Donovan. James Woods. Danny DeVito. 9l mins. British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe's designs marry his customary grotesquery with Uncle Walt's softer characterisations. Hades (a magnificently splenetic James Woods) wants to exact revenge on Zeus by destroying his son Hercules. but luckily our hero has Pegasus as his steed and Phil the grumpy satyr (Danny DeVito) as his coach. General release.

Home Alone 3 (PG) (Raja Gosnell. US. I997) Alex I). Linz. ()lek Krupa. Rya Kihlstedt. 95 mins. Instead of Macaulay Culkin. here comes Alex I). Linz (Michelle Pfeiffer's kid in One Fine Day). but this film is not a patch on the tin-PC slapstick and reckless stunting of the original. Stuck at home with the chicken pox. Alex discovers a gang of hi-tech international criminals trying to locate a top secret microchip. so he sets tip increasineg elaborate and sadistic traps. General release.

I Know What You Did Last Summer ( 18) (Jim Gillespie. US. I997) Jennifer Love Hewitt. Sarah Michelle Gellar. Ryan Phillippe. l()I mins. Writer Kevin Williamson broke new horror ground with Scream. btit this effort is the sort of stalk 'n‘ slash flick that's lucky not to go straight to video. The story follows four high school friends plagued by a murderer exactly one year after they accidentally ran over a man and ditched the seemingly dead body. Scottish first-time director Jim Gillespie joins the dots and piles on the horror cliches. General release.

It's A Wonderful Life (U) (Frank Capra. US. I946) James Stewart. Donna Reed. Henry Travers. I39 mins. ()n its release. Capra's salute to small town values was overlooked at the ()scars and only scraped by at the box office; 50 years down the line. however. it's as much a part of Christmas as Bing Crosby's crooning. Stewart plays dispairing family man George Bailey. saved at the point of suicide by a caring angel. Sentiment wins the day. btit that doesn't outweigh the film‘s genuine warmth and hint of darkness. Glasgow: ()deon Quay. Galashiels: Pavilion.

The Jackal ( I8) (Michael Caton-Jones. US. I997) Bruce Willis. Richard Gere. Sidney Poitier. l28 mins. Scottish director Caton- Jones gives 70s thriller The Day ()f‘7'lie Jackal a contemporary makeover and ends tip instead with a meandering wigfest low on thrills and hiin in tourist information. Willis plays a top hitman hired by the Russian Mafia to kill someone high tip in the US Government. btit only Gerc's loveable IRA terrorist knows what the assassin really looks like. ()verlong and overblown. See review. General release. Keep The Aspidistra Flying ( I 2) (Robert Bierman. UK. I997) Richard Ii. Grant. Helena Bonhani Carter. Julian Wadham. IOI mins. Advertising copywriter Gordon Conistock (Grant) feels stifled by the bourgeois nature of his job and impulsively decides to quit and follow his own poetic muse amongst the working class. A cosy. comfortable film that works as a whimsical romantic comedy. although any Orwellian satire on the iniquities of the class system is lost. Iiast Kilbride: Arts Centre.

Kissed ( l8) (Lynne Stopkewicz. Canada. I996) Molly Parker. Peter ()uterbridge. Jay Brazeau. 79 mins. A young necrophiliac works in a funeral home where she is able to fulfil her sexual desires. Stopkewicz's brave examination of female sexuality is no perverse horror piece btit a tender and often poetic film. Likewise. the lead character is not a freak. btit a confident woman. strong in her convictions. Challenging in its morality. perhaps. btit romantic at the core. See preview and review. Iidinbtirgh: Filmhouse.

Kolya (12) (Jan Sverak. Czech. I996) Zdenek Sverak. Andrej Cliamilon. Libuse Sfrankova. 105 mins. Womaniser and batchelor Louka marries a Russian woman who wants a Czech passport and. when she skips the country. is left to look after her live-yetu-old son. Seperated by language. nationality. age and blood. surrogate father and child discover how to care and love across such divides. 'I'his winner of the Best Foreign Language Film oscar is a resonant mix of gentle humour and weepy emotion. with fine performances and brilliant crafting. Glasgow: Gilmorehill.

L.A. Confidential ( I S) (Curtis Hanson. l'S. I997) Kevin Spacey. Guy Pearce. Russell Crowe. Kim Basiriger. I35 mins. Adapted from James Iillroy's neo-noir novel. the best American film of I997 evokes a glitzy post- WWZ Los Angeles underpinned by an all- pervasive. festering corruption. An intricate. drop-dead brilliant plot litiks bent cops. good cops. Hollywood star lookalike prostitutes and the mob. The dialogue crackles and the actors burn tip the screen: one of the few films one would dare mention iii the same breath as the definitive Chinatown. General release.

Lawn Dogs (15) (John Duigan. IFS. I997) Sam Rockwell. Mischa Barton. Kathleen Quinlan. I01 mins. When tensyear-oltl Devon (Barton) ignores her parciits' adv ice and heads straight for the nearby woods. she befriends local gardener and fellow outsider 'I'rent (Rockwell). Adult prejudice taints their friendship iii this contemporary fairytale with an ending that is both magical atid inspiring. ()iie of the most unexpectedly delightful films of the year. lidinburgh: Cameo.

A Life Less Ordinary (' l 5) (Danny Boyle. UK. I997) liwan McGregor. (‘atiieron Diaz. Ian Holtii. IOI iiiitis. 'Ilie folltwv-up to Trainspotting is something else entirely . an original script that boldly plays with the conventions of the romantic comedy. McGregor is a young Scot who kidnaps Itis boss's daughter when he gets the sack. otin to find his hostage turns the tables and uses events to get back at her dad. Not everything works. btit it's brilliantly designed. funny. romantic and more inventive than most of Hollywood's output combined. Iidinburgh: Cameo. Falkirk: Arts Centre.

Lost Highway ( I 8) (Day id I.y iicli. LS. I996) Bill Pullman. Patricia Arquette. Robert Loggia. I35 tiiiiis. Further otit than even the celluloid version of ‘I‘u'ni Peaks: Fire Hit/ks With Me. Lynch's latest radicalisation of the film noir traditions concerns jazz saxman Pullman. his wife (Arquette). a mystery man (Robert Blake). a garage mechanic (Balthazar Getty) and a crime kingpin (Loggia) -- btit in typically Lynchian non-linear plotlines that exist within the logic of dreams. Haunting. provocative. and a genuinely personal undertaking. lidinburgh: Cameo.

Loulou (I5) (Maurice Pialat. France. I980) Isabelle Huppert. (ierard Departheu. Guy Marchand. 105 mins. Painting a depressing picture of his country at the turn of the decade. Pialat casts Depardieu close to type iii the title role. a blue-collar drifter. whose uncultured tenderness is more attractive to Nelly (Huppert) than her bourgeois background. Btit despite its overriding bleakness about French society's outmoded stagnation. the film is strong on detail. and of course the central performances are wonderful. lidinburgh: I-‘ilmliouse. Marvin’s Room ( t 2) (Jerry Ztiks. ('8. I996)


Inside prison walls: Richard Gere in The Jackal

Leonardo DiCaprio. Meryl Streep. Diane Keaton. Robert De Niro. 98 mins. Al all-star cast earn worthy points tn this drama about a troubled family. Keaton. who has been caring for her bedridcn father. is diagnosed w itli Ieukcinia: estranged sister and single mother Streep has been coping with the mental probelms of her teenage son (DiCaprio). Depressing material and a titoyie-tif-tlie-w eek scenario is lifted by the quality of the acting. Falkirk; Arts Centre. The Mask (PG) (Charles Russell. US. I994) Jirii (.‘arrey. Cameron Diaz. Peter Reigert. 95 mins. A timid bank clerk finds an ancient mask that allows him to fulfil his innermost desires as a suave charmer atid crime- fighting whirlwind. An amalgam of 30s. 30s and ~10s decor. The Mask has a skimpy plot. btit its rousing musical set-pieces and eye- popping computer—generated effects (like a live action It's Avery cartoon) made it a surprise hit Stirling: Carlton.

Matilda (PG) (Danny De viio. L'S. I996) .‘slara Wilson. Dany De Vito. Iimbcth Davidtz. 98 mins. Capturing the delicious wickedness of Roald Dahl‘s writing. director De Vito fully exploits exaggerated characterisation and playful camera work to tell the tale of a gifted child who uses her super brain to outwit her neglectful parents. ()ffsettiiig the lovable Matilda against a series of horribly inflated baddies. the film's empowering message for children will appeal to the mischevious kid in everyone. Iitlinburgh: ()deon. Ayr. ()deon.

Men In Black (PG) (Barry Sonnenfeld. US. I997) Tommy Lee Jones. Will Smith. Vincent I)'()nofi‘io~ 95 itiitis. Sriiitli and Jones are two cryptically named "cosmic G- men' who monitor extrateiTcstrial aliens living on Iiartli. while stoppitig the nastier breed of space baddic from colonising the planet. Joncs's seen-it-all straight man is the perfect foil for Smith's w ide-eyed new kid on the block. St Andrews: New Picture lIouse.

Mephisto ( I5) (Istvan Szabo. Hungary. I98I ) Klaus Maria Brandauer. lltliko Bansagi. Krystyna Janda. I44 mins. Hogen. one of pre-war Germany‘s most famous actors. especially feted for his interpretation of Mepliistopliiles. sells otit his left-wing principles it) his greed for success and influencce when the Nazis take power. Gripping study of ambition and betrayal with Brandauer simply colossal iii the central role. Winner of Best Foreign Film ()scar. (ilasgow; (il’li. Iitlitibtirgh: I-ilmhouse.

Microcosmos (U) (Claude Nuridsany/lslarie Perennou. France. I995) 75 mins. A bug- eyed look at the world of insects. this French one-off falls somewhere between a narrativeless documentary and an ensemble piece for its array of tiny characters. What unfolds is a kind of life-in-a-day between the blades of grass in an overgrown meadow. 'I‘he aw ard-winning macro-

index FILM

photography and imaginative sound evoke and surpass the artificial worlds created in all those science fiction movies. Glasgow: GI’I'.

Mrs Brown (PG) (John Madden. UK. 1997) Judi Dench. Billy Connolly. Antony Sher. I03 mi tis. Queen Victoria's obsessive mourning for Prince Albert is casting gloom over the entire country. so Highland ghillie John Brown is called down from Balmoral to shake tip the stuffy English court. Madden's film can't match the comic brio and visual panache of The Madness 0f King George. btit his understated direction undeniably suits the story. The performances are uniformly splendid. with Dench and Connolly (both perfectly cast) giving the film a surprising emotional depth. Glasgow: ()deon Quay. Iidinburgh: Cameo. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith. Stirling: MacRobert.

My Best Friend's Wedding ( 12) (P). llogati. US. I997) Julia Roberts. Dermot Mulroney. Cameron Diaz. 105 tiiins. The director of Australian hit Mitriel's lI'et/(ling takes Julia Roberts otit of her usual. wides eyed role of irritating innocence and re-casts her as a two-faced career girl who tries to scupper the wedding of a former boyfriend whom she suddenly realises she is still very riiticli iii love with. A wonderfully scripted film with a fun performances all round. it ultimately affirms the enduring nature of friendship. Stirling: MacRobert.

Nil 8y Mouth (I8) (Gary ()ldman. UK. I997) Ray Winstone. Kathy Burke. Charlie Creed-Miles. I39 mins. Oldman's directorial debut is an account of alcoholism and marital abuse which stalks smoky East End pubs. smog-ridden council estates and cheap-rate lives with an itchy amphetamine energy. In a flawless ensemble cast. Burke (whose performance won her the Best Actress award at Cannes) is heroic as the put-upon wife. while Winstone dominates the screen. This is simply one of the best Britiin movies of the 90s shocking. funny. heartfelt and honest. Falkirk: Arts Centre. One Night Stand (I8) (Mike Figgis. US. I997) Wesley Snipes. Nastassja Kinski. Kyle Maclachlan. 102 mins. A single noctural liaison between two happily married people is the trigger iii director Mike Figgis's follow tip to Leaving Las Vegas. Flecked with unexpected twists and turns. the plot makes us sympathise with two-timer Max (Snipes). Whether this is a romantic story of fated coincidence or a moral about the consequences of infidelity. One Night Stand is an emotional rollercoaster ride. brought to life by its distinctive directorial style. Glasgow: ()deon Quay.

Paradise Road ( l 5) (Bruce Beresford. US/Atistralia. I997) Glenn Close. Frances McDormand. Pauline Collins. II4 mins. 'I‘his prisoner-of-war drama is like a two hour pilot episode of Ten/to crossed with Songs 0/ Praise. with characters that are a minefield of cliches. Imprisoned on Sumatra during WW2. a group of women create a vocal orchestra to help them through. 'I‘errible. especially considering the harrowing time the real women behind this ‘true story' must have experience. See review. Glasgow: UCI Clydebank.

Parfait Amour (I5) (Catherine Breillat. France. I996) I 15 mins. Director Breillat comes to Scotland to introduce and discuss the film that split the critics at Cannes. In Dunkirk. a divorcee with two kids falls for a man ten years younger and their passionate affair that's doomed from the beginning. ‘My film is about a love story that ends in murder.‘ says the director. ‘and not the story of a crime'. See if you agree. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Paris, Texas (I5) (Wiiii Wenders. US/Germany. I984) Harry Dean Stanton. Natassja Kinski. Hunter Carson. I44 mins. Missing for four years. middle-aged loner Stanton turns tip in the Texan outback. and is later reunited with his son. 'Ihe two embark on a trek across America to find his estranged wife. the young boy's mother. Wenders‘s coolly dislocating visual sense of combines with writer Sam Shepard’s version of America's desolate heartlands to produce a moving story of personal alienation. lidinburgh: Film Guild.

Continued over page

9-22 Jan 1998 THE LIST45