FILM LISTINGS continued
Kundun ( I5) (Martin Scorsese. US. I997) HI) mins. Scorsese's biography of the fourteenth [)alai Lama is also a painstaking record of a culture close to extinction. The beauty of Tibet and gentle nature of the people is disrupted by invasion by China. btit the Dalai Lama remains true to the ideal of non-violence. A highly cinematic. though heavily wrought film. KHIIt/HII also features a pulsating music score by Philip (ilass. The first hour. while beautiftil to watch. does seem to pass very slowly. btit. by the end. it has a curious calming energy all of its own. lidinburgh: l-‘ilmhouse. Stirling: MacRobert. Kurt And Courtney (I8) (Nick Brooiiifield. UK/US. I997) 93 mins. Was Nirvana inainman Kurt Cobain‘s death suicide or something more sinister'.’ Courtney Love's lather reckons Courtney herself had a hand in her husband's untimely demise -- and that allegation was enough to get Brooiiifield's documentary into a lot of hot water on both sides of the Atlantic. However. the interviewees are too drug-riddled to be coherent. let alone convincing and Broomfield seems too keen to get his own tanned iiitig into the shot. See review. Iidinburgh: Cameo.
LA. Confidential (18) (Curtis Hanson. US. I997) Kevin Spacey. Guy Pearce. Russell Crowe. Kim Basinger. I35 mins. Adapted from James Iillroy‘s neo-noir novel. the best American film of I997 evokes a glitzy post- WWZ l.os Angeles underpinned by an all- pervasive. festering corruption. An intricate. drop-dead brilliant plot links 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 in the same breath as the definitive China/mm. Stirling: MacRobert. Landscape In The Mist ( l 5) (Then Angelopoulos. (ireece. I988) Michalis Yeke. Tania Palaiologou. Stratis 'l'zortzoglou. IZS mins. A small boy and his older sister leave home in search of their father and travel across a grubby (irecian landscape unable to find anyone to look after them. btit from time to time witnessing visionary epiphanies. Mesmerisiiig (ireek road movie in a similar style to Angelopoulos's previous effort The Beekeeper. and once again beautifully performed. (ilasgow: (il-"l‘. The Little Mermaid (U) (John Musker/Ron Clements. US. I989) 82 mins. Disney's ailing fortunes quickly reversed when this delightful animated feature first came out in I989. 'Ihere's the universal appealling story of the mermaid Ariel's love for handsome Prince liric. ()scar-winning songs. hurnanised animal sidekicks and some
52 TIIE LIST 9--23 Jul 1998
colourful set-pieces. Now with electronically cleaned-up colours and digital sound. (ieneral release.
Love And Death On Long Island I IS) (Richard Kwietniowski. UK/Canada. I997) John Hurt. Jason Priestley. Iiiona l.oewi. 93 mins. Celebrated writer and ltith century anachronism (iiles I)e’Ath (Hurt) falls for teen heart throb Ronnie (Priestley I. and eventually tracks him down in long Island to offer him a new. cultured way of life. Deal/i In Venice is the obvious reference point. yet it is hard to avoid seeing l)e'Ath's blinkered existence as a 90s version of Cmem/tlt' Dundee. The early portrayal of irrational desire unfortunately gives way to a story that’s too daft. (ilasgow; (il-‘l‘. Iidinburgh: Cameo.
Mad City ( l 5) (Costa-(iavi'as. IFS. I997) John 'I'ravolta. Dustin Hoffman. ll-l mins. When he's laid off. museum security guard Saiii ('l'ravolta) tries to get his job back at gunpoint and causes a siege at his former place of work. Local TV reporter Mas (Hoffman) turns the situation to his own advantage. moulding Sam into a media celebrity. This may not be first-class Costa- (iavras (Z and State ()j’Sieee). btit it‘s top- notch Hollywood filmmaking. See pres iew and review. (jeneral release.
The Man In Her Life ( I 8) (Carlos Signin- Renya. Philippines. I997) 96 mins. liscaping her abusive husband. Selya starts a new life in a small town where she meets and marries a gay man. Histrionic riielodramatics aside. this provides a rare opportunity to sample l'ilippino cinema. Part of the Lesbian and (an Film Festival. Iidinburgli: l-‘ilmhotise. Men In Black (PU) (Barry Sonnenfeld. US. I997) Tommy Lee Jones. Will Smith. Vincent D'Onofrio. 95 mins. Smith and Jones are two cryptically named ‘cosmie (i- men‘ who monitor extraterrestrial aliens living on liarth. while stopping the nastier breed of space baddie from colonising the planet. Jones's seen-it-all straight man is the perfect foil for Smith's wide-eyed new kid on the block. while Sonnenfeld's skilftil integration of the visual effects proves that eye-popping spectacle and coherent storytelling need not necessarily be diametrically opposed. (ilasgow: (il-‘l’. Mimic (18) ((iuillermo Del loft). I‘S. I998) Mira Sorvino. Jeremy Northam. Charles S. Dutton. 105 mins. (ienetically altered insects designed to eradicate disease- caiTying cockroaches have mutated and bred in the tunnels beneath New York. While scientists and other humans wander around not always avoiding the razor-sharp legs and bone-crushing mandibles of the insect Predators. Mexican director l)el 'l'oi‘o juxtaposes images of poetic beauty with scenes of stark terror. A superior big bug movie. (ieneral release.
MouseHunt ll.) l(itllC \s‘tlilnskt. CS. J99?) Nathan Lane. l.ee livans. Christopher Walken. ‘).\ mins lane .iiid livans play hapless brothers who inherit a deci'ipit mansion. btit when they decide to renovate auction it. a resident rodent is not willing to be evicted. .-\n esccllent blend of I aiiiel and Hardy slapstick and black humour. Hormel/tux: is sheer eiiteitainiiient and has some real belly laughs. l'he tone and the pacing are spot-on throughout. .iiid the sets and special effects are the icing on the cake. (ieneral release.
Mr Magoo (I’(ii (Stanley ’l‘oiig. liS. I997) l.eslie Nlelsetl. Kelly Lynch. Mail Keeslttt. S7 niins. When a priceless stolen gent falls into the hands of bumbling iiiillronaire ()uincy Magoo. who keeps on eiiiei‘erng unscathed as chaos ensues around him. This live action version of the short cartoons ielies on broad physical slapsti.‘k foi' its comedy rather than \et'bal 'iokes. .-\iiierican critics slaughtered the film 'an insult to the intelligence of the entire human race' (l‘SA lititldy I, General release.
Mrs Brown (Hi) (John Madden. I'K. I997) Judi Hench. Billy Connolly. Antony Sher. ltl.i mins. Queen Victoria's obsessive mourning for Prince Albert is casting gloom over the entire country. so Highland gliillie John Brown is called down from Balmoral to shake up the stuffy linglish court. Madden's film can't match the comic brio and visual panache of The Jim/new (If Kine George. btit his understated direction undeniably stiits the story. The performances are uniformly splendid. with l)eiich and Connolly (both perfectly cast) giy ing the film a surprising emotional depth. Stirling: MacRobert.
A New Leaf ( l5) (Illaiiie May. liS. I970) Iilaine May. Walter Matthau. .lack Weston. IIL‘ mins. May ‘s debut as director was tiiikei‘ed with by the Hollywood studio behind it. btit it ietaiiis her own comic perspective. honed while working with Mike Nichols. Matthati plays an ageing playboy with murder on his mind. who chases after' May 's eccentric botanist. l§dinburgh: l-iliiiliotise.
The Naked Civil Servant r I.s'i (Jack (told. l'K. I975) St) 4- 5 mins John Hurt came to the fore (and cemented the celebrity of ()uentin Crisp into the bargain) in this seminal l‘\' film about the flamboyant gay author. His performance is truly magnificent. capturing the wit. charm and indeed bravery of its subiect. With three shorts by Richard Kw ietniow ski. director of [an e .‘illt/ lleritli ()Ii [one /\.’ttIa/.
Nil By Mouth i lS‘i ((iary ()ldiiian. I'K. I997) Ray Winstonc. Kathy Burke. Charlie Creed-Miles. I“) lllllls. ()ldinaii‘s directorial debut is an account of alcoholism and marital abuse which stalks smoky Izast liiid
Give no regard to Broadway: Godzilla takes Manhattan
ptibs. sniog~ridden council estates and cheap-rate lives with an itchy amphetamine energy. In a flawless ensemble cast. Burke (whose ix'rformance 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 British movies ofthe 90s — shocking. funny. heartfelt and honest. (ilasgow: (ill.
The Object Of My Affection ( I5) (Nicholas Hytner. US. I998) Jennifer Aniston. Paul Rtidd. Nigel Hawthorne. lll mins. Nina falls for (ieorge and. as it the way of Hollywood romantic comedies. there's .i major obstacle lying in the way of true love. This time. however. the complication has a twist -- he's gay. The film plays against its genre by being more concerned with the pain of unrequited love than with romantic fulfilment. btit there's a blandness that prevents it from being truly successful. Cieneral release.
Oscar and Lucinda ( l 5) ((iillian .-\riiistrong. US/Australia. I997) Ralph liieiines. Cate Blanchett. Ciaran Hinds. I32 mins. Adapted from Peter Carey‘s Booker Prize-winning novel. this tale of passion and uneonsumniated love falls short of its shimmering goals. I-‘iennes is a l9th century man of the cloth obsessed with gambling
w ho bets he can transport the glass church designed designed by an Australian heiress across the treacherous outback. Iiiennes animates ()scar with a nervous. crow-like intensity. btit there is a definite sense of some vital element missing. (ilasgow: UCJ Clydebaiik. Iiast Kilbride: UCI. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith. Stirling: MacRobert.
Out of the Past ( l 5) (Jacques 'l'ourneur. US. I947) Robert Mitchum. Jane (ireer. Kirk Douglas. Rhonda I-‘leming. Virginia Huston. 96mins. (iripping. moody and expertly mounted flashback Iioi'r. starring Mitchtim as the condemned man. a private detective whose investigation of Douglas's girlfriend (ireer takes him to Mexico and eventually a confrontation with death. Classic B-movie with a hallucinatory. almost existentialist atmosphere. Stirling: MacRobert.
Paws (PU) (Karl '/'.wicky. Australia/UK. I997) Nathan Cavaleri. Iimilie l-‘rancois. voice of Billy Connolly. 33 mins. Clever doggie PC is on a mission to deliver a coiiiptiter disc. but is being tracked down by the unpleasant baddie who killed his master. Befriending computer Will/.1 kid '/.ac. the iiititt links tip to a voice simulator and starts talking with the broad twang of Billy Connolly. Some genuinely funny moments allow for a whole range of teenage crises to be dealt with in an tincringeworthy fashion. lidinburgh: ()deon. Ayr: ()deon. ('uinbernauld: 'I‘heatre. Motherwell:
Pretty Village, Pretty Flame ( I8) (Srdan Dragojevic. Serbia. I996) l29 mins. This film. made by Iiliniiiakers in the former Yugoslavia. charts the destruction of the friendship (and the country) of two young men -- a Serb and a Mtisliiii - who take opposing sides after war breaks otit. like ('Iir/eremruul. it uses allegory to invoke history and emphasise tragedy. and goes a long way towards an understanding of a horrific ci\ il war. (ilasgow: (il’l‘. lidinbtirgh. liilmliouse.
Prisoner Of The Mountains ( )8) (Sergei Bodrov. Russia/Ka/akhstaii. I996) ()Ieg Menshikov, Sergei Bodroy Jr. Through this simple. mos ing fable based on a story by 'l'olstoy. Bodrov sheds a clear light on the bitter war between the former Soviet Union and the iiidependence-seeking Chechens. A pair of captured Russian soldiers are used by a local cliieftan to get his own son back. btit complications ensue. A collision of
deep human need and the stark realities of war that garnered a deserved Oscar nomination. Iidinhurgh: I-"ilnihouse.
Red Corner ( IS) (Jon Avnet. US. I997) Richard (iere. Bai Ling. ll} mins. (iiven that this formulaic thriller stars Richard (iere (well known pal of'l‘ibet's l)alai Lama). it's obvious the Chinese won't come otit of it looking very good. (iere plays an American businessman stitched tip for rape and murder in Beijing who faces a corrupt judicial system. The prison scenes are certainly horrific. btit the film cannot match their authenticity elsewhere. The plot is simply absurd and the characters are too flat to care about. Largs: Barrfields.