Set up in 1992 by the Scottish Film Production Fund and BBC Scotland.
the Tartan Shorts scheme '
has proved to be a remarkably successful proving ground for emerging Scottish talent. While 1993's trio included the Academy Award-winning Fran:
K ajku 's I! 's‘ A Wonderﬂd Life. l994‘s were. on the whole. disappointing: too similar in tone. they failed to excite. The same cannot be said of this year's crop.
Stevan Rimkus's evocative Dancing stars an admirably crumpled Sylvia Syms as an old woman confined in her Glasgow bedsit. Dying of cancer. she relieves her pain by drinking morphine and whisky cocktails while dreaming 'of her youth and dancing to the bittersweet music of The lnkspots. Trapped in the rude and intrusive 90s. she holds on to her memories of an earlier. more romantic time.
Given the budgetary limits of a Tartan Short. the makers of The Pen must have found ScotRail much more cooperative than most of its customers. Set almost entirely on a train travelling north from lnverness. this perfectly choreographed and occasionally amusing film follows a passenger‘s (Bill Paterson) desperate quest for a pen. Largely free of dialogue. The Pen uses a specially composed score by Chic Medley to set its tone and. as a result. feels slightly dated. Saved by
Fridge: ‘power and lmmediacy’
l its length. it is too short to 1 be annoying. but only just. in contrast. Peter Mullan‘s l-‘ridge could go , on for much longer. so i absorbing and realistic are its characters. With more expletives than the rest of BBC Scotland's I995 output combined. l-‘ridge follows two homeless ; alcoholics' struggle to free a small boy trapped in a fridge that's been abandoned in a Glasgow back court. With perfect performances by Gary Lewis and Vicki Masson as the alcoholics and spartan black-and-white photography. Mullan uses the power and immediacy of the short film format to full effect. Painfully human. Fridge shows a deep compassion for all its characters. irrespective of their faults. By far the most impressive of the three films. it has already attracted a great deal of critical acclaim. winning the Best Short Film prize at Canada's Atlantic Film Festival, as did Peter Capaldi’s Franz Kafka 's It's A Wonderful Life prior to its Oscar success. Whether all three of the films can or should play in one programme is open to question. Their differences are so extreme that it is unlikely that all three will appeal to everyone but. equally. most people should find at least one worth the price of admission. (David Smith) Tartan Shorts ( 18) 60 mins. Fri 20—5101 22: Edinburgh F ilmhoase. Wed 23: Glasgow Film Theatre.
IIEIIDIIIIIIIIIIIIIII UNDER SIEGE 2
Die Hard did the tower block and the airport. Speed had the bus. Under Siege the boat. But in the immortal words of Jimmy Saville. this is the age ofthe train. so it was only a matter of time
before the tnodern action movie took to
the tracks. ()f course. cinema and railways have a long history. front Freudian images of long. sleek locomotives sliding into the hidden depths of dark tunnels. to the claustrophobic carriages of .llurder ()n The Orient Express and The lady vanishes. Whether or not Steven Seagal has anything new to add is up for debate.
The soft-spoken action man returns as former Navy SEAL and gourmet chef Casey Ryback. but don't expect much in the way of character development. Here. he's travelling with his niece (Katherine Heigl). shortly after the death of her father. on a train through the Rockies when computer genius Travis Dane (Eric Bogosian) and a troop of vicious mercenaries stage a hijack. While on the move. Dane takes control of a secret government satellite which has the firepower to destroy entire cities at a single go. Placing Washington in his sights. he demonstrates his power to the authorities. and it's up to Ryback and a dodgin stereotyped black potter (Morris Chestnut) to save the free world.
Seagal is probably the most huniourless of the action heroes (although at last he scents to be able to poke at little fun at himself). and there‘s no way that his gentle whisper could be mistaken for sensitive acting. That said. Bogosian is the latest addition to the Screen Villain Hall of Fatne. and. as a totally charismatic nutter. a much more
e . ll"
g; 3 ' q ( ) t
I. :' “Vi/M)
watchable presence than Seagal. it may begin badly -— the very first seconds blast us with a [i'tllilpcl fanfare ' that suggests our hero has ideas above his station — but the confines of the train are put to good use. there are plenty of hairy moments running along the roof and hanging over gulleys. and the climactic crash delivers the goods in a manner that Die Hard Wii/I .Il l’wgeanee failed to do. ‘.»\ssuniption is
; the mother of all fuck—ups.‘ states the psychotic Bogosian at one point; but
with Under Siege 2. it's pretty safe to
promises is indeed up there in all its explosive glory. (Alan Morrison)
i Under Siege 2 (/8) ((Ieoﬂ‘lllro'p/rv. l’S.
[995) Sleven Seagal. lfrie Bogosian. Katherine Heigl. 9‘) mins. l’rom Fri 27. General release.
assume that the action and excitement it
‘there are plenty of hairy moments running along the roof and hanging over gulleys, and the climactic crash delivers the goods in a manner that Die Hard With A Vengeance failed to do’
Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne (Stacey Dash) are your average Beverley Hills high school girls. Both named after famous chanteuses, they are beautiful, fashionable and spoilt to distraction. Their popularity is tainted only by the jealousy of their fellow pupils. Their idea of a good deed is giving ‘Iosers’ a makeover and matchmaking between their teachers ill order to raise everyone’s grades and lower their homework load.
Cher thinks she’s pretty street smart and prides herself in passing on her wisdom to those around her - especially her frumpy friend Tai (Brittany Murphy) and her square step- brother Josh (Donald Faison). Until, that is, the complicated world of teenage romance floors her and it turns out that Cher herself is clueless.
Written and directed by Amy Heckerling, Clueless has all the ingredients of a smash hit teen movie: gorgeous stars, expensive clothes, swanky parties and a swinging soundtrack. It went down a storm across the Atlantic and follows in the footsteps of Bill and Ted and Wayne’s World as the latest dialect of American Teenspeak. Phrases like ‘and I’m all’ and ‘postal’ are sweeping
the nation - let’s hope it doesn’t happen over here.
Clueless’ tongue-in-cheek attitude will probably delight all enemies of Beverley Hills 90210 but, unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything that Heathers didn’t do better. The humour is far too gentle, the characters far too nice (although Alicia Silverstone is quite brilliant) and the overall effect is far too pleasant. It’s unashamedly brainless, glamorous and, when it boils down to
Clueless (12) (Am y Heckerling, US, .1995) Alicia Silversfone, Stacey Dash, Britanny Murphy. 98 mins. From Fri 20.
it, nothing more than Iikeable fun. (Gill
‘clueless’ tongue-in- cheek attitude will probably delight all enemies of Beverley Hills 90210 but, unfortunately, it doesn‘t do anything that Heathers didn’t do better.
22 The List 20 Oct-2 Nov 1995