The Apostle (12)148 mins a:
A labour of love for writer/producer/ director/actor Robert Duvall, this is the gently absorbing tale of a charismatic Pentecostal preachers fall from grace
i and search for redemption.
When a crime of passion deprives him of his wife, family, church and place in a Texas community, 'Sonny' Dewey (Duvall) abandons his past life, re- christens himself The Apostle E F, and seeks spiritual solace in a small Louisiana town With the help of a retired black preacher and a local radio DJ, he revrves the religious community wrth his inspirational broadcasts, fire-and-brimstone sermons, and refurbished 'One Way Road To Heaven' church
Love thy neighbour: Miranda Richardson and Robert Duvall in The Apostle
Duvall's acknowledged Inspiration is Ken Loach, wrth whose work this shares a generous, non-Judgemental naturalism. Set entirer Within the world of Pentecostalism, the film invites us to accept it as a self- contained belief system wrth its own strengths, weaknesses and contra- dictions. For example, there is no doubting E.F.’s spiritual Sincerity, but his methods of communicating the word
of God are those of a vain, manipulative snake-Oil salesman. While the two-and-a-half hour
running time and over-extended finale may stretch the patience of some, there are subtle, rnovrng and thought- provoking pleasures to be had here. Even for life-long atheists like myself. (Nigel Floyd)
3 Selected release from Fri 72 Jun See preview
«'1 . ’ /.
, The Life Of Stuff
(18) 90 mins
Simon Donald's drug—ac'c'elerc‘ited, pitch-black comedy has made a rather bumpy crossing from stage to screen Set in a delapidated nightclub during one long, Violent night, the plot revolves around a narcotics operation grabbed by dodgy landlord Willie Dobie, who has disposed of the prevrous incumbent Dobie recruits several hapless tenants, exploiting their aspirations in a bid to fulfil his own fantasies But he has not reckoned on their flax-.ed humanity, the disorienting potency of the drugs, or the malice of his hencliinan, Aibogast
Donald's debut as film director is supported by sterling work from lensman Brian Tufano The casting is
The boa war: Liam Cunningham in The Life Of Stuff
also astute. Mabel Aitken and Stuart McQuairie zestfully revive their roles from the original production, while Ewen Bremnei‘, Ciaran Hinds, Liam Cunningham, Jenny McCrmdle and Gina McKee all deliver the necessary reckless energy.
But despite all efforts to transmit the play's spiralling frenzy to celluloid, the film's success is qualified The claustrophobic setting is a nagging reminder of theatricality, the make-up is bizarrely overdone, and audiences Vle struggle to discern character and motivation in the opening scenes' dlSJOIDICd exposition Stick wrth it, though, and yOu'll find yourself sucked into this nOirish comedy-thriller, sprinkled like the night sky wrth unexpected starbursts of compassion (Andrew Burnet)
new releases FILM
Barney's Great Adventure (U) 72 mins 1r ‘4' r ‘k
Forget that green and scaly look — the fashionable dinosaur this summer wrll be wearing purple. After selling over 44 million vrdeos and being seen in a TV show by kids all over the world, Barney is ready for his big screen debut
Down on their grandparents' farm, Cody, Abby and their friend Marcella discover a weird egg from outer space. Even this doesn’t stop Cody from thinking this wrll be the most boring summer holiday ever — until his scepticism is knocked aside when his sister’s favourite toy dinosaur appears in all- singin', all-dancm' glory.
With Barney in tow, they chase the ever-elusive egg all over the place because, in order for it to hatch safely, it must be returned to the barn where it landed. This adventure takes them to an eccentric neighbour's Wild library, a circus and a posh restaurant.
With its bright colours, simple story and regular singalongs, this is closer to pantomime than other children's movies. Perfect for under-fives, and any other kids not too sophisticated to jom in a chorus of 'If You're Happy And You Know It, Clap Your Hands’. (Alan Morrison)
ﬂ General release from Fri 72 Jun.
Barney: auditioning for T. Rex
Wild Man Blues (12) 105 mins w w w w
Woody Allen’s Jazzman credentials have come in for a battering over the years ~ no doubt stemming from that deCision to rnrss out on collecting an Oscar for Annie Hall rather than skip his weekly Jam session at Michael's Pub in Manhattan. It's refreshing, then, to discover that iazzbo pretentiousness is entirely absent from his stage act, as seen in his 1996 tour of Europe. Instead, what we get is some enthusiastic, rough-edged Dixieland, knocked out With good-time verve by Allen and his buddies.
But musrc is only half the story of Barbara Kopple’s backstage documentary. Allen's ulterior motive for submitting to the inspection of the camera is clearly to repair something of his good name With respect to the unsavoury publicity surrounding his break-up wrth Mia Farrow. Current companion and step- adopted-daughter Soon-Yr Previn is much in evidence, gamely trying to counter the prevailing notion that she's so much chicken to Allen's hawk.
The most fun, however, in this reverential portrait is in watching Allen's ever- evident grouchiness ('The gondolier could cut our throats and no one would know'), his notorious lack of patience With adoring fans, and his flashing one- Iiners that emerge occasionally from his permanent frown. (Andrew Pulver)
a Glasgow Film Theatre from Mon IS—Wed 77 Jun. See preview and Front/mes.
FILM BOOK Ewan McGregor - The Unauthorised Biog Billy Adams (8&W £7.99) e xe- " '
When y0ur SUDJGCI matter is a hot young buck at the peak of his career, literary talents aren’t really a preregmsite for the biog writer Opening with a seven-year-old McGregor glued to the cinema screen as he watches Uncle Dennis Lawson in Star Wars, we're then whisked through all the formative moments en route to the Crieff-born lad's current glory. His stage debut in the school play, first kiss, etc, etc
Charting the career highs (most significantly Trainspotting) and less frequent lows (most prominently the critical flop Nightwatc‘h, still unreleased in the UK) and wrth chat from school chums, proud parents, teachers, directors, agents and the like, we're told of his scepticism towards the Hollywood set, his adoration of wrfe Eve Mavrrkas and how there's nothing he wants more than to remain the real-life boy-next-door.
It ain’t gomg to happen apparently, as former Daily Record Journalist Adams' particularly cringeworthy set-in-the-future epilogue leaves us wrth McGregor stalked, hiding behind a ten-foot high wall and lamenting his loss of freedom following the 1999 release of the Star Wars prequel in which he plays Obi-Wan Kenobi
Ultimately this book amounts to little more than a cobbling together of previously published facts, figures and COHJGCIUTG. (Claire Prentice)
ll--25 Jun 1998 THELIST 27