l dialogue that’s entertaining but pretty

meaningless. Burns has (I ; actually written a The Santa c.3088:

; .Yl'l't’f’llplU)‘. The charm ( and complexity of the ' relationships between the characters grows naturally from the words and the

! ‘unlversal festive appeal’

Three lrish-Anierican brothers in their late 20s and early 30s are each undergoing a period of adjustment in their personal lives in this strong and amiable debut by auteur Edward Burns. Debates on adultery. commitment. splitting up and fidelity are played with humour and warmth against a close family background that is fully -— but not overwhelmingly flavoured by its Catholic and working-class roots.

Last year‘s Christmas hit in the States finally emerges in Britain. showing the kind of consistent and universal festive appeal that will see it being wheeled out as a staple video gift or TV filler for some years to

Home Improvement TV star Tim Allen plays divorced toy company executive Scott Calvin. good at what he does but not overly burdened with

The Basketball Diaries: ‘dull and disappointing’

do anything, and just left him to get on with it.

The film is narrated as if by the voice i of a reformed teenage smack addict (and it is, after all, based on Caroll’s autobiographical musings), but it is mired in adult prejudice. Hence this fable about the dangers of drugs follows an inevitable downward course which embraces, but does not eitplore, the usual clichés. So we are told that soft drugs lead to hard; drugs ruin your school and sports career;

It has taken over twenty years to get a deceptively laid-back Jim Caroll’s book to the screen, but Scrforglanccf- Fa” 019C? The Basketball Diaries is dull and ‘9 a“ We 5 a c" ‘0" '3 l disa olntin . After all the hype and grabbed by Subtle” {‘"d. , his pHZvioussbrilliance in What’s f;fl‘afic'gféhffcgfg“g2? : Eating Gilbert Grape ?, even boy We... (AM) wonder Leonardo DiCaprio fails to Tire Brothers McMullen . amaze. His portrait of teenage drug- (15) (Edward Burns, US, taker and poet Caroll begins in a ' I 994) Edward Burns. " characteristically confident manner, Jae/{Mulca/tey. Michael but when Jim hits the ham stuff, , McCrlone. 97 llllIlS. From DiCapriols pedomance goes to pot. I 1'” 8‘ Glam”: MGM ' He gives it all he has, but comes

| " ° ' I i t ' r - com assion for his fellow high??? 33:33:?“ i Ciiiiiegfmn. WWW” i across as a talented drama student taking drugs is for'losers. This lazy : manFLmkmg after his ' out of his depth with an inadequate message IS dull-wrtted and i son Charles (Eric Lloyd) . . ; script and no direction. conservative. And don’t we get enough i one Christmas Eve. Scott HORROR A.‘“.“”C“J”S‘ 3”" ‘hc , Something about Jim’s agony is of it in the daily press as it is? ' confronts what he thinks ClVlI War and forward are burglars on his roof.

cringingly embarrassing, and it’s (Hannah Fries)

probably director Scott Kalvert’s fault.

When the CDT ShOIlId come, It doesn’t, The Basketball Diaries (18) (Scott and many scenes are so overlong they Kane", us, 1995) Manama DiCaprio, bewme sen'conscmus' Pe'haps Bruno Kirby, Lorraine Braceo. 102

Kellie“ W35 "Adel "‘9 . mins. From Fri 1: Edinburgh mtsapprehensron that this star could i filmhause,


Divided up into segments marking eight days in the life of one of 1930s Shanghai’s most notorious triads, Zhang Yimou’s latest is told from the point of view of a young boy, Shuisheng (Wang Xiao Xiao), who arrives from the country at the behest of his uncle. Placed as one of the underlings surrounding li Baotian’s powerful godfather Tang, his main task is to wait hand and foot on his boss’s beautiful, quick-tempered moll Xiao Jinbao (Gong Li - who else?).

At first, this new environment seems all glamour and dazzle to the peasant newcomer, but the precariousness of the gang leader’s position soon becomes apparent when Tang is v wounded in an ongoing conflict with a rival operation. The entourage is i forced to take flight to a remote i it’s never quite enough. That said, island, where tensions between the f Gong Li gets to smoulder, strut and boss and his cohorts, as well as his Q generally look fabulous. Smitten star

to New Orleans of the

present day. In the

process. Bernard Rose‘s

original Chicago-set urban

myth loses some of its

. potency. making it more

ofa straightforward

slasher movie. Still. at

E least it's on the big screen.

; Candyman 2: Farewell To

The F lesh ( [8) (Bill

( C(Illdl)", US. 1995) Tbny

l Todd, Kelly Rowan,

E William 0'1.eary. 95 mins. Front Fri I. Limited

general release.

but instead startles a fat guy with a white beard who falls to the ground with a thud. Realising that he has probably killed Santa Claus. he checks for ll). but finds only a card bearing the 'clause' ofthe title. Stating that whoever dons the suit and boots is legally bound to be Santa from that moment on. the message is clear enough. Unfortunately. Scott and Charlie read it too late and. dealing with such improbable and omniscient forces. any

I attempts to renege are


I Once this premise is

l established, Tire Santa ( Clause trots down a fairly ' familiar path. essentially g repeating those upbeat festive tales that

i encourage audiences to l





Dare you say his name. uhm. ten times now, i suppose. The one truly scary horror film from the past three years has its memory tarnished by an unnecessary sequel. Back from the dead come Tony Todd. executive producer and story originator Clive Barker and the Philip Glass score. The story goes back to the roots of the Candyman legend


Cw“ v.


believe in magic at least once a year. Allen proves an assured and competent lead. while the film plays with some of the thomier logistical problems faced by the Big Fella and gieans some irony from the conviction of Scott's ex-wife's psychologist lover that father and son have serious delusional

Shanghai Triad: l‘supe'rflclal sparkle

Dr Jekyll And his Hyde

Doctor Jekyll And Sister Hyde. a few interesting

Oh. dear. Another one of

th.‘fl.thtth .. . 0% Hm I! e aficionados may still find much to

distributor would rather keep from the eyes of the press until after it has opened and the gullible have paid their pennies. Perfume scientist Richard Jacks is bequeathed the notebooks of his great- grandfather. a certain Dr Jekyll; a few concoctions later. he's transforming himself into a female alter-ego. ln Hammer‘s

Freudian issues emerged. Don't expect that here: even the advertising line cringingly jokes ‘something's stirring in his genes‘.

Dr Jekyll And Ms Hyde

l (12) (David Price, US,

'i [995) Sean Young, 'Iim Daly, Lysette Anthony. 90 mins. From Fri 8. Limited gene ral release.

flighty girlfriend. swiftly come to a head.

It goes without saying that Zhang is effortlessly at home delivering the sumptuous gloss of these privileged lifestyles, but there seems little else i going on beneath the superficial sparkle. Sure, there’s the young boy realising that the world’s a tough place, and the gangster’s floozie getting treated as a mere chattel, yet coming from this particular source,

: enjoy; for the rest of us, it’s a not

f unwatchable diversion from a

j distinguished filmmaker who seems rather in need of a new direction.

(Trevor Johnston)

! Shanghai Triad (15) (Zhang Yimou,

; Hang Kong/China/France, 1995) Gong L], Wang Xiao Xiao, li Baofian. 108 mins. From Mon 4: Glasgow Film Theatre. From Fri 8: Edinburgh


problems. But generally. this is a film of broad strokes rather than subtle touches. and it works hard to appeal to the widest possible audience. (Anwar Brett)

The Santa Clause (U) (John Pasquin. US. I 994 ) Tim Allen. Judge Reinhold, Wendy

C rewson. 98 mins. From Fri 1. General release.

518 The List l-l4 Dec 1995