Jack: ‘an appalling concept ior an uplifting
DRAMA I l
! Jack marks another low in the erratic career oi Francis Coppola. Those who look into it tor a hint oi the dark brilliance that created The Godfather will be truly dismayed. ills latest iilm is pap - ‘Coppolaesgue’ perhaps in its sentimental attachment to family, but utterly banal in plotting and morality. Robin Williams plays Jack, a ten- year-old with a genetic disorder that causes him to physically age tour times taster than the rest oi us. Couldn’t anybody see that this is an appalling concept for an upliiting kids’ movie? Jack’s condition has such unmistakably horriiic implications - the child will die young in an ancient body - that no amount oi
cheery sermonising can send us away ieeling happy.
Yet the horror is denied in iavour oi a ieelgood spiritual theme, literally preached at the end, to the eiiect that ‘we can learn irom people who aren’t like us’. A iair enough point, but you have to ask: is that it? Only in a world as trite as this one would ten-year-old children love and respect a classmate who is six ieet tall and shaves.
You don’t have to be very cynical to think that this iilm is about as convincing as a middle-aged man pretending to be ten. Poor big, hairy Robin Williams: the eager sincerity with which he crawls around in a pair oi Power Rangers pyjamas is beyond embarrassing. (llannah Fries)
Jack (PC) (Francis Ford Coppola, US, 1996) Robin Williams, Diane Lane, Jennifer lopez. 113 mins. From Fri 11. General release.
LONE STAR ‘
There‘s plenty of macho posturing. bar- room drinking. brawls and rocking Tex- Mex music in John Sayles's new murder mystery thriller. Be warned. however: this is muscular but not rnacbo ﬁlmmaking. The film’s strength originates in its complex storytelling and the sheer scope of the social and political issues it tackles.
New. literally uncovered evidence concerning a 30-year-old crime drags Texan border town sheriff Sam Deeds begrudgingly into a homicide investigation. dredging up an altogether more unsavoury image of his dead father — a former sheriff and town hero — following his ousting of Kris Kristofferson‘s corrupt lawman. Meanwhile. the white re-writing of Mexican history is being challenged in
school. the town's WASP-dominated
“political structure crumbles. and relations with the nearby military base turn violent.
There are yet more sub-plots. past and
messy melodramatic end of the TV
counterpoints and strengthens the others. Sayles's writerly craft (he's also a novelist and a screenwriter-for-hire) melds the alternating plots and ﬂashbacks into a seamless and riveting drama. So dense with meaning and theme is the film‘s plotting. there‘s barely room to mention the auteur‘s directorial ﬂourishes or the cool and measured. passionate and sincere performances that Sayles elicits from his ensemble cast. Lone Star‘s wide and deep resonance is felt long after leaving
Lone Star (/5) (John Sayles. US. 1996) C liris Cooper. Elisabet/t Pena. Kris
K risiof/ersmr [35 mins. From Fri ll. Glasgow: CF]? Edinburgh: l-‘ilmliouse.
Lone Star is not at the
Each storyline re-inforces.
lone Star: ‘dense with meaning and theme’
Fallen Angels: ‘loves playing with big screen perspectives’
ARTHOUSE DRAMA FALLEN ANGELS
Currently hailed in all the right quarters as the deiinition oi cinematic cool, Wong llar-Wai’s latest lilm is a companion piece to last year’s Chungking Express (recently broadcast on Channel 4). Similar in style, setting and theme to that arthouse hit, Fallen Angels is darker in tone, containing more graphic violence and a more psychologically disturbed set oi would-be lovers than its predecessor.
llitman Ming is happy to have his jobs - and his liie - pro-arranged ior him by a iemale boss who is obsessively in love with him. Nevertheless, he decides to retire and takes up with another girl. Mute petty crook lle Zhiwu opens locked shops in the middle oi the night and intimidates customers into buying lrom him, but deep down he’s Just looking tor romance, as he discovers when he helps out Charlie, a girl distraught because her boyiriend is marrying someone else. And so the lives oi all concerned casually overlap against the neon-soaked nlghtscapes of downtown llong Kong.
You won’t see a better looking, more distinctively shot iilm this year. Its irames distorted by close-ups in a wide-angle lens, Fallen Angels is a lilm that loves playing with big screen perspectives. Equally skewed are the worldviews and emotions oi the characters, while their unrooted existences are reilected in Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle’s restless hand-held shots. ln iact, the last pacing and deliberately coniusing inter-cutting between storylines give the sense oi exciting lives that are a traction away from being out oi control.
In style and theme, it’s also a iilm about suriace image. Frequently we are shown scenes dramatised as the wish iuliilment oi the characters instead oi how they really happened, emphasising the artiiiciality oi all that’s going on. likewise, Wong goes for a )ust-ior-the-sake-oi-it approach to the look oi certain scenes. The result is cinema at its most audacious and enjoyable. (Alan Morrison)
Fallen Angels (15) (Wong liar- Wei, Ilong Kong, 1995) Leon Lei, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Michele lieis. 94 mlns. Subtitles. From Fri 11 . Edinburgh:
ANIMATION A GOOFY MOVIE“
A Gooiy Movie: ‘lots oi nice touches’
It's hard to be cool when your dad's Goofy. Now, all parents are an embarrassment. but would-be hip teenager Max. smitten by a cute redhead called Roxanne. has more to bear than most. even though his father is wholly well- intentioned.
ln Disney's latest animated ﬂick. Goofy at last gets to play the lead. trying his hardest to be a good parent to a son who actually suffers nightmares that he might turn into his dad. When a school prank designed to raise Max‘s street cred goes wrong. Goofy is warned by the school principal that. if he doesn’t bring his son up right. the boy will end up in the electric chair. Dad then decides that a cross- country ﬁshing trip is the perfect bonding experience.
Trouble is. Max has a ﬁrst date fixed with Roxanne and. in making his excuses. tells a whopper that is going to be hard to conceal. The lesson to be learnt is that deceipt is a very bad thing. and it all comes right in the end. with Max facing up to his wrong doings and learning to appreciate dad’s finer qualities.
There are lots of nice touches on the incident packed journey — l was tickled to see Goofy owned a Mickey Mouse telephone — which takes in a hilarious encounter with the not-so-mythical Big Foot. a visit to a spoof Disneyland called Lester's Possum Park. and a rollercoaster ride on top of a runaway car which careers through a raging torrent to almost certain doom. Animation is well up to standard, the songs don’t irritate, and there's more than enough going on to keep restless kids and accompanying adults amused. One thing though. whatever happened to Mrs Goofy? (Sue Greenway)
A Goofv Movie (U) (Kevin Lima. US, I996) With the voices of Bill Fannelz Jason Marsden, Jim Cummings. 74 mins. F mm l I Oct. General release.
The List 4- l7 Oct 199623