After the police are unnecessarily heavy- handed when a black community in Oakland fortns a vigil for a young boy killed in a traffic accident. the seeds are sown for the Black Panther Party For Self Defence. During the late 60s. at a time when the country was still unsettled by the assassinations of Kennedy. King and Malcolm X. the Panthers provided food for America's black citizens and empowered them with a sense of their true heritage. They also became Public Enemy Number One as far as Hoover and the FBl was concerned.
Director Mario Van
Peebles makes this polemieal retelling of
7 history entertaining and i approachable by ﬁltering
real life events through a fictionalised story of one young man. Melvin Van
'. Peebles' politieised script never loses its bite: it is
forthright in its accusations and
' uncompromising in its
depiction of injustice. To
.' many. the Black Panthers
were an intimidatory para- military organisation.
dressed in black leather
and sporting guns; it is to
the filmmakers’ credit that the audience is able to get beyond this surface image to a heart-felt truth. See
feature. (Alan Morrison)
Panther (18) (Mario Van I’eebles‘, US. I995)
K atleem Hardison. Bokeem Woodbine, Courtney B. Vance. 124
mitts. From Fri [0.
Limited general release.
living In Oblivion: ‘not lust for the buffs’
lIVING IN OBLIVION
For his long-awaited follow-up to Johnny Suez/e. Tom DiCillo casts an eye on the trials and tribulations facing a dedicated (but increasingly exasperated) crew making a low budget movie. Obviously. this one is from the heart. and all the details of professional life are presented in a subtle blend of affection and derision. Living In Oblivion may fall into the film-within-a- film genre. but it's uotjust for the buffs: anyone who has worked in a team environment or tried their hand at any artistic endeavour will connect with the escalation of
group jealousies and
affairs. the sheer energy that takes you from A to B
The cast have obviously drawn on years ofclosely observed experience. and
pitch their performances at a level that perfectly
’ complements DiCillo‘s
script. At a time when the US indie movie has lost a little of its innocence at the sullied hands of Hollywood. this is a refreshing release which restores the viewers' faith in that unpredictable end of the film spectrum where enthusiasm often outweighs art. See feature. (Alan Morrison)
Living In Oblivion ( 15) (Tom DiCillo, US. [995) Steve Buscemi. Catherine K eener, Derntot Mulroney. 98 mins. Front Fri I 0.‘ Edinburgh Cameo.
l l l
Trident missiles containing eight
: nuclear warheads apiece at their fingertips. If Boris blows his nukes off. j at least he'll get the same in return.
reality to be funny (imagine if the Serbs
gayness. Made for Spielberg’s Amblin
Entertainment production company, To minor problems. the inter- ;
ACTION THRILLER CRIMSON TIOE
After a brief flirt with glasnost. the Hollywood Red has climbed back into his bunker. This time. bolshie Boris is a rebel Russian nationalist general with his mitts on the nuclear trigger and his eyes on the Kremlin. Armageddon seems certain. but before you can scream ‘Dive! Divel‘. Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman have put to sea in the nuclear submarine USS Alabama. Now they have 24
Crimson 'Iide is a prime slab of big screen Friday night entertainment: a nightmare scenario almost too close to
hadhad a nuclear capability). two top stars acting their socks off and a director who knows how to get the most from his big budget effects. Washington is superb as the post-Cold
War wan‘ior. Lt Commander Hunter. A youthful philosopher. he is guided as tnuch by logic and psychology as gut reaction. Hackman is his battle- hardened chiefCaptain Ramsey representing the old school of ‘shoot first. question later‘ warfare. Isolated beneath the waves. they wait. fingers faltering over that button in a deadly game of nuclear chicken. As conflicting commands come over the radio. old vies with new for control of the Alabama and the future of the world. Hokum. to be sure. but deftly wielded
. . hokum. Despite the appalling ‘TV reportage' which tops and tails the main story. despite the crimson tide of testosterone and the unacceptable message that we still need a nuclear capability to keep the world safe. Tony Scott squeezes tension out ol'every possible twist and manages to convey both the immense size of the nuclear war machine and the claustrophobia of being trapped inside it. (Thom Dibdin) Crimson Tide (/5) ( 'Iony Scott. US. l995) (Iene Hackman. l)en:el Washington. George I):un(l:.a. [/6 mins. Fro/n Fri [0. General release.
l l i l i l
.. .. ;§§.‘~‘1‘_;¢1~a§'§-';§*< V, ‘a nightmare scenario almost too close to reality to be funny, two top stars acting their socks off and a director who knows how to get the most from his big budget effects’
DRAG DRAMA .
7 TO WONG FOO l
Three extravagant drag queens set off i on a cross-country road journey but soon get bogged down in a one-horse town. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s the first two-thirds of The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen 0! The Desert, minus the crucial final scenes in which the frock-wearing trio - and the audience — have to come to terms with their
Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar is low camp for narrow- minded Americans who think that drag queens make fine entertainers, but don’t want homosexuality rammed down their throats, as it were.
To add insult to injury, John leguizamo’s ‘little Latin boy in drag’ is the only one who looks anything like a drag queen, let alone a woman. Yet we are expected to believe that, while Patrick Swayze’s softly spoken Vida and Wesley Snipes’s squealing Noxeema have got their stocking seams straight, it is leguizamo’s Chi Chi who has her pantyhose in a twist. tlo amount of lip-pouting, hip- waggling, hand-flapping and eye- rolling could persuade anyone - let alone a hayseed town full of beer- swillin’ wife-heaters, shit-kickin’ good ol’ boys, dotty old ladies, stuttering closet gays and nice old black men - that this raggle-taggle trio are women.
Beeban Kidron, who directed the admirable Oranges Are Not The Only
Fruit slips on a banana skin with this trite, dumb, insulting comedy - she should be forced to wear high heels and pore-clogging foundation for the rest of her life. The soundtrack is bland and inoffensive, the script as subversive as Are You Being 8erved?, and the film as a whole about as perceptive as Mrs Doubtfire. Only two things save it from total disaster: Stockard Channing’s scene-stealing role as a cowed and battered wife, and Chris Penn as a homophobic cop on the trail of the three fugitives. Sad, bad and not in the least dangerous to know. (Nigel Floyd)
To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Ne wmar (P6) (Beeban Kldron, US, 1995) Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo. 107 mins. From Fri 10. General release.
‘Iow camp for narrow- minded Americans who think that drag queens make fine entertainers,
but don’t want homosexuality rammed down their throats, as it were’
20 The List 3-16 Nov l995