corwc ADAPTATION GHOST WORLD (15) 111 mins «on
Ghost World defies cliché and stereotype - something you don’t often see in cinema, especially not modern American
cinema. The title refers satirically
to the bland western world of shopping malls and theme restaurants. Ghost World is inhabited by the walking dead, by video store sales assistants who confuse Fellini’s 81/2 with 9/12 Weeks and cinema concessions operators who value the customer but preach upsizing (that’s selling LARGE tubs of popcorn).
In this miserable place also live Enid and Rebecca (Thora
Birch and Scarlett Johansson), a
pair of high school graduates who temper disgust with their
Dialogue so on the money you won’t believe
a 40-year-old man wrote it
surroundings with cynical bemusement. ‘He’ll get AIDS when he date rapes her,’ says Enid to Rebecca about two of their former fellow students at the graduation prom. It’s this morbid fascination which tempts the girls to reply to a lonely hearts ad placed in the local paper by Seymour (Steve Buscemi). Seymour is a middle-aged geek who collects ‘old stuff’, mostly blues 78$ (he’s pared his collection down to about 1500 records - ‘just the essentials’). Yet in Seymour, Enid sees something cooler than all
the other losers around her.
All this, down to Norman the old guy who sits at a disused bus stop waiting for a bus that will never come, has appeared on the pages of cult comic Ghost World, brainchild of Daniel Clowes. Clowes has adapted his own strip with Terry Zwigoff (director of a brilliant documentary about another cult comic artist, Robert Crumb). Like the best page-to-screen adaptations, they’ve opted not to translate parrot- fashion, but to distil the essence of the source material. Thus, characters, setting and tone are spot on, but the episodic nature of the serialised strip is shaped into a low key story, while new elements such
as Seymour are introduced.
Though Clowes and Zwigoff are of similar mind, they have axes to grind. Clowes expresses himself through the dialogue between the girls - so on the money you won’t believe a 40-year-old man wrote it - which he says is his own inner dialogue. Zwigoff’s alter-ego is Seymour, 3 guy who has retreated from it to become a nostalgia buff, but who is fully aware of what a sad case he is. (There’s a wonderful in- joke concerning an album Zwigoff and Crumb recorded which Seymour notes ‘isn’t too good’.)
Very, very good is the production design, which is stylised without looking superficial, and the soundtrack, opening with Mohammed Rafi’s stonking 60$ Bollywood tune ‘Jaan Pehechaan Ho’. Where Ghost World really scores, however, is in the casting. Buscemi is brilliant as ever, but Birch and Johansson are so completely, perfectly Enid and Rebecca you wonder Clowes didn’t write his strip with them in mind in the first place. (Miles Fielder)
I Selected re/ease from Fri 7 6 Nov.
CRIME HEIST (15) 107 mins 00..
When master thief Joe Moore (Gene Hackman) carries out a raid on a jewellery store. one moment‘s carelessness means that his face is captured on a security video camera. He decides it‘s a good time to quit and seek retirement down South with his y0ung wife Fran (Rebecca Pidgeon).
However. his fence Bergman (Danny De Vito). has a very different plan. and blackmails him into carrying out one final score. The job is a consignment of gold bullion. arriving in Boston on a Swiss cargo plane. but joining Joe and his regular crew Bobby (Delroy Lindo) and Pinky (Ricky Jay) is Bergman's cocky nephew. Jimmy (Sam Rockwell). Can the newcomer be trusted?
After the underrated period drama The Wins/ow Boy and the patchy filmmaking satire State And Main. David Mamet is back on home-turf for Heist. offering up a noirish world of cons and scams. tricks and blufts. double- crossings and betrayals.
Generic material is given real feeling
The writer/director's fans will be relieved that his trademark charged diaiogue is still intact. Joe. who remains calm under the utmost pressure. is described by the admiring Bobby as ‘so cool that when he goes to bed the sheep count him'.
Yet. Mamet is also attempting to muscle in on action-movie conventions — hence the shoot— outs and the plane-jacks - for which he lacks the reguisite Visual panache. There's also a suspicion that he's now writing to a “nothing is what it seems' formula: the various twists and revelations come as little Surprise
to a forewarned spectator. who's braced for the unpredictable. Hackman and Lith provide commanding performances as the ruthless career criminals. and their understated mutual respect gives the generic material a measure of real feeling. De Vito though fails to match his own back-catalogue of sleazy villains. and the miscast Pidgeon makes an underwhelming femme fatale. Reasonably entertaining then. but by Mamet's high standards. strangely perfunctory. (Tom Dawson) I Fi/mhouse. Edinburgh from Fri 23 Nov.
(18) 94 mins 0
It all begins with a baby being born. Waiting inside the womb. he's telling his mother to 'fuckin' push!‘ Though little more than a foul-mouthed variation on Look Who's Ta/king. it nevertheless firmly establishes that this film Will be told from the unconventional perspective of its yOung protagonists.
Darren iCiIIian Murphyi and Sinead (Elaine CaSSidyi are born at the same time. and live next door to each other. Throughput their childhood years. they are an inseparable pair. doing everything together. even holding hands thr0ugh a hole in the wall as they lie in bed at night. As they grow up. however. they turn from adorable kids into troublesome teenagers. who cause trOuble at school. in clubs and in town. They becorne the Deadly Duo. wrth Darren now called Pig. and Sinead being Runt. Though their pranks start off as leSt the actions of cheeky adolescents. things begin to get out of hand. As their senemeenth birthdays loom the parents decide to separate the pair, a deciSion ‘.'.’R|Cl‘. tests their Strength of the lifelong bond.
The play haying already been an Edinburgh Fringe hit. writer Enda Waish adapts his work for the big screen with debutante Kirsten Sheridan directing. The transposltion. however. is not a
Unsuccessful adaptation of the Fringe hit
Successful one. as Disco Pigs still feels too theatrical. \i‘i’alsh doesn't understand that his dialogue n‘ust be sparser 0n SCreen. nor that rno'ioiogties to camera seldom if ever. work.
Sheridan's heath, -handeo direction allows proceedings to becorre ris.b.\, melodramatic. though Ins 's also due to s0me of the acting. Cillian Murphy. who played Rg in the original product on. gives a performance which 'oeIOngs on the stage. but is all wrong ‘or filn‘. His acting is exaggerated and mannered, failing to gwe subtlety to a". performance he preSumaoly knew almost too we! Elaine CaSSidy rexcezient on screen in Felic/a's Joanieyi 28 good as Runt. but her peitoriiiance is the only thing WHICH impresses If) the filn‘. Ultimately. D'sco Pigs fails to |Il‘."O".C emotionally. and eaves one feeling battered and bemused. iNick Dawson.
I Se/ected re.’ease from 76 Nov.
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