BAMBOOZLED (15) 135 mins .00
Searing, challenging satire from Spike Lee
Spike Lee taps into his vast reservoir of creative energy and educated anger to bring Bamboozled to the cinema. It’s a searing and challenging account of a black scripwriter’s attempts to create a TV show that will appeal to the American mainstream. What he comes up with is a New Millennium Minstrel Show, as politically incorrect as were those early 20th century films with such titles as Ten Pickaninnies and The Wooing And Wedding Of A Coon (yes, really). Lee’s fictional writer has his Afro- American performers ‘blacking-up’ to become the crude racial stereotypes of yesteryear. Lo and behold, the show is a sensation and yesteryear proves itself to be as present as ever.
Through the course of this highly political film, Lee keeps diverging from an obvious analysis, and chances are most audiences will leave the cinema with their minds full of questions. For one thing, the minstrel show brings together many facets of the contemporary black American population who do not sit easily together. Jada Pinkett Smith is an aspiring assistant to Damon Wayans’ scriptwriter, while her brother is the furiously radical hip hop artist Big Black Africa (Mos Def). The film almost goes belly up towards the end when all the characters slide into insanity, but Bamboozled is a satire and justifiably demands some suspension of disbelief. The performances are great and it’s funny too.
(Hannah Fries) I Genera/ re/ease fro/n Frr 6 Apr.
DRAMA MEN OF HONOUR (15) 128 mins 0.
Jingoistic cornball from De Niro
Produced by Brll Cosby. Men Of Honour rs the true story of Carl Brashear. the Douglas Bader of deep sea dryrng and the frrst black man to attarn the rank of Master Chref. the hrghest rn the US Navy.
Thrs huge slrce ot rrngorstrc cornball would be thoroughly repr‘ehensrble rf rt were not. a) a true story. and bl so raw-
dropprngly manrpulatrye. yet watchable. No strrng rs left unpulled to let us know that Brashear rs a worthy black role model. Robert De Nrro chews the scenery and generally has a ball playrng the redneck Master Cbref who rnrtrally rnsprres then humrlrates and frnally befrrends the srnntxl-agarnst Brashear. Cuba Goodrng Jr rs excellent as Brashear — he has the presence of a mrd—TO's Robert Redford combrned wrth Srdney Romer's rhythmrc delryeg'. rnakrng the most saccharrne of lrnes sound unforced. Char'lrxe Theron makes an appearance as the woman who saves De Nrr‘o from alcoholrsm. She's a frne actress. yet thrs frlnt agarn proy'es she really ought to sack her agent. Drrector George Trllman Jr seems to thrnk he rs rnakrng an rssue— heayy TV Movre and anybody v.ho has seen The Cortlrc‘ Strrp 's Strrke yyrll crrnge at the lrnal courtroom scene. Thrs rs one for the famrly that prays together and takes y'alrum together. (Paul Daler
I General release from Frr 30 rtzfar.
ausw DRY (15) 90 mins .0
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ltlf‘tp’llyl scrsso'ed salor‘ legend.
P'trl Alan chkrnanr has gryen up the t‘a-rdressrng ghost srnce hrs y'.'rfe Shelley rNatasha Rrr‘hardsonr ran off ‘.‘.'rtl‘ Sandra the harr model. leayrng ltrnt and therr sor‘ Brran behrnd. But thrngs change ‘.'.hen hrs arch rryal. the trouffant Raymond. arrryes rn town ready to crrmp hrs y'.'ay to the top After some soul searchrng and the drsr‘oyery of Shelley 's cancer rthe yen, loose thread that holds the story together». Phrl. Shelley. Brran and Sandra get together to take on therr cheatrng rryal for the last trme.
The storylrne rs predrctable. but let's face rt. once you hear the name of the frlrn you don't expect much more than a puff of hot arr. a streak of sentrrnent and a hrghlrght of comedy along the
DRAMA SHOWER (12) 94 mins 0.
Further proof that the Orrent can make manrpulatrye mush as r'eadrly as the rest of the world rcheck out The Road Hornet. erang Yang's trlm possesses all the rrght rngredrents for humanrst sentrment: mentally drsabled stay-at— horne son rJrang Wu). prodrgal returnee elder brother rRu Cur: Xrnl. and a loveable busrness under pressure from the brg. bad world — dad thu Xul runs an ancrent Berrrng bathhouse. There rs a decent story to be extracted from the subject (The Turk/sh Bat/r recently drd an rnterestrng rob of rtl. but where
DANCE.- ROMANCE SAVE THE LAST DANCE (12) 112 mins 00.
We've had a good long run of it since D/rty Dancrng. but It was only a matter of trme before the dance-cum— romance genre r‘arsed rt's cute. fluffy head agarn. For rts revrval rn Save The Last Dance we have MTV Frlms and drr‘ector‘ Thomas Carter to thank.
The premrse as we'll recall from frlrns lrke Footloose rs srmple: two krds from drsparate backgrounds are thrown together by a common love of dance musrc. ln thrs rnstance. recently bereayed ballet student Sara lJulra Strlesl sparks a clash of cultures when she enrols rn a predomrnantly black Chrcago hrgh school and meets Derek lSean Patrrck Thomas). a yOung. grfted and black hrp hop enthuSrast. To be accepted. Sara must learn the Joys of batty shakrng and Derek. as we'd expect. rs only too happy to help.
Threatened by the pre-reQursrte external forces who thrnk thrs rnterr'acral romance rs bang out of >r'der. Sara and Derek nonetheless struggle to do rustrce to therr talents
Bad hair day
way. It rs only made bearable by chkman and chhardson. who manage to make the best of a trlrrr that rs the brg—screen etturyalent of a bad harr' day. (Jane Hamrltonl
I Genera/ re/ease fro/n Frr (to Apr.
Fer/fan O/petek's frlm played up both the exotrc and the er‘otrc to arrrye at the sexually complex. Zhang Yang settles for the obyrous. There rs the loser wrth brg ambrtrons wanted by local gangsters but protected by the t_)athhouse owner. the shy srnger who can't perform rn publrc but who's a brt rn the baths. and the overly strarghtr laced husband who can't forgrve what he has percerved as an rndrscretron by hrs er0. Thrs feels lrke a frlm for vrev-rers who want Chrnese culture shot through wrth easrly recognrsable and westernrsed values. (Tony McKrbbrnr
I Fr/nr/touse. Edrnburgn fro/n Frr e Apr; GFT. G/asgow from Frr 15‘ Apr.
Pleasing dance movie revival
and therr mutual love. It's all very sweet and rt you're susceptrble to teen-flrcks and dance movres. thrs wrll almost certarnly leave a warm feelrng rn yOer tummy.
rCatherrne Bromleyl I General release from Frr 30 Mar:
29 Mar—12 Ar 20:31 THE LIST 29