Buena Vista Social Club (U) 104 mins *‘k‘k‘k
'T he yanks have colonised our subconscious', is surely the best known line from a Wim Wenders movie. Spoken in this German director's mid-seventies monochrome masterpiece, Kings Of The Road, it so clearly brought out Wenders' love/hate relationship with America. In his latest movie Wenders goes to Cuba, a nation whose communist status has led to a rather less involved relationship with the States. In one New York sequence the team of musicians Wenders films has trouble recognising miniature models of the most famous faces in modern America. Back at home in Cuba we see the same musicians talking about their career hiatus; we see cars that look 40 years old and pavements cracked, beyond repair.
With the collapse of communism and their wealthy nearby neighbour refusing to trade, Cuba looks a little like the land that time forgot. A theme Wenders brings out both in the over-exposed images of Havana and also in the musical brilliance of these octogenarian and nonagenarian musicians who have for so long been neglected.
And it's ironically thanks to an American that their careers have been resurrected. Wenders' regular musical
Carnegie Hall concert: members of Buena Vista Social Club
collaborator Ry Cooder's interest in the Cuban scene, and his large reputational clout, results in album recordings, a performance in Amsterdam and, in a rousing finale, a show at no less an institution than Carnegie Hall. Even that choice, however, has a touch of bittersweetness about it. An early 20th century building, it's the sort of long-standing landmark of which even those who know nothing about America will be aware.
Not that Wenders' film is first and foremost political, as if it were interested in Cuba for its social ‘backwardness' over the musical charm of its performers. With its steadicam camera weaving around the musicians the emphasis is on an unobtrusive appreciation of the music: exemplified in a sequence set in a large dance hall where Ruben Gonzales performs on a piano, the camera trying to catch the rhythm of the playing.
It's in such moments the film draws comparison with those other masterful performance films, Scorsese's The Last Waltz and Jonathan Demme's recently re-released Stop Making Sense - self-sacrificing auteur movies where the sacrifice proves worth it for the quality of the playing in front of the camera. (Tony McKibbin)
. Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 8 Oct; Glasgow Fi/m Theatre from Fri 75 Oct.
created some astonishing images. Traditional cell animation is mixed with computer generated effects, most strikingly in a new technique called ’Deep Canvas' which creates three dimensional jungle backgrounds for the characters to interact with. Story-wise, Tarzan remains reasonably faithful to Burrough's original. Shipwrecked on a tropical island, baby Tarzan loses his human parents to a tiger as terrifying as The Jungle Book’s Shere Kahn and is adopted by an ape clan. All grown up, the Ape Man is reunited with man and womankind
Tarzan (U) 88 mins *‘k‘k‘k With 47 (and counting) film
adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s ape man, Tarzan is one of Western cinema’s most enduring figures, exceeded only by Dracula. Burroughs’s pulp adventure hero debuted in 1913 in the first of 23 novels. Films, serials, cartoon strips, radio shows and TV series followed. 1918’s Tarzan Of The Apes was the first film. MGM's long- running series saw many able-bodied men, most famously Johnny Weissmuller, don the loin cloth. Things
20TIIE LIST 7-21 Oct 1999
Lord Of The Apes: Tarzan
went quiet in the 705 until 1981’s awful Tarzan, The Ape Man, a showcase for 80 Derek’s Jane. But 1984's very British period drama, Greystoke - The Legend Of Tarzan Lord Of The Apes set the record straight. That’s the potted history, none of which did or would likely have impressed Burroughs, although he always wanted a Disney animated adaptation of his creation. Which brings us to this new version of Tarzan and the most important question: How good is the animation? Very. Disney's enormous pool of animators have
when a trophy hunting/anthropological expedition arrives and Tarzan meets Jane. The cast of famous voices — including Minnie Driver, Glenn Close Nigel Hawthorne, Tony Goldwyn and Alex D. Linz as Tarzan — serve their cartoon alter egos well. Phil Collins’s jungle drums soundtrack is appropriately lively, although we could have done without the vocals. 'Educational themes', such as man vs nature, are sidelined by the at times dazzling computer game-like visuals, this new Tarzan is a fine addition to the Burroughs-inspired canon and one for kids and adults alike. (Miles Fielder) I General release from Fri 8 Oct.
Runaway Bride (PG) 116 mins *‘k‘k
Reunited after all these years, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts are once again under the watchful eye of director Garry Marshall, their first adventure together since Pretty Woman. Thankfully for all parties, this is not quite the action replay plus wrinkles that it has been billed to be, though the building blocks are very familiar.
Gere plays Ike, a hardened New York newspaper columnist who gets sacked for writing an inaccurate piece on Maggie Carpenter (Roberts) who has jilted at the alter three times before and is set to marry again. He goes to her home town to write a revenge piece on her, only they meet and as plans for the wedding proceed, 'things' start to blossom between the two.
The spectre of Jerry Springer seems to haunt this script continually, the subject matter surely has to be a Springer show: 'I just can't stop jilting at the alter!’ The same goes for the ole fashioned country folk of Carpenter's home town: ’I married my sister . . again!’ These are the very same cliche-ridden, inward- Iooking, leave-your-front-door-open red necks, who welcome any stranger — no matter how strange ~— with open arms. Even when said stranger — Ike -— is out to sink one of their own.
The set up isn’t a million miles away from Pretty Woman but the schmaltz-fest at the end is nowhere near as toe-curling as it could have been. Luckily, the supporting cast is strong, with Joan Cusack as bridesmaid Peggy, Hector Elizondo as New York journo Fisher and an unbilled Holly Hunter as Mrs Trout the loony baker being among particular highlights.
It's not going to change the world, but hey, it’s not supposed to. It does do what it says on the tin; there’s romance, hell, there’s even some comedy in there if you look hard enough. Go in expecting fluffy eye candy and you’ll be more than generously rewarded.
(Mark Robertson) I General release from Fri 8 Oct.
Pretty unhappy woman: Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Runaway Bride
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