0n the wagon: Louise Goodall and Peter Mullan in My Name Is Joe
My Name Is Joe (15) 105 mins a a e Two years after Carla’s Song, Ken Loach returns to Glasgow to film another Paul Laverty script. The earlier film’s mix of Scottish romance and South American politics didn’t quite come off, but My Name Is Joe's blend of comedy, social drama, love interest and tense thriller makes for a more acceSSible movie than we'd normally expect from the director.
When recovering alcOliolic Joe Kavanagh (Peter Mullan) meets and falls in love wrth health ViSitor Sarah (Louise Goodall), he might at last be able to put his chaotic past behind him However, his young friend Liam (DaVid McKay) has fallen foul of a Vicious drug dealer (DaVid Hayman), and Joe's desperate but good-hearted scheme to help out looks likely to backfire on everyone he cares for.
Loach and Laverty's depiction of working-class Glasgow bravely shows the good and the bad; its treatment of the drugs problem is truer than Trainspotting. As Joe struggles to stay off the bottle, teenage kids swig Buckfast in the streets — the roots of Scottish alcoholism — while Liam’s near empty flat represents a generation of near empty lives.
And yet there are people like Joe himself, a man trying to erase his past sins by acting a force of good. Mullan is brilliant beyond description in a motormouth performance bursting with charisma. He fills Joe with an impulsive, invigorating life-force that proves you don't need to be an old- style Glaswegian big man to command the respect of the community. (Alan Morrison)
a Selected release from Fri' 6 Nov. See feature.
Antz (PG) 83 mins r: a A grassy New York skyline. A neurotic ant on a psychiatrists couch, recounting family traumas. With Woody Allen's voice. From the opening scene of Antz, the adults in the audience chuckle while the kids are pulled in by the slick computer animation. For most of its short running time, the film keeps On entertaining both ends of the age spectrum, blending a fairytale-like adventure ‘.‘.’lIll film iii-jokes and the talents of an A-list vocal cast
2-4195 (Allen) is a worker ant whose need to express himself as an indiVidual is suffocated by a work ethic that puts the good of the colony above everything else. When by chance he meets Princess Bala (Sharon Stone), he
30 THE lIST S—l9 Nov 1998
Bug off: Princess Bala and 2-4195 in Antz
falls completely in love, but, while trying to prove himself as a soldier, he uncovers a dastardly plan by General Mandible (Gene Hackman) to flood the colony.
Once you've grown accustomed to the set-up and have tired of playing ’spot the star voice', however, the plot reveals itself to be just a bit too similar to Honey I Shrunk The Kids and Toy Story. Miniature heroes, separated from their home base, have to journey across unfamiliar terrain, where everyday objects suddenly become full of danger. That said, it's brightly coloured and full of gags, even the underlying themes inter-racial (worker/soldier ants) and inter-class (worker/princess) — are intriguing in this context. (Alan Morrison)
a General release from Fri 6 Nov.
(18) 121 mins a sir.-
Young Brit director Stephen Norrington's techno-vampire movie is marred by the same weak storytelling and flashy computer-game visuals seen in his debut feature, Death Machine. With a screenplay by Dark City writer David S Goyer, one hoped for sustained atmOSpherics and coherent mythology. lnstead, this fashionably updated take on vampire lore squanders its innovative ideas on a series of disjointed set-pieces that never achieve any cumulative power.
Shortly before dying during childbirth, Blade’s mother was bitten by a vampire, so he is half-human, half-vampire — a hybrid creature possessing all his adversaries' strengths but none of their weaknesses. Suppressing his dark side with injections of garlic essence, Blade wages a ruthless war against the bloodsuckers. But he seems to have met his match in Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), an ambitious upstart who dreams of a bloody apocalypse that will install vampires as the rightful rulers of Earth.
One crucial problem is that, while this is ostensibly the tale of an intriguingly complex and ambiguous vampire hunter, too little time is spent exploring Blade's tortured soul. Instead, the demons get not only the best tunes, but also the best scenes. The rest is just a monotonous sequence of messin choreographed, gloatingly sadistic fight sequences, none of which help to move the action fon/vard. (Nigel Floyd)
I General release from Fri 73 Nov
Bite sized: Stephen Dorff in Blade
FILM BOOKS Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
Peter Biskind (Bloomsbury £20) a s a it a
Scorsese as coke-head, Altman as mean drunk, Coripola as serial adulterer -~ and all of them as genius-level mavericks responSible for some of the best movres ever made. Subject matter any author would kill for, and Peter Biskind more than does it justice. This may be the best book ever written about the film ll‘IdUSUy.
All the Significant 'New Hollywood' players are interviewed, from Dennis Hopper to Steven Spielberg, and each takes the opportunity to tell war stories, claim credit and settle sc0res.
No one comes out of the process unsullied, but the book isn’t a sleazy expose in the Hollywood Baby/on vein. No matter how tWisted the degeneracy becomes, the stature of the films is paid due respect, and the author clearly laments the passing of Tinseltown’s last golden age. The reader is left marvelling at the back- biting candour on display, and wondering how these maniacs ever got any work done. (Rob Fraser)
The Players Club (18) 99 mins
‘A gritty black verSion of Showgi'rls' is how veteran American critic Roger Ebert has pigeon-holed lce Cube's directorial debut The Players Club. Ebert certainly leans towards a famous 'thumbs up' -- 'rich With colourful dialogue and characters,’ he says, 'it's sometimes ungainly but never boring' — although some of his compatriots haven't been so positive.
The action takes place in a Georgia strip-jOint, where Diana Armstrong aka Diamond (LisaRaye) starts working to make ends meet. Wise to the ways of the underworld, she keeps her distance from her dodgy boss, but is hard pushed to look after her naive cousin (Monica Calhoun) who deCides to jorn the trade.
The Players Club is like a 70s blaxplortation movre With a bit of extra insight Other American rewewers have critiosed its uneven t0ne — it shifts from comedy to Violence, from lap dance titilation to a particularly nasty rape scene — and cliched dialogue, but praise for newcomer LisaRaye has been unanimous lf Tarantino’s Jackie Brown could kick start 70s icon Pam Grier's career, then maybe LisaRaye Will follow in her wake. (Alan Morrison)
I Selected release from Fri 6 Nov.
Naked ambition: LisaRaye in The Players