At 65, is Clint still credible for a crumblies’ romance? Find out as The List reviews the new ﬁlms opening in Scotland over the next fortnight.
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I Blue Juice ( 15) JC‘ (Sean Pertwee) is a bit of a local legend atnong the surf bums who hattg out on the Cornish coast but. despite being the only man to conquer a notorious stretch of ocean known as The Boneyard. he’s approaching 30 and is getting his ear nipped by his girlfriend Chloe (Catherine Zeta Jones). who‘s ready to settle down. When three of his old mates from London arrive unexpectedly. JC‘ is under peer pressure to help out the troubled Dean (Ewan McGregor) no matter the cost. An energetic British comedy. pumped up by thrilling action photography and a cool. loud soundtrack. that‘s got more emphasis on the spirit of New Lad than the spirit of New Age. See preview.
I Braveheart ( 15) Mel Gibson‘s long and bloody account of the life of Scottish warrior hero William Wallace boasts some remarkable battle scenes and great performances. Aiming to entertain on a wider scale than the richer. tnore literate Rob Roy. Brave/team's Scottish passion is tempered by a few Hollywood moments — the odd cliche. touch of sentimentality and ‘dramatic' historical inaccuracy. But that's just being picky: this is a fine. full-blooded attempt to tap into the spirit that fires Scotland's history and heroes. Gibson is always watchable. and carries the action. romance and comic moments with ease. The supporting cast is excellent. with a special
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McGoohan‘s merciless King Edward. See feature. ' I Rice People (PG) Rithy? Panh's achineg slow portrait of a Cambodian rice-growing fatnin is one I of those films that seems to be completely bare on the surface. but allows a trickle of slight details to build into something more meaningful. When the father of the fatnily dies. the wife is forced to take charge of her seven daughters and ensure that the crop comes iii. The narrative and style may be simplicity itself. but it is to the director's credit that we do come to agonise with the characters over what has literally become a life or death situation. Rice P 'Uple demands a saintly patience, but its depiction of a community and way of life entirely distanced from the affluent West is intriguing and ultimately moving.
I The Young Poisoner’s Handbookttxi Adolescent bitterness and a schoolboy fascination with toxic substances become a lethal chemical cocktail when teenager Graham Young starts poisoning fatnin and friends. Director Benjamin Ross takes great risks with his material. but the tone is expertly rendered — there are moments of excruciating horror and nastiness. but they're complemented by a dark and disturbing comedy. Hugh O‘Conor's part-angel. part-devil performance is also a perfect ingredient in this black tnix. and the whole makes for one of the best British movies of the year.
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THE BRIDGES 0F MADISON COUNTY
Although Robert James Waller‘s bestseller is reckoned to be literary tripe. one‘s adttiiration for director-star Clint Eastwood here increases a thousand-fold. From the unlikeliest ol sources. he's conjured one of his fittest achievements as filmmaker; a classic love story that displays his extraordinary range and wisdom on both sides of the camera. Accordingly. it begins with a surprise: the story opens in contemporary Madison. Iowa. and stays there for what seems an age. while siblings Carolyn (Annie Corley) and Michael (Victor Slezak) ponder their late mom‘s strange funeral request. that she not be buried beside her husband. bttt her cremated ashes scattered by one of the country‘s nearby
It‘s a brave device. but it works. placing in familial context and building tip our anticipation of the brief was encounter that's to unfold between Meryl Streep's Francesca and passing National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid (Clint. still hattdsome enough to essay a romantic leading role at the age of ()5) while her children and
- husband are away at the State Fair.
What‘s remarkable is the confidence with which Clint the director simply allows the chemistry between ("lint the actor and a genuinely sexy Meryl Streep the time to develop and hold the audience in its grasp. It's a dilemma we‘ve seen before on screen —- the pair are more in love than they‘ve ever been with anyone else before. bttt what to do
about her home and hubby“? Yet here the unfttssiness of the approach allow \ tts an ctttotional hot-line to these heart- w rcnching circtttttstanccs. while a brilliantly-deployed music soundtrack (from Bellini and Saint-Sachs. to jazz. crooners Dinah Washington and criminally neglected baritone Johttny Hartman) opens ottt the relationship to a universality beyond tltc narrow confines of a tttiddle-.-\tttericatt fat‘tttltottsc. .-\s a result. the film has a real tear-stirring potettcy despite its
‘the film has a real tear- stirring potency despite its utter lack of sentimental gushiness’
ttttet' lack of sentimental gttshitiess. It‘s
a masterly piece of work. and surely among the lilms of the year. t'l‘rey-or
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Of all the films adapted from the works of Stephen King, Misery was perhaps the best, earning Kathy Bates an Oscar for her superb performance as a lonely nurse with a book fixation and a Sledgehammer. Bates also stars
; in Dolores Claiborne, about as un- ' King-like a story as you could get,
with everything in a lower key and more consistently melodramatic than horrific, although there is a degree of suspense and some fine performances to enjoy.
Dolores is a working woman employed by the queen of local society, Vera Donovan, for over twenty years, only to be found one day apparently in the act of murdering her employer. As the remote Maine community of Little Tall Island is a one horse town without the horse, the police send for a detective from nearby Bangor. This turns out to be the same man who investigated the death of Dolores’ ne’er-do-well husband twenty years before, the only case he failed to close satisfactorily.
Well, you’ll never guess what he thinks about it all. But perhaps that’s the charm of it, for Dolores, her estranged daughter Selena (Jennifer Jason leigh), Vera (British actress Judy Parfltt) and even the wily Detective Mackey (Christopher Plummer) all have established positions and appear to be fairly stereotypical, but are brought into
sharper focus as the story progresses. Screenwriter Tony Gilroy peels back the layers, while director Taylor Hackford establishes the distinct visual style as well as the seamless movement between the present day and the incidents that form the key to the story, while lending poignancy to the dramatic proceedings that unfold. All of which adds up to a thought- provoking film, although not quite thought-provoking enough to make the hefty running time fly by as quickly as it might. (Anwar Brett)
Dolores Claiborne (18) ( Taylor ﬂackford, US, 1995) Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Plummer. 131 mins. From Fri 8. General release.
5 “more consistently ; melodramatic than i horrific, although there is 5 a degree of suspense and
some fine performances to enjoy’
29 The List 8-21 Sept 1995