FILM new releases

Scream (18) 111mins * + +‘tr

Who's stupider? A kid in a horror movie who goes outside their isolated home to check for the bogie man? Or a kid in a horror movie who is well versed in the do's-and-don’ts of the horror genre, and still goes outside their isolated home to check for the bogie man? And says 'l'll be right back'? And goes to the cellar alone? And checks the closet but forgets to look behind the door?

This is the world of Wes Craven’s latest slashfest Scream and if anyone knows the horror genre, it's him. Rather than depart from the traditional devices and go out on a limb to create something original, Craven plays safe with what he does best, but plays it knowingly.

The teenagers in the affluent smalltown community of Woodsboro know that they are typical stalker fodder, so when a brutal masked killer slays and guts their classmates Casey and Steve, what do they do? They gather in an enormous house on the edge of town (plenty rooms and passageways to run through screaming as the camera tracks you) and watch their favourite flick Hallowe’en. So while they're shouting at Jamie Lee Curtis to ‘look behind you!’, they're failing to follow their own advice and ending

up with tomato ketchup on their face . . .

hands . . . and their body...

The self-conscious references are good fun, though hardly inventive. 'Do you think you’re in one of those Wes Craven films?’ asks bosom buddy Tatum (Rose McGowan) of heroine Sidney (Neve Campbell), who later tells hunky boyfriend Billy (Skeet Ulrich), ’but this

isn't a film it's real life’.

The prevailing tone of the film serves to mitigate the cipher nature of Courteney Cox's tabloid TV reporter character and David Arquette's soft touch deputy.



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Don't answer the phone: Drew Barrymore in Scream

and their

Horror lovers know the rules anyway what counts is

not rounded characterisation but manipulating the

tension, which Craven does masterfully. The opening sequence in which we first experience the killer's methods (terrorise ’em on your mobile phone from outside their house), as tried on Drew Barrymore, is genuine white-knuckle material, although the

denouement beggars belief in an otherwise witty

(Fiona Shepherd)

thriller which, as they say, is one for the genre fans.

I General release from Fri 2 May.


Ghosts From The past (15) 131 mins a X

Director Rel) Reinei's follow-up to The American President is another lecture in liberal politics, but this time the subject is mac h ‘.\‘(‘l(llll!f‘f and based on fact,

ln 1963 in fv/lISSlS§|[)[)l, the crvrl rights activist l.‘.edgar Fvers was shot in the bac l; anal killed by a \\'ltllf’ supremacist Tum all-white, male juries failed to find Pyron {Te La Reclusnth guilty, chille'l frczrn justice a free man

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Injustice for all: James Woods in Ghosts From The Past

Thirty-one years later, Evers's wrfe Myrlie managed to persuade a yOting District Attorney to take her case seriously and fight for a murder convrction, This is a powerful true story, and there is no doubting the commitment that has gone into Ghosts From The Past. The Evers's sons appear as themselves in the film and Yolanda King, daughter of Martin Luther King, plays their sister

And yet for all that, the film fails to pack much of a punch Reiner has

opted to tell the story from the point of view of District Attorney Bobby DeLaughter, the right-thinking white man, and the mood of the film fits him, rather than the painfully emotional reality of the Evers family Our blood never boils, the Evers's struggle is waged by the bland and reassuring Alec Baldwrn as DeLaughter, the happy ending seems guaranteed, and we leave the Cinema content in the knowledge that racism is a thing of the past. Whoopi Goldberg puts in a convmcing performance as Myrlie Evers, but she is never allowed to do much more than bark encomagement from the Sidelines. James Woods is odious as De La Beckwnh, but seems about as real as a gargoyle

Reiner has said, as a white director, he was bound to the perspective of a white character, but that doesn’t excuse his evasion of anything that might ruffle the feathers of complacent liberal whites. White middle-class directors are capable of making hard- hitting, angry films about racial and social injustices La Haine, for example -- if they feel for their subjects deeply enough (Hannah Fries) I Selected release from Fri 9 May

Film books

A round-up of written words about on-screen images.

It’s like an entire film festival on the printed page in Projections 7 (Faber and Faber £11.99, at at it *) editors John Boorman and Walter Donohue continue to bring the reader intelligent discussion and debate on all aspects of Cinema, past and present. A large section of this latest volume contains material from legendary French magazrne Cahiers Du Cinema's 500th issue, a Martin Scorsese special in which he talks about his own work, his peers and the major influences on his style.

Elsewhere in the book, four Edinburgh Film Festival Scene By Scenes on the art of acting are transcribed -- Brian Cox on Manhunter, Leslie Caron on The L-Shaped Room, Sylvia Syms on Victim and Teresa Wright on Shadow OfA Doubt. Frances McTDormand, Robert Mitchum and Jaco Van Dormael also make contributions.

The three films in Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy are among the greatest ever made simple, yet heartfelt and poetic depictions of rural and urban life in India through the early life of one man The final draft of Ray's memorr My Years With Apu (Faber and Faber £8 99, ir 1r *) were stolen from his death bed, but the master filmmaker's Wife has reconstructed an earlier version, which details Ray's early struggles and subsequent triumphs in breaking the mould of his country's cinema Of course, further revrsions would have knocked some of the stodginess from the prose, but it’s an invaluable document all the same

At the other end of the critical spectrum from Ray's works come the contents of The Psychotronic Video Guide (Titan £19 99, tr * *) Crammed wrth those titles that lurk in the dustiest corners of your Video shop or in the shadows of late night teleVision (particularly satellite and cable), it's the kind of volume that perpetually worships at the altar of the weird, gory, sexy and just plain bizarre. As a genuine guide, it's of limited use because thousands of these Ctllt items are, unfortunately, impossible to get your hands on this side of the Atlantic, but paired With author Michael J Weldon’s earlier Psychotronic Movie Gllldt’}, ll completes an exhaustive two volume direc t0ry of cinema's worst behaved social misfits (Alan Morrison)

Martin Scorsese: reveals all in Projections 7