I Angels (PG) Another month. another baseball movie. Released in the States as Angels In The Outﬁeld. it tells ofa foster child named Roger who's the only person to hear and see the heaven-sent coaches who are helping his team rise from the bottom of the league. ‘The players and Roger discover the power of believing in dreams and ﬁnding the courage to never give up hope.‘ says the press release. You’ve been warned.
I Bye Bye love (PG) Three divorced fathers. their ex-wives. their current partners and. inevitably. the kids caught in the middle ﬂesh out this screen ﬁller aimed at a more caring adult audience. The level of sentimentality. moralising. formulaic comedy and uninspiring character development is pretty much as you’d expect from what could well be a hastily revised draft of a TV series that never got the green light. It’s not that the acting and direction is bland. they’re just so lightweight. they might as well not be there at all.
I Boy Meets Girl (18) Boy meets girl. Boy goes home with girl. Girl drugs boy. Girl tortures. burns. maitns. hurniliates. kills boy — and does it all on video for her future enjoyment. Each grimace and every scream is caught on camera, so that she’ll watch for pleasure what we watch for pleasure. The camcorder culture turns on its head in a disturbingly perverse reassessment of the notion of home movies.
For the most part. the ﬁlm concerns two ﬁgures placed against a black background. so immediately you know that Boy Meets Girl isn't following the Hollywood style of glossy. palatable sexual violence. This is a distressing. low budget British movie with a
Whether he’s in ﬂuffy pink jumpers or open-chested tunics, Johnny Depp’s the one who’ll sweep The List’s ad staff off their feet. His two latest movies, and the others opening over the next fortnight, are reviewed below.
vicious humour. Captions preceding each segment give an ironic twist on the action to follow. suggesting it‘s all a big. sick joke that also has serious questions to raise about sexual power-play and our never-ending fascination with human cruelty. See preview.
I Ed Wood ( l5) From its opening crack of thunder and title sequence with the cast and crew's names carved on gravestones set like Shane McGowan‘s teeth. Tim Burton‘s homage to the so-called ‘worst director of all time’ reveals itself to be a fondly atmospheric homage to a man who offered in enthusiasm and single-mindedness what he lacked in talent. immediately we're thrown right into Ed Wood's world — the people that make up his entourage (and star in his movies). his own hopes and dreams to be the next Orson Welles.
For the Wood fan. the ﬁlm will be a treat. as several key scenes from the crapmeister’s movies are carefully reconstructed. but given
more humour and 2 understanding by placing
them in the context of a working day on a Wood set. But it’s more than just a biopic pastiche: the emotional heart of the ﬁlm is to be found in the genuinely caring relationship between Wood and the dying. drug-addicted Bela Lugosi. played so marvellously by Martin Landau.
in black-and-white. Johnny Depp‘s eyes are deep. dark pools. yet they shine with an ever- optimistic sparkle. He plays Wood as a man touched by innocent romanticism. with an undiminished belief in his work and his friends. For these reasons. Burton has made a masterpiece with love and affection. See feature.
As a scriptwriter. Steven E. De Souza made his name with Die Hard and its sequel: on the strength of this. his directorial debut. the day-job option would seem the better bet. Like many before him. he falls foul of transferring a necessarily repetitive computer game to the big screen; instead of a ﬂuid cinematic narrative. we have a st0p- start plot with too many heroes. multiple plot threads. and virtually no suspense or excitement. The chief liabilities are chronically underused leading man Jean-Claude Van Damme and the need to achieve a 12 certiﬁcate. The ﬁrst scuppers any hope of transforming a computer-generated ﬁghting machine into a plausible screen hero; the second puts paid to duplicating the ceaseless violence and mega body count of the source game. Having taken hostage 63 aid workers and a handful of Allied Forces soldiers. renegade warlord General M. Bison (Raul Julia) demands a heavy ransom. Colonel Guile (Van Damme) and more than a dozen anonymous. multi-ethnic heroes then try to penetrate the defences of Bison's impregnable. hi- tech fortress. A potentially diverting sub-plot about scientist Dhalsim‘s efforts to transform a captive soldier into a Frankensteinian killing machine
Streetfighter: ‘noisy, brainless mess' is merely thrown away. along with everything else.
The late Raul Julia. whose swan-song
this proved to be. hams it tip shamelessly as the camp commandant. but not even his suave presence and throwaway quips can save this noisy. brainless mess. The sole incidental pleasure is when Guile dismisses his redundant sidekick Cammie (Kylie Minogue) with the line. ‘Fora moment there. you were almost useful’. (Nigel Floyd)
.S‘treetﬁgltter ( 12) (Steven 15. De Soura. US. [995) Jean-Claude Van Damme. Raul Julia. Kylie Minogue. [00 mins. Front Fri [9. General release.
E31135— noe nov
Dedicated to the memories of both Alexander Mackendrick and Jock Stein, homecoming hero Michael Caton-Jones’s rip-snorting historical extravaganza proves that Scottish creative talent (producer Peter Broughan, writer Alan Sharp) and Hollywood money (the United Artists millions) need not necessarily end up in bland mid-Atlantic compromise. With salty patter, tough action and a general air of Highland earthiness to the fore, Rob Roy seems to have capitulated little to the demands of mall-rat America, leaving Mel Gibson’s William Wallace epic Braveheart, due in the autumn, a fair deal to live up to. Oddly enough, llam Heeson in the title role is one of the picture’s weakest links. Though his warrior-like MacGregor is convincing enough as a man of honour lighting for his life and his reputation, after Tim Roth’s upstart Cunningham has tricked him out of the money he owes John Hurt’s stern Marquis of Montrose, bringing brutal recriminatlon on the clansrnan and his people, the lack of humour in the part dolls the sheen on the integrity factor.
Rob Roy: ‘gritty conviction’
Instead it’s Jessica Lange who plays suffering and determination to the very hilt and brings much more to the abused spouse Mary than one suspects even the filmmakers knew was there.
Elsewhere, old stager Andrew Keir’s class and Brian Cox’s wry turn as Montrose’s conniving underling do their best to wrest the attention away from Hoth’s hugely enjoyable (if dramatically dubious) pantomime excess as the villain of the piece, while Karl Walter Lindenlaub’s romantic lensing of some gorgeous West Highland scenery gives the movie a sweeping scale that rarely seems crass or phoney. Overall, though not without its flaws in the accent department, it’s still a pleasure to see a historical swashbuckler that goes easy on the irony and delivers the goods with gritty conviction. (Trevor Johnston)
Rob Roy (15) (Michael Baton-Jones, US/UK, 1995) Liam Heeson, Jessica
Lange, Tim Roth. 130 mins. From Fri 19. General release.
WELCOME II THE TERRORDOME
Welcome II The Terrordome: ‘shanibollc'
Any British debut has to he the cause of some celebration. but beyond the fact of its very existence. there‘s little to cheer in this shambolic attempt at a political future-shock thriller. Directed by Ngozi ()nwurah as Spike-Lee- meets-Total-It’eeall (but utterly devoid of the latter's sci-ii energy). Welcome II The Terrorrlome offers a hopeful but amateurish attempt to somehow equate contemporary ghetto experience with a bleak. dystopian vision of a rebellion-charged near- apartheid of the next century.
The story begins in spiritual territory. as a family of Africans drown themselves rather than submit to the oppression of 17th century slavers — cue a three—century jump. and the family ﬁnd themselves reborn into the desperate city of the title. Possibily ()nwurah‘s biggest single handicap is the school-play standard design — bedsheets for costumes. the odd bit of oildrum and barbed wire to suggest a fortress community — which may well be the outcome of a limited budget. but must also function as an indication of utterly unrealistic ambition.
More worrying. however. is the wooden acting throughout. headed by model Saffron Burrows. whose shortcomings. in the role of an ostracised white girlfriend of a black gang member (Valentine Nonyela). are all too obvious. The plot itself. an uncomfortable compound of interracial tension and lovesick melodrama. lurches through its moves with deadening predictability. making the gulfbetween this and Do The Right Thing —- surely its inspiration — depressingly
clear. (Andrew Pulver)
Welcome II The Terrorrlome ( l 8) (Ngozt' Onwarah, UK. 1993) Suzette Llewellyn, Saffron Burrows, Felix Joseph. 94 mins. Sun 21/Mon 22: Edinburgh F ilmhouse.
18The List 19 May-l Jun 1995