Muppet Treasure Island: ‘
MDPPET TREASURE ISLAND
Hollywood's relentless plundering of the classics of British literature continues apace. but few efforts will be as amusing as this jolly romp from the home of Kertnit. Miss Piggy and friends. Perhaps the formula has been revitalised by the absence of the Muppets from our TV screens, because. where their early ﬁlms relied heavily on audiences knowing and liking the stock cast. Muppet Treasure Islam] allows for a gentle spoof of an old favourite.
On a stormy night at the Benbow inn. young Jim Hawkins (Kevin Bishop) and his friends Gonzo and Rizzo The Rat — characters that Robert Louis Stevenson would surely have included if only he'd thought of them - first learn of Captain Flint’s treasure tnap. With Billy Connolly playing the ill-at-ease Billy Bones. this opening sequence is at once faithful to the
gags and knockabout action'
book yet hilarious in its extraneous detail.
From here. Jim. Gonzo and Rizzo decide to take Flint’s map and go hunting for treasure. Their adventure takes them to exotic places in dubious company. with Fozzie playing the ditnwitted Squire Trelawney. Kermit playing Captain Stnollett and Miss Piggy stranded on the island as Benjamina Gunn. Smollett‘s old flame.
Treasure Island was never like this, but that’s part of the film’s appeal. Although never able to match the breathless first half for gags and knockabout action. the film tells its basic story pretty well. Above all. Tim Curry's rip-roaring turn as Long John Silver — part Robert Newton. part Rocky Horror - is a delight. Way over the top and great fun for children. it manages to be surprisingly effective for adults too. (Anwar Brett) Muppet Treasure Island ( PG) (Brian Henson, UK/US. 1996) Tim Curry, Kevin Bis/top, Billy Connolly. [02 mitts. F I‘Olti Fri 24. General release.
Down Periscope: ‘su
Das Boot, The Hunt For Red October, Crimson Tide . . . and now this. A proud line of submarine cinema takes a dive with this strained slapstick bout of Police Academy-style shenanigans. which is unlikely to bring big screen glory to Cheers and Frazier star Kelsey Grammar. That said. he's the best thing in this
bmarlne cinema takes a dive’
cringemaking comedy about a navy commander given the unenviable task of making a ramshackle sub and its equally scabby crew into a shipshape fighting unit. Even normally colourful actors like Bruce Dern and Harry Dean Stanton can‘t put colour in the cheeks of their characters.
Doth Periscope (PG) (David S. Ward. U5. I995) Kelsey Grammar. Lauren Holly. Bruce Dent. I 00 mitts. Front Fri 28. General release.
g l 4‘1... , ks.--
MOONLIGHT AND VALENTINO
One day in I988. Jeff Bishop. the husband of Ellen Simon. went out jogging. got hit by a car and died instantly. Ellen. daughter of playwright Neil Simon. somehow got through the next nightmare weeks with the help of her younger sister. her stepmother and her best friend. Moonlight And Valentino. originally a play. recounts part of that tragic story. The names have been changed - and some of the circumstances — bttt it is really a testament to the support Simon received from the coterie of females who enabled her. in her own words. to
have ‘the big cry'. i
Rebecca (Elizabeth Perkins) is the shell-shocked widow; Lucy (Gwyneth Paltrow) her chain-smoking. hung-up. virginal sister; the eccentric best friend is Sylvie (Whoopi Goldberg). who has three kids and a disintegrating marriage; and the ex-stepmom is Wall Street executive Alberta (Kathleen Turner). sharp suited. hard as nails. limo-driven. but still well intentioned. We‘re big on female bonding here. although there are a few rows and bothers on the way. Everybody rallies round and there are a number of sessions on the porch over a glass or two. but the catalyst is the house painter (Jon Bon Jovi in his movie
debut) hired by Alberta as a birthday
Moonlight And Valentino: ‘an intelligent weepie’ present to give Rebecca‘s home a new look. Rebecca‘s grief and gtiilt. the trauma of Lucy‘s feelings of inadequacy. Sylvie‘s distress about her marriage and Alberta's attempts to be a proper mother culminate Iii an extraordinary graveyard scene. The American way of handling bereavement may not be what we‘re used to. btit director David Anspaugh has pulled off an intelligent weepie. I’m still crying. (Sue Greenway) lWootI/ig/tl .‘lllt/ Vuletilitio (l5) ll)(ll'f(l tltispattg/t. US. I‘d/3') [Ll/Hibt’I/I I’et’kitts. lWIUU/il Goldberg. (in-ytteI/t l’allron: NH ttiitts. I‘t'ttlll Fri 28. (iettet'a/ release.
Mission Impossible: ‘two bravura set-pieces and a dumb finale’
‘ ACTION THRILLER
Driven by Tom Cruise’s star power, a formidable publicity campaign, and fond memories of the 603 TV series and its catchy theme tune, this cool spy thriller swept all before it at the US box office. Yet the lavish production values and exotic locations cannot disguise the fact that it consists of little more than two bravura set-pieces and a dumb finale separated by yards and yards of complicated, uninvolving plot.
When his entire espionage team is wiped out during a seemingly routine operation, Ethan IIunt (Cruise) finds himself cast adrift In Prague, ‘disavowed’ as a possible mole and on the run from his former colleagues. Ilsing his patented disguises, Ilunt goes undercover, recruits fellow ‘disavowees’ Iirieger and [other (Ving
Ithames and Jean Iieno), and employs ‘
a series of clever double-bluffs to flush out the real double agent. Since this involves, among other things, stealing a top secret list of operatives from CIA headquarters, their specialist skills are stretched to the limit.
Many punters have complained that the script by Ilavid Koepp (Jurassic ,Park) and Robert Towne (Chinatown) is hard to follow, but the more crucial problem is that you don’t give a damn about any of the figures being moved about on this dazzlineg designed chess board. Equally damaging, with the exception of the two set-pieces, this updated version iettisons the TV series’ trademark team-work in favour of a 90s paranoia in which nobody (not even your closest colleague) is to be trusted. Like the brilliant CIA break-in sequence, it’s slick, shiny and cold. (Iligel Floyd)
Mission: Impossible (P6) (Brian De Palma, US, 1996) Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béarf. 110 mins.
From Fri 5. General release.
UNE FEMME rnAncArss
Une Femme Francaise: ‘laughably ill-)udged’
Having previously planted Catherine Deneuve in the colonies for the lush. flaccid. surprise Oscar- winner [III/(tt'lilllc’. writer- director Regis Wargnier reserves an even worse fate for Emmanuelle Béart in this laughably ill- judged traipse through the emotional minefield of an army marriage.
Wed in the summer of l93‘). Jeanne (Beart) and French lieutenant Louis (Daniel Auteuil) share otin the briefest connubial bliss before he spends the next live years in a German POW catnp. His release finds him returning to a fatnin shocked by his wife‘s philandering. and the two are otin just reconciled before the next set of orders sends them both off to Berlin. While Louis joins the occupying French forces. Jeanne finds herself hankering after her German landlord‘s son Matthias (Gabriel Barylli). a passion that brings unanswerable conflict between her longing for independence. her love for her three children. and the stability of her life with her husband.
Béart scrabbles for the merest sketch of a role. she pouts. plunges the neckline. stamps. and is altogether desperate. She and Auteuil split as a real- life couple sometime during the production. and it shows in the corrosive chemistry between them. Elsewhere Patrick Doyle’s Wagnerian score only makes matters worse. How the director can claim to have based this on his own mum. we'll never know. (Trevor Johnston)
Utte F etnme F rattg'aise (l8) (Regis Wargnier. Fntttce/Gertnatrt/UK. I996) Emtttattuelle Be'art, Daniel Auteuil, Gabriel Barylli. 98 mitts. Subtitles. F rottt Fri 5. Glasgorr': OFT Edinburgh:
F i ltn/touse.
26 The List 28 Jun- I l Jul I996