FILM INDEX continued
The Frighteners ( l5) (Peter Jackson. New '/.ealand/US. I996) Michael J. Fox. Trini Alvarado. Peter Dobson. I09 mins. Director Jackson follows up Heavenly Creatures with a sfx-saturated scare-fest that shifts from slapstick horror comedy into something much darker and more disturbing. Fox plays a charlatan parapsychologist whose offer to rid a town of its ghosts backfires when he rekindles an old serial killer case. More complex than it first appears. Glasgow: Showcase. Edinburgh: Cameo.
Gabbeh (PG) (Mohsen Makhrnalbaf. Iran/France. I995) Shaghayegh Djodat. Hossein Moharami. Roghieh Moharami. 75 mins. When an older woman prepares to w ash her ‘gabbeh‘ ~- an intricate carpet depicting a tribe‘s travels ~ a beautiful girl appears at her side and proceeds to recount her life story. lvlakhmalbaf’s cinematic fable is a beautifully photographed and strikingly coloured celebration of personal freedom. Like the gabbeh itself. the film's individual intages provide the starting point for sections of oral storytelling. thereby linking folk craftsmanship and international cinema. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
Grace Of My Heart ( 15) (Allison Anders. US. I996) llleana Douglas. John Turturro. Matt Dillon. ll.5 mins. Looser inspired by the life Carole King. Grace ()_/ .lIv Hunt is no standard biopic. but a heartfelt statement about a woman‘s determination to find her own voice within a male-dominated environment. llleana Douglas glows with personality as she takes singer-songwriter Denise Waverly through a tempestuous decade of personal and professional heartache and triumph. The period design attd songs are superb. adding to a film that has the scope of an old-fashioned epic. but an independerit's sensibility. Edinburgh: Canteo.
Hamlet (U) ( Kenneth Branagh. UK. 1996) Kenneth Branagli. Julie Christie. Kate Winslet. 238 mins. Four hours long (with interval). but strong performances. visual delights and hearty portions of sex. violence. horror and intrigue all combine to make Branagh's Hamlet worthy of its extreme duration. The story of the paranoid prince‘s revenge on his murderous uncle is fresheiied by its updating to the 19th century. while the glorious widescreen photography and succession of clever cameos also keep the audience on their toes. Glasgow: ABC Film Centre.
Harriet The Spy (PG) (Bronwen Hughes. US. 1996) Michelle Trachtenberg. Rosie O‘Donnell. Gregory Smith. 102 mins. Precocious schoolgirl Harriet. convinced she has a future as a writer. notes down the minutae ofdaily life in lierjournal; but when her classmates discover her criticisms of them. she has to work hard to win back popularity. Traclttenberg gives a fresh. sparky performance. but the teacherly tone won't amuse accompanying grown- ups. General release.
James And The Giant Peach (U) (Henry Selick. US. I996) Paul Terry. Susan Sarandon. Simort Callow. 79 mins. From the director of lint Burton 3' The Vie/innate Ila/ore Christmas comes a wonderfully colourful adaptation of Roald Dahl's much-loved novel. Live action tops and tails the story. but for the most part. it‘s fun times with stop-motion puppets. By turns funny and scary. it stays true to Dahl‘s surreal and whimsical vision. Kilmarnock: ABC.
Jerry Maguire ( 15) (Cameron Crowe. US. 1996) Tom Cruise. Cuba Gooding Jr. Renee '/.ellweger. I38 mins. Cruise is perfect as sports agent Maguire. who suddenly finds himself out of a job when he writes a Mission Statement calling for his colleagues to rediscover the sincerity of their business. With only one client on his books (Gooding) and the loyal Dorothy (Zellweger) for affection arid support. he soldiers on and — ofcourse. becomes a better person for it all. Crowe's picture of an America crippled
26 THE lIST 2i Mar—3 Apr I997
love and bullets: the Capulet gang in Romeo And Juliet
by a lack of genuine intimacy gives the film a maturity that‘s rarely seen iii feelgood star vehicles. General release. Jumanji (U) (Joe Johnston. US. I995) Robin Williams. Jonathan Hyde. Kirsten Dunst. IOI mins. Trapped for 26 years irt ajungle board game. Alan Parrish (Williams) is released only when two modern-day kids throw the dice themselves. But they also unleash a stampede of monkeys. crocodiles. elephants. rhinos and other unfamiliar beasts into small town America. The story manages to get beyond its repetitive limits with a brilliantly original central idea and post-Jurassic Park computer effects. Edinburgh: Odeon.
Kansas City (15) (Robert Altman. US. I996) JenniferJason Leigh. Miranda Richardson. Harry Belafonte. I18 mins. What he did for country music in Nashville. Altman doesn‘t quite do for jazz in Kansas City. although the musical elements of this nostalgic journey to the director‘s childhood are its strongest. What lets the film down are the overplayed performances by Leigh and Richardson as. respectively. kidnapper and politician‘s wife in the dramatic plot that lies over a richly atmospheric portrait of the city ofswing in the I93()s. Stirling: MacRobert Arts Centre. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith.
Kids (I8) (Larry Clark. US. I995) Leo Fitzpatrick. Justin Pierce. Chloe Sevigny. 93 mins. Photographer Clark brings a gritty yet hip approach to his portrait of urban youth overdosed on sex and drugs. Verbally but not visually explicit. the film is as bleak as it gets. as HIV positive Jennie spends a day tracking down arrogant ‘virgin surgeon‘ Telly. Serious issues are touched on in art unadorned fashion. but it's up to us to discuss a way to find the solutions. Edinburgh: Film Guild.
Larger Than Life (PG) (Howard Franklin. US. 1996) Bill Murray. Janeane Garafalo. Tai the elephant. 93 mins. Popular theraptist Jack Corcoran (Murray) inherits his father’s circus elephant Vera. and aims to sell her to a heartless Hollywood animal trainer. But on theirjourney across America. Jack becomes a better person. This loosely plotted odyssey is drowned in mindless elephant worship - there are only so many times you really want to see a performing pachyderm stand on three legs — and the results are truly desperate. See review. General release.
The Last Picture Show ( 15) (Peter Bogdanovich. US. 197 I ) Timothy Bottoms. Jeff Bridges. Cybil Shepherd.
I 18 mins. The film that made Bogdanovich. far superior to its sequel Texasville. and indeed most of the director‘s other work. Set in small-town Texas in the I950s. it captures the local atmosphere and the traumas of adolescence to perfection. focusing on the growing pains of a group of teenagers on the brink of adulthood. to whom the closure of the local cinema symbolises loss of youth and innocence. Edinburgh: Film Guild.
Local Hero (PG) (Bill Forsyth. UK. 1983) Peter Riegert. Burt Lancaster.
Denis Lawson. I I I mins. One of Bill Forsyth‘s most sure-footed ventures. and one in which his eye for charm balances with his love for whimsy. An ambitious executive of an American oil company is sent to buy an entire Scottish town fora future drilling project. but soon finds himself falling in love with the place while being hoodwinked by the community. Edinburgh: Cameo.
Mars Attacks! (12) (Tim Burton. US. I996) Jack Nicholson. Glenn Close. Annette Bening. 105 mins. Take some 50s alien invasion films. add the star bodycount of 70s disaster movies. round it off with the weird imagination of Tim Burton. and you have this expensive sci- fi spoof. The ETs literally are little green men. wrecking havoc on Earth while disparate bunches of humans light back. Good gags. great design and eye-popping computer animation. but it doesn‘t really connect as a complete film. General release.
Matilda (PG) (Danny De Vito. US. I996) Mara Wilson. Danny De Vito. Embeth Davidtz. 98 mins. Capturing the delicious wickedness of Roald Dahl's writing. director De Vito ftilly exploits exaggeration and playful camera work to tell the tale of a gifted child who uses her super brain to outwit her neglectful parents. ()ffsetting the lovable Matilda against a series of horribly inﬂated bad characters. the film‘s empowering message for children will appeal to the mischevious kid in everyone. General release.
Metropolis (PG) (Fritz Lang. Germany. I926) Brigitte Helm. Alfred Abel. 83 mins. One of the greatest films of all time. Lang‘s allegory against totalitarianism features cityscapes that remain unsurpassed. For this presentation. Glasgow duo Metrobase accompany the screening with a soundtrack mixing new styles. electronic sounds and samples with more traditional film scoring techniques. Glasgow: GET. Michael (PG) (Nora Ephron. US. I996) John Travolta. William Hurt. Andie MacDowell. 105 mins. Two tabloid newspaper reporters and an ‘angel expert‘ are sent to check out reports about a guy with wings iii Iowa. It is indeed the archangel Michael. who lives it up — drinking. smoking and womanising — across America while trying to get mismatched Hurt and MacDowelI together iii romantic terms. Travolta‘s charm shines through. but can‘t save a movie that‘s lacklustre and totally lacks chemistry between the other two stars. Glasgow: ()deons. Showcase. Virgin. Mighty Aphrodite ( 15) (Woody Allen. US. I995) Woody Allen. Mira Sorvino. Helena Bonham Carter. 95 mins. Sports writer Lenny (Allen) and his busy art dealer wife (Bonharn Carter) adopt a baby. but when the kid starts to show unusually high intelligence. dad goes searching for the real mother — a none- too-bright hooker arid porn actress (Sorvino). Oscar-winning Sorvino is the best thing in the movie. even if her role is rather dubious. but Woody's a bit long in the tooth for his part. Funny. but a little tired. Edinburgh: Cameo.
Muppet Treasure Island (PG) (Brian Henson. US/UK. I996) Tim Curry. Kevin Bishop. Billy Connolly. I02 mins. Young Jim Hawkins. along with his friends the Great Gonzo and Rizzo The Rat. go hunting for treasure with Captain Flint's map. meeting up on the way with Long John Silver (Curry) and Fozzie. Kermit. Miss Piggy et al as various Stevenson characters. Faithful to the book. but hilarious in its extraneous details — especially in the openign section - this is one time everyone cart enjoy Hollywood's plundering of British literature. Glasgow: Odeon Quay. Never Talk To Strangers ( I8) (Peter Hall. US. I996) Rebecca DeMornay. Antonio Banderas. Harry Dean Stanton. 85 rttins. Granted a small release (watch it come and go in a week) no doubt because it's directed by theatre luminary Sir Peter Hall. this psychological thriller is pretty tnuch what you‘d expect in a straight-to-video bin. DeMornay plays a traumatised criminal psychologist examining a serial killer (Stanton) while embarking on a passionate affair with a strartger (Banderas). Unforgivany cliched. but admittedly steamy pot-boiler that isn't quite worth forking out hard- eamed cash for. Glasgow: Showcase. Nico-Icon (15) (Susanne Ofteringer. Germany. 1995) Nico. Jackson Browne. John Cale. 72 mins. Ofteringer creates a collage of frank interviews. film extracts and music clips to present art absorbing portrait of the underground icon from her early days as a model through the Warhol period to the drugs decline. Music featured includes tracks by The Velvet Underground and Nico herself. East Kilbride Arts Centre.
101 Dalmatians (U) (Stephen Herek. US. 1996) Glenn Close. Joely Richardson. Jeff Daniels. 103 mins. Disney turns one of its favourite animated films into a live action pantomime with spodges of Home Alone buffoonery. making sure there are plenty of dogs to make the kids go ‘aaahhh'. The story remains pretty much untouched — vile villainess Cruella De Vil (Close) kidnaps enough spotty pups to make a stunning coat. but the animal world gets the better of her — but so does the old- fashioned morality. which stresses the sanctity of marriage and that a woman's place is by her man's side. General release.
The Portrait Of A Lady (12) (Jane Campion. US. 1996) Nicole Kidntan. John Malkovich. Barbara Hershey. I44 mins. Campion's follow-up to The Piano is a dark and difficult adaptation of Henry James‘s novel which stays true to the original‘s subtle psychological observations. Kidrnan — at once proud. naive. sensitive and determined - is excellent as the young woman almost destroyed by a disastrous marriage. while Malkovich is a little too cold and ambiguous. Beautiful. but emotionally remote. Edinburgh: Canteo. Kelso: Roxy. The Proprietor (12) (Ismail Merchant. UK/France/Turkey/US. 1996) Jeanne Moreau. Sean Young. Sam Waterston.
I 13 mins. The decision of Ismail Merchant. the producer half of the Merchant-Ivory team. to sit in the director's chair backfires here in a film that slipped from London's West End after a fortnight ofdamning reviews. Moreau plays art exiled author who leaves New York to return to her French homeland. Merchant fails completely to handle his actors with subtlety or to construct a neat narrative through flashback. Glasgow: Grosvenor. Quadrophenia (l8) (Frank Roddam. UK. I979) Phil Daniels. Leslie Ash. Philip Davis. Sting. l20 mins. Mods and rockers live it up on Brighton beach by swapping buckets and spades for chains and sticks. Liver first half has enough energy. music. violence arid period flavour to carry it along. but all too soon it degenerates into some sort of treatise on the morality of youth. set to tunes by The Who. Glasgow: Odeon City Centre. Virgin.
The Railway Children (U) (Lionel Jeffries. UK. 1970) Dinah Sheridan.