The Ice Storm (15) 112 mins at * its:
It’s November 1973. The sexual revolution may be going limp elsewhere, but it's only just arrived in the affluent commuter town of New Canaan, Connecticut. The porn movie Deep Throat is on everyone's lips at dinner parties and wife- swapping (illicit or open) is all the rage.
Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) is bedding his next-door neighbour Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver), who seems less than enthusiastic. His wife, Elena (Joan Allen), is retreating further into a numbed frigidity, and the couple's teenage children are making their first sexual forays. Their son Paul (Tobey Maguire) is pursuing a rich girl from his prep school, while his sister Wendy (Christina Ricci) is getting more and more intimate with the Carver boys, Mikey (Elijah Wood) and Sandy (Adam Hann-Byrd). Young and old alike are adrift and confused, and the worst ice storm in 30 years is about to hit the east coast.
Taiwanese director Ang Lee's new movie shares the satirical wit and sure feel for the period of his last work, the Jane Austen adaptation
Sense And Sensibility. Based on Rick Moody's novel, The Ice Storm evokes the 705 in all their ghastliness, from the water-beds and wide collars to the hippy vicar whose laid-back ministry becomes an excuse for sleazy sexual opportunism ~ ’sometimes the shepherd needs the company of the sheep' is his lame come-on to Elena.
Lee's satiric eye may be acute but he has a compassionate vision of human weakness. When Ben awkwardly tries to speak of the 'facts of life' to his son. the scene is excruciatingly funny, but it poignantly illustrates the gulf between the generations.
Beneath the humour is a sense of profound unease. No
In And Out
(12) 91 mins ‘H—w
For three years, t~.‘.idwesterii teacher Howard Brackett tKevrn Kline) has been engaged to frurnt)y colleague Emily Montgomery (Joan Cusack) Then, ,ust days below the wedding, Howard's sexuality is called into question His former pupil, rnoody young actor Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon), wins an Oscar and fursomely thanks his old inentoi, adding the words, ’And he’s gay'.
End of the affair: Sigourney Weaver in The Ice Storm
Keep your distance: Kevin Kline and Tom Selleck in In And Out
'NC, l’rri not,’ retorts Howard, as a media circus descends on his home town of Greenleaf, Indiana, led by slick TV reporter Peter Malloy (Tom Selleck), who’s gay, out and proud, and urges Howard to follow suit
inspired by Tom llanks's Oscar acceptance speech for Philadelphia, in which he thanked hrs gay high school drama teacher, In And Out is a funny, feelciood inowe that IS aimed squarely at a mainstream audience Scripted by Paul Rudnick, author or the gay stage play and film Jeffrey, and directed by
one, young or old, knows how to behave. Troubled teen Wendy indulges in a spot of heavy petting with Mikey while wearing a Nixon mask: Mikey's brother Sandy explodes his model planes and whips a rose bush with relish. Outside, the natural world is harsh and unforgiving. Scene after scene, deftly directed and beautifully acted by the cast, sends a chill into the heart and, as the film progresses, the sense of foreboding becomes almost unbearable. When the catastrophe finally arrives, it leaves us reeling. (Jason Best)
in Glasgow Showcase, Edinburgh Cameo and Paisley Showcase from Fr" 6 F eh Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 13 Feb.
former Muppet mar. Frank 02, the film contains nothing to startle Middle America — with the exception of one hilarious, qobsmacking moment when Tom Selleck (turning hrs macho Magnum image on its head) plants a deep kiss on the mouth of the stunned Howard.
As the prim, bow-tie wearing teacher with a deeply suspect penchant for Barbra Streisand records, Kline turns in a delightful comic performance. In one scene, he listens to an audiotape entitled Exploring Your MaSCulinity.‘ Getting A Grip, but when the gruff voice on the tape exhorts him not to dance, he cannot suppress a Joyful disco Wiggle.
In And Out has great fun with Howard's sexual confusion, but is itself surprismgly coy and timid. Just when the movie should be focusmg on Howard's discovery of his nature, it shrinks back and turns instead to the pent-up frustrations of the wonderful Joan Cusack's hapless Emily. Meanwhile, prlSSy Howard remains as sexless and neutered as the most stereotyped of screen sissies. (Jason Best)
I General release from Fri 73 Feb.
neew releases FILM
Flubber (U) 93 mins *
Combining many of the worst, most annoying attributes of films designed to have ‘family appeal', Flubber merely flops when it should fly. Remaking 1961 Disney favourite The Absent Minded Professor for the 905, the filmmakers have stuck closely to the original screenplay.
Robin Williams plays the brilliant but flaky Professor Phillip Brainard, a man on the verge of a scientific breakthrough, but about to lose the patience of his long suffering fiancee. While he is content to potter around his lab, Sara (Marcia Gay Harden)
would rather have him discover a few
things about her. When his absent mindedness leaves her alone at the altar for a third time, she decides to call it a day.
The reason for his absence is the creation of flubber, an elastic rubber substance that can fly through the air at remarkable speeds — think slime meets power ball and you're close — and, when applied to certain objects, can make them defy gravity. Keen to use this brilliant invention to save his college from bankruptcy, Phillip is unaware that some dubious characters are keen to get their hands on his flubber.
The unmistakable touch of co-writer John Hughes is evident as two lumbering bad guys get the Home Alone treatment when Phillip unwittingly unleashes flubberised projectiles upon them. And that may constitute the only real laugh in a film that steers a straight course between comedy and drama, without coming very close to sustained contact with enher
Flashes of gratuitous cutesiness
deviate further still from a story that trades in pantomime stereotypes and cheap slapstick. Even Robin Williams, so often a motor-mouthed free spirit in his comedies, seems subdued and relatively humour-free here. Perhaps he belatedly realised the film he was in is a lot like flubber itself — colourful, bizarre but ultimately pointless
I General release from Fri 6 Feb.
Appliance of science: Robin Williams in Flubber
STAR RATINGS mutt Unmissabfe “in very , , 3? EN, ,ﬁ-shot- *
6—19 Feb 1998 THEUSTN