new releases

Forces of Nature (12) 105 mins

Movie hype and the consequent weight of expectation are enemies of films like this. The title, Forces Of Nature, conjures up grand images, but this flawed human story cannot match them. We have seen it all before of course, but that needn't matter: the problem is that the film's just a little too lightweight and pedestrian to be as good as it should be.

Add to that the hot casting of Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock, and disappointment is compounded further. But while Forces Of Nature is unlikely to feature as the cornerstone of either career - though it could yet be a watershed after Bullock's recent run of flops - it is amiable enough if critical faculties are put to one side.

Hugely contrived, and aimed somewhere in between It Happened One Night and Planes, Trains & Automobiles, the film stars Affleck as Ben, a nervous flyer seated next to eccentric Sarah (Bullock) on the flight that will take

him home to his wedding. His nerves seem justified when the plane crashes before take off and, through the ensuing melée, he gets Sarah as his unwelcome


Her quick wittedness ensures they get a lift out of New York, but their efforts become increasingly fraught as each successive mode of transport proves more useless than the last. And then, you'll never guess, they start to fall for each other. So far, so predictable - and it scarcely improves on that front except for one subtle twist that redeems so much of what has gone before

(no, it wasn't all a dream).

Yet all this will matter little to a certain audience

Supermarket sweet: Sandra Bullock in Forces Of Nature


(Anwar Brett)

seeking sexy, star-driven entertainment of marginal quality. It's a teeny (in both senses) romance with a couple of charismatic stars and a big budget. Enough

Affleck in particular is highly personable, while Bullock tries to give edge to her sweet persona. The problem really is that Forces Of Nature suffers by the comparison to any other film with similar theme and plot. This may not worry the 'date audience' but suggests a lack of imagination and effort on behalf of the filmmakers. In this regard they are their own worst enemy.

as General release from Fri" 7 May.

In Dreams (18) 100 mins 1:3:

Neil Jordan's latest excursion into dark fairytale fantasy is an unsatisfying but suspenseful psychic thriller about a New England mother whose dreams portend the murder of her own little girl by a serial killer

Annette Bening gives a gutsy performance as children's illustrator Claire Cooper, whose rapid slide into madness follows the invaslon of her sleeping and waking mind by nightmarish telepathic insights into the

designs of.a murderer. Like the mythical Cassandra, her premonitions go unheeded, and even when she convinces her husband Paul (Aidan Qumn), she still finds that the visions themselves are torturously incomplete. However, police detective lack Kay (Paul Guilfoyle) and psychiatrist Dr Silverman (Stephen Rea) continue to disregard her claims, even as the disappearances increase.

The filmmakers combine reports of police consulting clairvoyants in real life homiode investigations With a setting which uses the damming a generation

ago of once-populated valleys in Tennessee and North Carolina. In Dreams begins With police divers searching one such drowned settlement for victims - an invitation to draw parallels With probing the consCious and unconsoous mind. But these lines are murkin drawn and the film certainly does not pander to its

audience by leading them gently

through its plot.

Eerin photographed by Seven's Darius Khondji and uncompromismgly scripted by Jordan With Robinson, In Dreams is an unsettling mix of Don’t Look Now, The Eyes Of


Laura Mars and Robert Altman’s

Images, shot through With discordantly Vibrant Snow White metaphors, Wicked stepmothers and redder-than- red poisoned apples.

Quinn is again doomed to a thankless supporting role and Rea’s American accent is less than convmcing, while Robert Downey Jnr continues to submerge his juvenile stereotyping in a much more Sinister one

To its credit, the film’s closed ending subverts that of the conventional psychological horror flick, but its conclusions abOut how to deal With the psychopathic bogeyman sink lead- like to the same cluttered and unoriginal depths. (John lvlacKenZie) General release from Fri 30 Apr

new releases FILM

Black Cat, White Cat (15) 129 mins as :2: *-

Crazy and hectic are two words which come to mind when describing this film from Emir Kusturica, the Yugoslavian director of Arizona Dream and Underground.

Set within a community of gypsy peOple, it tells a tale of dodgy deals, family ties, young love and magical occurrences. The handsome Zare (Florijan Ajdini) is in love with the beautiful Ida (Branka Katic), but his crooked father Matko (Bajram Sevredzan), having just botched up a black market deal, intends to marry him off to the sister of a powerful gangster. While the y0unger generation try to escape the arranged marriages of their scheming families. their parents try to pull the wool over the eyes of the community's old and Wise patriarchs in order to achieve their corrupt monetary goals.

A complex, tangled plot makes this mowe confusing to begin With, while a SCreen packed With Visual actiVity, fluid camerawork and a dominating gypsy music soundtrack compounds the chaotic tone. However, once the scene has been set, it delivers a series of Wonderfully unusual moments, Crammed With local cultural colour. The comedy comes in many guises, from basic slapstick to the surreal sight of a bride dressed in pink running away from her wedding dingised as a tree trunk.

Although the friendships and family ties are all presented rather flippantly, the romantic scenes are not Without power, and occur in fantastic settings, such as a field of sunflowers or by the River Danube.

Colourful and chaotic, Black Cat, White Cat may have a confusing narrative, but in terms of atmosphere and tone, it is a sensory delight. As for the title, the feline pair’s sporadic appearances, although visually dramatic, are mysteriously unconnect- ed to the story until the end, when they play a very important role in the film’s concluSion. (Beth Williams) Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh FI/mhouse from Fri 7 May 1 ' *1 I


STAR RATINGS 4: Unmissable Very good

'41: :3: air WOfIh a Shot ' Below average ::: You've been warned

29 Apr— l3 May 1999 THE LIST 21