The Van reunites the Barrytown Repertory 'Company namely Roddy Doyle (of whose

is the third cinema adaptation). Stephen

Snapper). Lynda Myles (who produced all three films. starting with The

a different role in each filtn).

crew line-up have produced another unpretentious Irish kitchen sink drama. this

van business with his mate during the l990

plot addresses issues of male bonding and

working-class life over the sea from Thatcher‘s


trilogy of novels The l’an

Frears (who also directed the second instalment. Tire

Commitments) and Colm Meaney (who has played

This impressive cast and

time about an unemployed

bloke going into the chip

World Cup. Although the

The Van: ‘lacks a punch’

Britain. this is a character- driven movie with Meaney such ajoy as the Elvis-worshipping father in The ('mnntitments pulling off a hat-trick as his third Barrytown dad. Unfortunately. the filth as a whole doesn't work. lt'sjust not funny enough. the drama lacks a punch and the meandering pace doesn't help. You really want to like The Van: Doyle‘s novels are uniformly marvellous. Frears has a fine track record. fortner Edinburgh Film Festival director Myles brings in a local angle and almost any role Meaney attaches himself to sparkles. Go and see it anyway. if for no reason other than its echoes of the two earlier and greater Barrytown visits. (Miles Fielder) The Van (I 5 ) (Stephen I-‘rears. UK. I 996) Color Meaney. Donal ()‘Kellv. Ger Ryan. I ()5 mins. from Fri 29. General release.


spoof keeps close to the l930 Universal Studios


Dracula: Dead And Loving It: ‘groan-iaden'

Like Young Frankenstein. Mel Brooks‘s latest genre

version of the vampire legend. but there the similarities end. Over the years. it seems like the gagmeister‘s inspired hilarity has been consigned to Hollywood's deepest crypt. because now his jokes are as groan-laden and clumsy as a busload of zombies. Any lingering interest in the director dwindles when you realise that. as was the case with Robin Hmnl.‘ Men In 'l'ig/rts. he‘s already a good couple of years behind the current cinema fad.

Dracula: Dead And Loving It (/5) (Mel Brooks, US. I995) Leslie Nielsen, Peter MacNicol, Mel Brooks. 90 mins. [from Fri 29. General release.

Tomas Gutierras Alea's

proving to be one of the hits of this year‘s Latin American Film Festival. Three people crossing Cuba in a funeral car continually cross paths

Cuba are satirised en route.

norm MOVIE '


final film before his death receives a short run after

with a truck driver and his friend. while the political. financial and bureaucratic hurdles of contemporary

/ fluentsnemera: ‘Cuban satire’

Gratntanamera ( I 5)

( 'iinnas Gutierras Alea/ Juan Carlos Tahio. C uha/ Spain/Germany, / 995 ) Carlos Cruz. Mina Iburra, Raul Eguren. [05 mins.



Arnie. children and broad comedy made such a hideous combination in Kindergarten Cop. you can't imagine why he wanted to repeat the mix. But here it is. and what's worse. it's a ‘heartwarming' Christmas movie in which daddy Schwarzenegger braves hell. high water and the Christmas Eve crowds as a frenzied parent hoping to secure Minnesota‘s last remaining Turbo Man action figure the de rigueur present for this year‘s discerning brat-about-town.

Providing comic complications are next-door neighbour Phil Hartman‘s oily but perfect husband. Sinbad as the unhinged postie who’s Amie‘s rival in the boy-toy rush. and Robert Conrad. the veteran cop unlucky enough to get in everyone‘s way. Rita Wilson (that's Mrs Tom Hanks to you) gets the thankless task of momming it at home.

Actually. with dreck like this around. Christmas in front of The Great [Escape doesn‘t seem like such a bad option. The rutming gags are rttn itito the ground. the sundry slapstick fights. scrums and melees are lumpen in the extreme and virtually chuckle—free. and the spurious sentiments decrying the greed of the toy companies sit uneasily

with the must-have aspirations driving

Jingle All The Way: ‘dreck’

the plot along.

They don‘t even get that much mileage out of the mock Power Rangers heroics of Turbo Man. leaving .lirn Belushi‘s dodgy scam-artist Santa and his nefarious cronies (candy-stripe nunchakus swirling to the fore) to provide the only real light relief in a set-piece that swiftly degenerates into disgraceful dwarf-hashing. Have we really come to this? Cltmker all the way. (Trevor Johnston)

Jingle All The Way (I’G) (lirian Levant. US. l 996) Arnold Schii'aiteneggerz Sinbad. Phil Hartman. 90 mins. I’rmn Fri 6 Dee. General release.

. ~55; new , ’-


" 9 ,7.’



One man, two wives, two iamilles, two separate identities. While some iilmmakers might seize this material to iashion a tough drama about betrayal, bigamy and heartache, Etienne Chatlliez (director oi Life Is A long 0uiet River and fails Danielle) preters a sunnier approach to llie’s complications, opting ior a gentle, ieelgood take on male mid-liie crisis. Things are not going well ior Francis Bergeaud (Michel Serrault). The taxmen are closing in on his toilet seat iactory, the workers are gearing up tor a strike and his snobby wlie illcole (Sabine Azema) is concerned only with the details oi their daughter’s iorthcoming wedding. When a television programme that reunites missing people showcases the story oi Dolores (Carmen Maura), whose husband - a dead ringer tor Francis - disappeared quarter oi a century ago, Francls’s best pal Gerard (Eddy Mitchell) convinces him to make haste tor llolores’s goose loan in the

le Bonheur: ‘a sunnler approach to liie’s complications‘ I


idyllic countryside and pass himseli l oil as the missing man.

The tact that everybody concerned - Francis, Dolores, Gerard, tllcole - beneiit in the short and long terms irom this duplicity gives the iilm an encompassing (and slightly subversive) sense at iorgiveness and maturity. The law in real iiie might see things diiterently, but this is the movies, and so white lies are necessary tor a little iairy-tale magic.

British audiences will be drawn to the iilm out at curiosity, wondering what iootballer Eric Cantona is doing in his ilrst iilm cameo role - and, in truth, as a married rugby star courting liolores’s daughter, he’s a warm, easy- going screen presence. But the tllm belongs to Serrault, whose shltt irom hen-packed, harassed husband to comiortable countryside reiugee is as winning and subtly observed as his masteriul perionnance in llelly And Mr Amend. (Alan Morrison)

i.e Bonheur ( t 5) (Etienne chetlllez, France, 1995) Michel Serrault, Eddy Mitchell, Cannon Maura, Eric Baritone.

106 mine. Subtitles. From Fri 6 Dec.

Glasgow: EFT. Edinburgh: Cameo.


l.e Méprls: ‘the most handsome iilm ever made by Godard’

Originally released in the UK as ('ontenrpt. this welcome reissue for one of Jean-Luc Godard's ()Os peaks presents a moment where the New Wave auteur whipped up thematic texture. celluloid allusion and emotional resonance all at once.

The result is a movie that playfully tantalises the audience with hints of Brigitte Bardot‘s curves. but Godard is clearly more interested in picking through the wreckage of her marriage tojobhing screenwriter Michel Piccoli and her disdain for the way he's signed tip to do a big-budget adaptation of Homer's ()tl_\'.\‘.\‘t'\‘ just for the cash. Jack Palance is the vulgarian showman behind it all. but Godard cast himself as assistant to the director on the project. i'Till. Lang. playing himself at the very twilight of his own working career and giving voice to (iodard's reilcclions on art and

There are a welter of mythic Greek references to pick up if you want to. as cinematographer Raoul (.‘outard scans the horizon of an azure blue Mediterranean that cart hardly have changed since Homer‘s day. Certainly. it‘s the most handsome film ever made by Godard the reluctant pictorialist. while the half-hour argument in the couple's flat is presented with a sheer audacity often absent from today‘s rnoviemaking. George Delerue's score. brooding and lyrical. you may recognise from Scorsese’s Casino. which lifted it from the orginal soundtrack. A milestone. no less. (Trevor Johnston) Le Mépris ( I5) (Jean-Luc Godard. F rance/Italy, I963) Brigitte Barr/0t. Michel Piccoli. Jack Palance. [03 mins. Subtitles. Mon 9—Wed ll Dec. Glasgow: GFT

22 The List 29 Nov-l2 Dec l996