar nomination and subsequent Best Actress award for Jessica Lange; the other is that it gives us the chance to see the last film by director Tony Richardson (Tom Jones.

: Look Back In Anger).

Military wife Carly Marshall (Lange)

' is a borderline schizophrenic. a wild

spirit unsuited to the transient nature of army life. When her husband Hank (Tommy Lee Jones) is transferred once again. this time from the pleasures of Hawaii to a run-down base in Alabama. the cracks begin to show. A brief affair

with the base commander (Powers

Boothe) is the catalyst that brings about family tragedy. Lange is certainly on form in her

spotlight role, which makes the most of

the early (i()s setting by having her rcmould herself as Brigitte Bardot. Marilyn Monroe and Lil. 'lay'lor. ('ai'ly

I could be a Tennessee Williams heroine.

right down to her doll collection. but her fragile extr‘overt turn was tried out before in l’rum'es. Tommy Lee Jones is actually more impressive.silently enduring his wife‘s antics with a mixture of love. pain and embarrassment. His job monitoring underground atomic tests provides a key metaphor: the damage may be done below the surface. but eventually. as with radiation. everyone nearby will be contaminated. With actors of this standard. it's hardly surprising that the film is at its best when allowing the characters to develop; unfortunately. when it switches in its linal stages to plot. the events are just too silly to take on board. (Alan Morrison)

Blue Sky (l2) (fit/l) lx’ie/iiiri/srw. 17X. 199/) .lessrr'u Lance. 'limiiiiy‘ lee Juries. Powers lion/lie. /()/ Iii/us. I’m/ii Fri [4: (ilusgmr‘ l'il/Hl 'Ii/lr'ulrfl l'il'Ulll Fri 2/: Edinburgh [Vi/ni/iuuse.


Forget Gump, Robert Benton’s gem of a movie is the film that deserved to sweep the Oscars: as subtle, humane, wise and witty a piece as has come out of Hollywood in many a long year. Want to know why it didn’t walk off with an armful of statuettes? It was far too bloody good for the American Academy to appreciate.

In a performance to rank with his best, Paul Newman is Donald ‘Sully’ Sullivan, a down-on-his-luck construction worker scraping a living in the wintry upstate New York town of North Bath. There he divides his time between squabbling with Bruce Willis’s unscrupulous building company boss, looking after (and being looked after by) ageing landlady Jessica Tandy, and generally hanging out at the local bar with a diverse bunch of buddies including his dim- witted working partner Bub (an excellent Pruitt Taylor Vince) and one- legged lawyer Wirf (Broadway director Gene Saks), who can barely remember

the last time he won a case.

It’s one of those movies where very . little seems to happen, yet we’ve truly lived a life by the end of it. Benton’s carefully structured adaptation of E Richard Busso’s novel manages that rare trick of creating an ensemble narrative that doesn’t short-change any of its characters. At the start, Sully might look like a real no-hoper, but the more we see his destiny intertwine with those around him marriages are patched up, sons and fathers come to understand each other, small grandchildren learn valuable life lessons - the more weight and meaning cling to an apparently marginal existence. With its fascination for small but telling everyday things, its determination to bank down any excesses of sentimentality, Nobody’s Fool is hardly your typical Hollywood offering - which is maybe why it stands as one of 1995’s indisputably great movies. (Trevor Johnston) Nobody’s Fool (15) (Robert Benton, US, 1994) Paul Newman, Bruce Willis, Jessica Tandy. 110 mins. From Fri 14. General release.

Nobody’s Fool: ‘gem of a movie'



Far From Home: ‘up-to-date wilderness adventure‘

A live action kids mm ie m the 'one boy and his dog' mould. lflii' I’m/u Ht‘lllt' lillltls litllille‘ll _\t‘.t‘.’ old Angus \lc(,'oiniick washed up on the shores of the Pacific Nii'iliwest alter a slot ill at sea separates him from his family. Britney er fear: there's a loin~legged hero at hand it) the shape of The Yellow Do;~ \\ ho becomes Angus‘s best friend and his one hope for survival.

An upto-date wilderness adventure. the film makes the most of the spectacular tr Hill” of British (‘ohimbia and the remote provincial parks or \'ancou\er Island. Jesse Bradford is a likeahle hero. whose ingenuity makes him a match for the obstacles nature places in his way. Viewers in their early teens w ill eiripathise with the predicanients and. ol'ctitiise. e\ my body loves a courageous canine. (AM:

(ii'llr'l'u/ I'm/ruse {iii/st /-‘ri'i/ii=.' 7.

LITTLE RASCALS Last year. director Penelope Splieeris remade American TV favourite 'l'lti' li’i'i'r’r/ev [ll/HNJ/ft’l. which failed to find its market this side of the Atlantic. The same may well be the case with her remake of another l'S 'l‘\'

series, The l.lll/(’ li’iiri‘ii/i.

These aren't kids you want to take home and

cuddle; they're the kind oi smug brats who leave a

trail ol'destructiori behind them. liven kids who

enjoyed the Home :l/(lllt'

level of mayhem might not take to this.

Once upon a time. Spheeris was the toast of l'lollywoorl outsiders with her portraits of social

misfits two instalments

of The Decline ()f ll’e.v!ern ('i'i'ili'.v-rrrrmi and excellent punk movie Suburbia. Not long ago. she hit the big 'inie with llirv/ie's World. '1 his is a serious step backwards. i’ A M )

(iv/refill release from l’rir/uv 7.


l _ l

The List 7-20 Apr I995 25