The Glimmer Man: ‘self-mockery'
THE GLIMMEH MAN
Although this slick. formulaic Steven Seagal action pic won't convert his die hard detractors. aﬁcionados will note that the slab-faced one has both gained weight and lightened up. Ever since he played the ship‘s cook in Ull(l(’l' Siege. Seagal has been leavening his straight man image with a pinch of humour. The magic ingredient here is Keenen ivory Wayans who. as Seagal's fast- talking. street-wise partner. allows the action man to introduce something new into the mix: self-mockery.
Art ex-Special Operations agent turned cosmic cop. Seagal's ‘Mr Love Beads‘ is thrown into relief by Wayans's tough. no nonsense cop. who gently mocks his partner‘s monk-like derneanour. wafty clothes and ‘sensitive little pony- tail‘. While Seagal cleanses his mind with Tibetan prayer beads. Wayans worships Saint
Jack — Daniels. that is. The mismatched partners are hunting a California serial killer called The Family Man. who slaughters and cruciﬁes entire Catholic families; but Seagal suspects the latest killing was the work of a pro. There are possible links to a Russian Malia outfit smuggling chemical weapons. and it gets personal when Seagal’s ex-wife and her shrink husband join the list of victims. r’\nonymous|y scripted and directed. this film at least suggests that if Seagal can ever learn to deliver a kiss-off line. he might get within shouting distance of being likeable. As his old Special Ops boss. art over-ripe Brian Cox confirms his status as the Rod Steiger of the ()(is: callously shot itt the foot and hand by Seagal. he says with genuine affection: ‘God. I miss yotr. Jack. So many young men today won't go that extra mile'. (Nigel Floyd) The Glimmer Man (/8) (Jo/tn Gray: US, I996) Steven Seagal. K eenen Ivory ll’ayans, 80/) Grotto/t. 90 mins. From Fri I. General release.
Michael Collins: ‘thoughttul, honest and gripping’
After the box office success of Interview With The Vampire arid Oscar glories of The Crying Game. Neil Jordan was finally given the financing to go ahead with his most long cherished project — a dramatic portrait of Michael Collins. the charismatic lrish Nationalist leader who mastermined the guerilla war against the imperialist British state early this century.
Jordan's iilm will. no doubt. be attacked by right-wingers. btrt it is a thoughtful. honest and gripping account of one man‘s determination and a nation's struggle to assert its own identity. Liam Neeson dominates in the title role and the supporting cast is no less impressive — Julia Roberts. Alan Rickman. Aidan Quinn. Stephen Rea. Charles Dance and lan Hart. See feature. Mie/tael Collins (/5) (Neil Jon/an. US. [996) Liam Neeson, Julia Roberts, Alan Rit'kman. /.i2 mins. Front [’11 «8’. General release.
How Ewan McGregor's 'l‘rainspot/ing followers will react to his latest outing in Brasserl ()ffis anybody's guess. Btrt they are certainly in for a surprise. Both films concern a small group of pals in a close-knit community and feature stunning musical scores. btrt there all similarities end. The pals are miners. not junkies. and lush. swelling brass band music replaces abrasive pop.
Set in a fictional Yorkshire town.
Brassed Off: ‘pithy humour and heartbreaking poignance’
Brasserl ()_[/‘is the story of six members of the Grimley Colliery Brass Band. Although it survived the strike of 1984. the still viable mine is due for closure and the band are on the brink of calling it a day when Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald). granddaughter of a famous bandleader. walks in. Her figure wins the heart of Andy (McGregor) bttt it is her liugelhorn technique which endears her to the rest of the band. particularly leader Danny (Pete l’ostlethwaite). While politics is at the heart ofthe film. with the Tories and management the obvious baddies. writer-director Mark Herman has created a moving production in the best. old-school tradition ofnorthern drama. All is rtot Grimley oop north. no matter how harshly the realities of the loss of the pit are portrayed. particularly for Phil (Stephen Tornpkinson). who loses his family. job. house. possessions and dignity. Humanity is certain to win through and Hertnan makes full use of his strong cast to create a film which. while over-episodic in structure. balances nicely between pithy humour and heartbreaking poignance. (Thom Dibdin) lirasserl (If/(l5) (Mark Herman. UK. I996) [Swan ll/leGregot: 'Iara Fitzgerald. l’ele l’osl/et/ttr'aile. /()5 mins. From l’ri /. General release.
The most depressing thing about this crude, hateful, mean-spirited film is the feeling that this is exactly the movie director Tony Scott set out to make. From Revenge to True Romance, there has always been a sadistic streak in Scott’s work, but in this abhorrent movie about a delusional stalker, it is foregrounded in a way that is utterly repellent. It’s hard to imagine what an actor of Robert De Niro’s calibre saw in a script that merely requires him to reprise, in cruder form, two of his best known roles: Rupert Pupkin in The King 0! Comedy and Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. The fact that De Niro can do this stuff in his sleep merely reinforces the sense of pointlessness. Alienated from his work as a hunting- knife salesman and separated from a wife who resents any time he spends with their young son, Gil Renard (De Niro) hones his obsession with the San Francisco Giants baseball team and their classy new $40 million signing Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes). When Rayburn hits a chronic slump, Renard
focuses on the slugger now wearing
his hero’s favoured Number Eleven shirt, Juan Primo (Benicio Del Toro), whose winning streak he plots to bring to a sudden, brutal end.
Scott claims he wanted to get inside the head of a stalker, to examine the psychology of those who become so obsessed with their heroes that they invade their private life, demanding recognition of their slavish dedication. However, since Snipes’ arrogant, abrasive ball player elicits little more sympathy than De fliro’s dysfunctional, demented stalker, one hardly cares when the fan’s rejection by his idol provokes a senselesst violent reaction.
Since the actions of De Riro’s taxi- driving Travis were the inspiration for Jody Foster stalker John Rinkley, the real-life resonances should ring loud and true. Instead, the film’s facile pop psychology is drowned out by hysterical performances, flashy images that have been cut to within an inch of their life, and a deafening soundtrack of mostly non-vintage Rolling Stones tracks. This is the ugly, unacceptable face of Hollywood cinema. (Rigel Floyd)
The Fan (18) (Tony Scott, USA 1996) Robert De lliro, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin. 117 mins. From Fri 1. General release.
‘ ‘- a
The Fan: ‘ crude, hateful, mean-spirited flim’
Fled: ‘no sense of pursuit'
Georgia convicts Larry Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin become fugitives from justice and injustice when they escape front their prison work detail. The Feds want them alive arid the Cuban Mafia wants them dead. though this distinction becomes blurred as the plot unfolds.
Baldwin knows of a computer disc with information which both sides will kill to get. and Fishburne is not what he seems (at least that’s how he‘s supposed not to seem). liventually there‘s a grand showdown or two in Atlanta. but not before l-‘lerl has crammed in just about every cliche you can think of.
As the two of them lice along. tnanacled together. it seems the recent jeans commercial on the same theme had more flair and imagination in its 30 seconds or so. l-‘leil. like the ad. is virtually just a succession ofcuts. and its story arid characters are so asinine as to make it almost watchable for its stupidity. There‘s no sense of pursuit — in fact. there's no sense. There is a feeling of a film racing otrt of its editor's hands: a suspicion that he's been told to include a snippet from each and every shot rather than to make choices.
Frill of misplaced bloodletting and drained of originality. Bled might have been a more appropriate title. Then again. if snippets of gratuitous violence (a la Walter Hill. but less accomplished) and the briefest glimpse ofnaked women are enough to sustain your interest. you may well lap it up. (Gio MacDonald)
I’lerl ( l8) ( Kevin Hooks, US, I996) Larvrenee l-‘is/t/mrne. Stephen Baldwin, Will Patton. 98 mins. From Fri 8. General release.
28 The List 1- 14 Nov 1996