' FILM VIDEOS
SMALL FACES I
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Small Faces As Oscar Wilde would no doubt have said if he was still alive and reviewing films - to have one hit is fortunate, to make it two In a row looks like a pattern is forming. Trainspotting (1B, PolyCrani) has become an international phenomenon, while Small Faces (15, Fox Build), working on a more intimate and personal level,
also impressed critics and audiences alike.
Wider Scottish agendas aside, they’re both extremely entertaining films in their own distinctive ways. The Boyle-Macdonald-Ilodge team transformed Irvine Welsh’s cult novel into an amphetamine-paced sprint through the highs and lows of heroin addiction, finding comedy in despair while taking a realistic and uncomfortany honest view of the drug issues. In Small Faces, director Gillies Mackinnon and writer-producer brother Billy iictionalised the atmosphere of their childhood in the gang-ridden Glasgow of the 60s, playing a coming-of-age story against Scottish “hard man’ myths and a warmly rendered domestic backdrop.
In different ways, both films boast an impressive visual presence and star- making performances by predominantly young casts. They also achieve that rare balance between strong local flavour and universal subject matter. A dynamite double bill. (Alan Morrison)
RETAIL THE BIG PICTURE
Body Snatche All too often, a new label repackaging titles from a back catalogue tends to be just an excuse to flog the same old stuff at bargain basement pn'ces. Not so Warner Home Video’s ‘The Big Picture‘ series. which kicks off with four excellent examples of American ﬁlmmaking.
Terrence Malick's Badlands (I8) is one ofthe key films ofthe 70s, a deglamorised account of two young lovers on a murder spree. More
romanticised than Natural Barn Killers, the filth discovers a strange poetry in its open Midwest landscapes. There's another Tarantino precursor in the colour-coded names of the hijackers in Joseph Sargent‘s taut thriller The lit/ring Ofl’elham I -2-3 ( l 5). Gunmen and passengers sweat it out in a New York subway train as Walter Matthau tries to deliver the ransom money before too many people die.
Walter Hill‘s Southern Comfort has none of the sweetness of the titular drink. Like Deliverance. it pits a band of men against a hostile environment (the Louisiana swamps) and an even more deadly set of local inhabitants. Typical Hollywood notions of bonding are thrust aside in this seat-edge survival of the fittest. The most recent film in this set is Abel Ferrara’s B()(I_)' Snatchers (I5), which gives the earlier versions a new twist. tapping into teenage coming—of—age fears over adult conformity. (Alan Morrison)
All titles an The Big Picture label are priced [5. 99.
RENTAL RENTAL RELEA I : 2
Some of the best big screen treats of 1996 have made It to video in the past few weeks, with something to tlngle the tastebnds of every generation. children will be spellbound by the special effects wizardry of Jumanli (PC, Columbia Tristar), as Ilobin Williams tries to regain control over a [tingle-full of animals let loose from a magic board game. The richness of
colour and sheer love of storytelling found In A little Princess (ll, Warner) Is also a good bet for superior kids entertainment.
Adult viewers can wallow in Clint Eastwood’s mature weepie The Bridges at Madison County (12, Warner); dream of scoring with Sean Bean (In a football sense) in the sturdy ‘Boy of the Ilovers’ drama When Saturday Comes (15, Fox Cuild); be dragged into the brutal realities facing a young bicycle-taxi driver on the streets of Vietnam in Cycle (1 8, Entertainment In Video); or indulge in gun-totin’ mayhem south of the Tex- Mex border alongside Antonio Banderas in Desperado (1 B, Colrnnbia Trlstar).
There’s more shooting, but with serious consequences, ln Spike Lee’s much under-rated urban drama Blockers (1 8, CIC) and in Michael Mann’s magisterial cops-and-robbers epic fleet (1B, Warner), in which the long-awaited pairing of Ilobert Be Iliro and Al Pacino certainly didn’t fall short of expectations. (Alan Morrison)
e a‘... *‘ .',._ g RETAIL
I Boy Meets Girl (l5) Various young lovers make heartfelt but futile romantic gestures through the night as Alex contrives to meet Mireille at a party. If A Man Aml A Woman gave international audiences a sense of French filmmaking of the 6()s. Boy Meets (Iirl. as the name suggests. opened doors to a younger generation in the 80s. Leos Carax. director of Les Atttattts Du I’mtt-N 'uj' fills his gloriously stylised monochrome movie with pretensions and self- defiating humour. as well as some beautiful moments of sheer cinematic elegance. (Artificial iiye £l5.99) I Arizona Dream ( l5) Director Emir Kuslurica brings a European sense of the surreal to the heart of America as Johnny Depp leaves behind his job — looking into the souls and dreams of fish — in order to work with his uncle (Jerry Lewis) as a car salesman. The American Dream as seen through an outsider's eye and rendered in astonishing widescreen photography. this is one of those surprise punches that cinema throws every now and then just to check you‘re paying attention. See Competitions page. (Electric/PolyGram ii I 5.99) I Crapston Villas ( l5) Like all TV soap compilations watched in one go. it becomes clear that the story How suits shorter instalments. That said. this animated tale from the makers of Spitting Image features broader stereotypes than its real-life equivalents. which allows for a tnore adult touch of humour and some sharper comments on 90s life. All the goings-on in the south London tenement on one tape. so pop round for a visit whenever the fancy takes you. (Channel 4 £l2.99) I Ivan The Terrible Parts 1 8 2 (PG) Sergei Eisenstein‘s historical epic brilliantly combines political intrigue and domestic melodrama. Best of all is the film's visual expressionism: close-ups of dramatically lit faces alternate with majestic long shots — the rake-thin
lvan looking out of a narrow window as his people snake their way over the plains to his palace. (Tartan £ I 5.99 each) I Mikey & Ilicky ( 15) Any pairing of John Cassavetes and Peter Falk is worth looking out for. but this anti-buddy noir thriller by Elaine May is a particular treat. Cassavetes. a small-time hood convinced there's a contract out on him. calls up Falk for support. but almost immediately we witness their friendship unravel. ls Falk part ofthe ; hit‘.’ Is he being setup by Cassaveles'.’ A tense. I funny. brilliantly acted masterclass. (Connoisseur 5. £12.99) L I The Devil, Probably ( I8) A Parisian student. determined not to interact with a world that disgusts him. engineers his own suicide. Robert Bresson‘s movie debates with the audience purely on an intellectual level and doesn‘t allow for any emotional involvement. Like its protagonist. it shuts itselfoff in a world of abstractions. Filth as cod liver oil: you know it's good for you. but you have to force it down. (Artificial Eye £l5.99) I Seduction Of A Priest (IS) Madrid. I743. and dedicated priest Paul ‘ McGann faces the ; Spanish Inquisition after f he‘s gotten hot under the collar with Sophie Ward. a ' young woman passing herself off as a novice monk with a Cornish accent. Hmm. perhaps it seemed like a good idea at the time. or maybe the weather was good in ; Madrid that year. but this ' Spanish-British co- production is utterly lacking in the heightened atmosphere of. say. The Name Oj'Tlte Rare. 1 (Arrow £9.99) ; I The Celluloid Closet ( I5) An impressive array of stars and writers turn out for this accessible
examination of gay and lesbian relationships through the history of the movies - from Laurel and Hardy to Thelma & thillh't’. At first portrayed as something to laugh. pity or be afraid of. homosexuality eventually forced its way to the foreground. Aside from a treasure trove of fascinating clips. this made-for-TV documentary underlines the cultural impact that cinema has in reflecting or downgrading its
audience‘s lives. See
Competitions page. (Electric/PolyGram
£ l 5.99)
I Wanda ( l5) Actress Barbara Loden's only film as writer-director is a remarkable depiction of a lost soul stumbling through an empty life. When Wanda divorces. she falls in with a bullying petty criminal. and hopes only to achieve a sense of purpose and worth. Feminists attacked the movie for the passiveness of its heroine but. looking back. Loden‘s portrait of the despair inherent in so many lives is brave and perceptive. (Connoisseur ii I 2.99)
I Invasion Of The Body Snatchers ( 15 ) This second version of the pod invasion story is given more of a sci-ii edge than the others. inhabiting a 'Iivilight Zane world of adult paranoia. Director Philip Kaufman unsettles the viewer with a creepy soundtrack of odd music and noises — and the first time you hear those siren- like screams of accusation. they‘ll make your skin crawl. (Beyond Vision £l2.99)
I Coodbye lady liberty (l2) Another adventure starring playboy thief Wolf Ill. and once again it's top entertainment. There‘s more of a caper edge here as the search for the world's largest diamond takes our hero through a range of action- filled landscapes. Also from M anga comes a new three-part series following on from earlier AD Police tales. Bubblegum Crash (l2). Four female vigilantes defend Mega Tokyo against a cyber- conspiracy that's hitting the city's banks. Unfortunately. the TV- standard animation and cutesy characters aren't as hi-tech as the story. (Manga f l 3.99/£9.99)
am. Lady liberty
22 The List 6- l9 Sept I996