Forget Paris: 'meandering storyline' .

; this gave him to develop his own

; story and indulgent ramble, succeeds in doing something slightly new with a

; honeymoon period to when the relationship has to be worked at in . order to succeed.


Ever since his role in When Ilarry Met Sally catapulted him into the movie big-time, ex-Safurday Night Live comic turned professional actor/director Billy Crystal has been using the clout

projects, including City Slickers and Mr Saturday Night. With Forget Paris, he has created the sort of unashamedly old-fashioned romantic i comedy that, despite treading a fine line between captivating shaggy dog

well-worn formula. The trick is that while it starts with an initial romantic encounter, it then goes beyond the

Crystal himself plays basketball referee Mickey who, while accompanying his World War II veteran father’s corpse to its resting

f getting tetchy - something that

: whose impending nuptials this

' Paris locations, its meandering

place in France, loses the body but finds true love with apologetic airline ; company employee Ellen (Debra Winger). Paris is the setting for a whirlwind romance that later turns

Forget Paris ( 12) (Billy Crystal, US,

into a full-time relationship back in the States, but with Mickey out on the road most of the time and Ellen's career going nowhere, she starts

Mickey regrets but can do nothing about. All this is related in hilarious detail by three couples who are waiting in a restaurant for Mickey (and possibly Ellen?) to arrive: .lack and Lois, who reached a sensible compromise over the same problem, comfortably married couple Craig and Lucy, and Andy and liz, in honour of

celebration dinner has been arranged. With its tourist guide approach to

storyline and its cavalier disregard for ; structured scenes, Crystal’s film should collapse under the weight of its own sentimentality. Yet somehow he and his sterling cast manage to keep things bubbling along: partly because they invest their respective characters with such likeability, and partly because each of them delivers their crisp one-liners, sly quips and long, rambling anecdotes with such relish. (Nigel Floyd)

1995) Billy Crystal, Debra Winger, Joe Mantegna. 101 mins. From Fri 29. General release.


After a wait ofeight years. one of the finest Hong Kong action tnovies finally makes it to UK screens. The reason it‘s being shown at all'.’ Quentin 'l‘arantino ripped it off for Reservoir Dogs. But don‘t go expecting a shot-for-shot prototype; this story is told in straightforward linear fashion. with the botched heist held back until about fifteen minutes from the end. and only then do the reference points become precise. In this movie. there‘s no little Green Bag'. no severed car. no Madonna speech; instead there‘s a fuller portrait of the undercover cop. female characters. and a sharper focus on the loyalty/betrayal angle always the cornerstone of the llong Kong genre.

Eastern action star (‘how Yuri-Fat plays Ko Chow. a maverick cop pressurised into supplying guns to a

gang ol'jewel thieves when his predecessor on the case has his cover blown and is stabbed to death. Chow is a reluctant volunteer - the last time he i went undercover. his enemy became his friend. and the betrayal and subsequent death hit him hard. But despite his bad i attitude. his sense of duty is strong. even if his private life is a mess and the girl he wants to marry has flown off to Canada with a sugar daddy.

l\’e.ver'i'oir' Dogs was set in a self- referential crime movie world; City On l-ire plays out on the real streets of modern llong Kong and its neon noir night-time world. Lam‘s emphasis is on the individual hero. not the ensemble. and he's more interested in telling a story than splashing out on style. You can be sure. however. that there‘s not one drop of blood less here. as well as a satisfyineg mental bullet frenzy finale. (Alan Morrison)

City ()n Fire (/8) (Ringo [111”. Hng Kong. [987) C/toiv )iin-l'kil. Danny Lee. Sun Yen/i. [0/ mins. Mon 2—Weil 4 ()e1: Edinburgh I’ilrn/ionse.

City On Fire: ‘emphasls on the individual hero’


Balinabo f The Mountains: ‘one of the most speaks mush Ihroughom the film- tedious mms around‘ Three, the director/editor goes in fo.


If you can sit through Barnaho 0! The Mountains without yawning, you’ve got staying power: this is one of the most tedious films around. The barely- ; there story-line tells of a young forest ranger in Italy’s Dolomite mountains. He desires (oops, bit of a strong word) 3 to avenge the murder of his boss, who was killed by smugglers, and gets his opportunity when the guilty men sit unknowingly in front of his gun. But he can’t bring himself to act.

What stops this from being an exciting tale of mountain bandits and masculine conscience? Plenty. One, nothing at all happens. Two, nobody

5 As if the audience gives a shit about a

prolonged close-ups of miscellaneous natural things. For example, we watch a bird hop about on a ledge for nearly a minute. This, and other shots like it, are pointless, and the film's backers should have called a foul for time- wasting.

Above all, Barnabo 01 The Mountains is crippled by its agonised humanism.

group of smugglers it has only seen once before, even if the guys are old and poor. Personally, I wished Barnabo had massacred the lot of them in a mad display of anguish, noise and blood. If he had - now that would have been a reward for all the waiting. (Hannah Fries)

Barnabo 0! The Mountains (12) (Maria Brenfa, Italy, 1994) Marco Pauletti, Alessandra Milan, Marco Tonin. 124 mins. Subtitles. Tue 26/Wed 27.

Glasgow: CF T.


Sidney Lumet

People pay small fortunes to hear ‘experts‘ who‘ve never constructed a single frame ofcelluloid expound on how to succeed in the film industry. Now. for a few pounds. you can enjoy an in-depth series of lectures by Sidney Lumet. I mean. this is the man who made Twelve Angry Men. Dog Day Afternoon and Network. In Making Movies (Bloomsbury til-1.99). he guides us through the intricacies of coping with studios. actors. scripts. the shooting period. viewing rushes. editing in fact. every aspect involved in the creation of a motion picture. all in lucid. entertaining prose. culled from his own experiences. lndispensible.

Maybe you'd only expect two or three chapters in a book titled Quentin 'litmnrino: 'l'lze Mun And His Movies (HarperCollins £6.99). but the bandwagon has rolled on faster than that. However. Jami Bernard's biography is not the cash- in it might have been; she has thoroughly researched her subject and has exhaustively interviewed absolutely everyone who could matter. She goes beyond adulation. discovering the roots of the QT. myths.

By taking a historical overview rather than providing an A-Z encyclopedia. Bey Logan‘s Hong Kong rIt'IiU/l Cine/nu (Titan £l4.9‘)) allows the reader a better understanding of developments and trends within the Hong Kong industry. What makes the book accessible for the beginner is the inspired inclusion of highlight panels within relevant chapters. which range from star profiles to trivia lists to filmographies and recommendations. Logan conveniently breaks his subject down into sub- genres. but the overall approach reveals the flow and connections between them. making this the perfect starting point fora wider ranging and more informed exploration of what the Far East has to offer in action cinema. And. like all Titan film books. it's generously illustrated. (Alan Morrison)

The List 22 Sept-5 Oct I995 21