Everett Scott, Jonathan Schaech, Steve Zahn and Ethan Embry make appropriate choices for four unknowns in pursuit of fame and fortune. So too is the renowned Tom llanks playing record label executive Mr White, the man with the power, the status and the inﬂuence. Nevertheless, That Thing You Do! sadly embraces nothing new. From The Commitments to Backbeat, the story of young musicians subjected to the destructive power of success and ambition is an over- documented theme. Even the token pretty girlfriend role is there in the part of Faye (liv Tyler).
With a rousing, catchy number as its theme song and with flanks as director, this colourful film is worth a view. llowever, for originality, look elsewhere because That Thing You Do! is that thing which has been done too often before. (Beth Williams)
That Thing You Do! (PG) I Tom lianks, US, 19%) Tom Everett Scott, liv Tyler, Tom Hanks. 107 mins. From Fri 24.
‘ ROCK ’N’ ROLL COMEDY
THAT THING You I10!
‘llni cha-cha um cha, do that thing you do.’ Expect to hear this ditty more than once over the coming months. It’s the theme song for Tom llanks’s directorial debut, That Thing You 00!, a foot-tapping tale about the rise and fall of a rock ’n’ roll hand.
It’s 1964, and the rock ’n’ roll craze is sweeping the States. Four guys from Philadelphia, calling themselves The Wonders, dream of the big time as they enthusiastically rehearse their music. From suffering overbearing iet noise problems at their first gig near the local airport, to the excitement of their first radio broadcast, they experience ups and downs as they try to secure a foothold in the world of rock music. However, as fame ' beckons, personal ambitions start rising to the fore and inter-band loyalties begin to falter.
Group effort: Tom llanks and his band In
That Thing You 00! In the lead roles. rising stars Tom General release. scenes from Richard III. It’s here that a generally intriguing. offbeat oddity ofa
ﬁlm goes sadly offthe rails as we are subjected to the kind of discussion and textual illumination that was part and parcel of Higher English.
It's all a noble effort that adds up to a deeply flawed and ultimately rather self-indulgent ﬁlm that isn‘t likely to secure a new audience for the Bard or appear as anything less than patronising to those already enamoured. Saddest of all is when Pacino gets around to acting the title character and one is all too readily reminded oftwo things. One is Many Feldman‘s immortal performance in Young Frankenstein. The other is a previous review of a Pacino stage performance that went ‘Richard III. Pacino nil‘. (Allan Hunter)
Looking For Richard (I 5) (Al Pacino. US. I 996) Al Pacino. Winona Ryder. Alec Baldwin. [/2 mins. From Fri 3 I Jan. Glasgow: GFT Edinburgh:
LOOKING FOR RICHARD
Al Pacino has a passion for Shakespeare. His love ofthe language. blood-soaked family tragedies and larger-than-life characters can be traced from a boyhood enthusiasm to its manifestation in such screen performances as Michael in The Godfather trilogy and Tony Montano in .S'r'ar/ace. It‘s a passion that isn‘t necessarily shared with the great American public. who are more likely to flock to Rocky IV than Richard III. Hence this proselytising documentary that is part beginner‘s guide to the Bard. and pan thespian navel-gazing. Scurrying round New York and Stralford communicating with the people. Pacino also quizzes a hearty selection of British luvvies including a wonderfully imperious John Gielgud. Pacino then rallies round a few chums to chew over the text and enact some
To play the king: Al Pacino In Looking For Illchard
so he can then offer to rid the town of the troublesome poltergeists. Through
a chance meeting, Frank crosses THE FBIGHTENERS paths with troubled recluse Patricia Peter Jackson’s follow-up to the Bradley (Ilee Wallace Stone), a harrowing Heavenly Creatures mother-dominated woman who, as a
confirms him as one of the Innovative filmmakers currently working in the fantasy genre. At first, this sfx- saturated scare-fest looks like a return to the lokey, slapstick horror- comedy of Braindead. lleslccated spooks cause beds to levitate, frying pans to whack unsuspecting husbands on the head, and gurgling infant children to fly in a holding pattern around the living room. But just as you’ve settled into this comfortably humorous groove, it suddenly flips over into a dark, disturbing horror movie about a serial killer who has returned from beyond the grave. Charlatan parapsychologist Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) is in cahoots with a trio of tortured souls stuck in a spiritual limbo between this world and the next. The ghosts scare the hell out of Falrwater’s gullible suburban Inhabitants, then leave behind one of Frank's business cards,
teenager, was cleared of helping her boyfriend Johnny Bartlett (Jake Busey) to massacre a dozen patients and doctors.
The shocking subversiveness of the ensuing shift of tone can only be hinted at. Suffice it to say, although this was funded by llollywood studio Universal, it bears all the hallmarks of a film creatively controlled by Jackson - so there’s no soft-pedalling on the ugliness of violence or the cultural and psychological legacy of mass murder. There are times when the effects are a little too relentless and the plot leaves loose ends flapping in the wind but, even so, I defy you to sit through the last twenty minutes without your blood running cold. (lligel Floyd)
The Frighteners (15) (Peter Jackson, New Iceland/US, 1996) Michael J. Fox, Trlnl Alvarado, Peter Dobson. 109 mins. From Fr124. General release.
Ghost of a chance: Michael J. Fox faces The Frighteners
HEIST MOVIE .
SET IT OFF
Girl In the hood: Jada Pinkett swings Into action In Set It Off
Early in Set It Off. director F. Gary Gray may be signalling a lineage for his ﬁlm. as several of the protagonists meet - all Cleopatra Jones Chic - at a 70s theme party. Unlike the best of the original wave of black urban action ﬂicks. however. Gray‘s comes not only with a plot so formulaic as to be parodic but. more damagingly. an awkwardly self-conscious social-consciousness — as though aware of what is ‘expected‘ in the post- Spike Lee. post-Boy: N The Hood landscape. Although the action is slick. any redemption lies here in the playing. notably Queen Latifah and particularly the excellent Jada Pinkett.
Four women. childhood friends in one of LA's housing projects. decide to pull a bank robbery — Frankie (Vivica Fox) after being prejudicially dismissed from her bank- telling job; Tisean (Kimberly Elise) to get the money she needs to support the baby she loses to the Social Services; Stony (Pinkett) following the police‘s killing of her brother. and Cleo (Latifah) — well. Cleojust wants to fob a bank. And then some more.
If any case is made for Set It Ojfhaving an empowering. pro-woman message. it‘s worth considering the decidedly male eye behind the camera. Gray lingers over Pinkett’s baby-oiled body in her love scene with Blair Underwood's slimy buppie banker and casts Latifah. least conventionally attractive of the four. as the borderline-psychotic lesbian. Ultimately. the confused message seems to be: crime is bad. But sometimes it's fun. But ﬁnally it doesn't pay. Or. maybe it does. Go ﬁgure. (Damien Love)
Set It Ojj‘ll8) (F. Gary Gray, US. [996) Jada Pinkett. Queen Latifah. Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise. 121 mins. Front Fri 24 Jan. Glasgow: Shmi'cuse.
The List 24 Jan-6 Feb I997 25