DRAMA LAST ORDERS (15) 108 mins 0..
Converting Graham Swift’s remarkable novel of loss, friendship and life’s cruel decline into a movie was always going to be something akin to catching salt in the wind. Possibly only the long deceased film director John Huston could have made anything out of this quiet meditation of post- war life in the south east of England.
Jack (Michael Caine), a butcher from Bermondsey, has died. His three best friends - Vic (Tom Courtney), Lenny (David Hemmings) and Ray (Bob Hoskins) - congregate in their local pub with Jack’s ashes. Joined by Jack’s son Vince (Ray Winstone), they set off on a road-trip to Margate to scatter the old man’s remains. The fraught journey sees each of them contemplating their relationship with Jack, and honest brutal truths begin to emerge concerning Jack’s relationship with his wife Amy (Helen Mirren) and his mentally handicapped daughter June (Laura Morelli).
In adapting Swift's Booker Prize winning novel writer/director Fred
COMEDY MADE (15) 94 mins 00.
It's difficult to think of a bigger pain in the arse than Vince Vaughii's motormouth loser Ricky in this gloriously frenetic though messy directorial debut from actor Jon Favreau. Wannalxe-boxer Bobby (Favreau) lives a low rent eXIstence ferrying his stripper girlfriend (Famke Jansseni to work. while labOuring on a building site and looking after his girlfriend's little girl. The albatross around his neck. however. is his best friend Ricky. a three-bit bum with a superannuated ability to piss people off with his mercurially offensive manner. When they are offered a quick iob as out- of-town muscle for Los Angeles mob chief Max (Peter Falk — all gravel voice and cigars). Bobby gets to sit back and watch as his truly idiotic friend dismantles the best laid
plans of NYC mobsters and men.
Schepisi (A Cry In The Dark, The Russia House) has lost the febrile sense that this sad story is built on odd tender moments snatched from eternity. What we are left with here is soap opera punctuated by flashback after flashback, with each actor taking it in turn to wear a more ridiculous wig.
This is, however, a soap opera acted out by a right royal cast and Caine, Hoskins and Mirren in particular are fantastic, all three bristling with the malcontent of unfulfilled lives and simple views. Also, Brian Tufano’s
HORROR LONG TIME DEAD (15) 94 mins 0
It's a follow up rather than a segue) to the effemescent SWingers. to which this silly foul-mouthed caper pays more
Pisses away a golden opportunity
cinematography is an abject lesson in dreary seaside eloquence. But what really kills this underachieving Britflick is Paul Grabowsky’s truly appalling score, which underpins every key scene with clunky piano abstraction (just in case anyone unfamiliar with the works of Mike Leigh may be watching and wonder which emotion to feel). Like the character of Lenny, Last Orders manages to piss many of its golden opportunities up against a wall. (Paul Dale)
I Fi/mlieuse. Edinburgh from Fri 78 Jan.
Dated stalk ’n’ slash thriller
than lipservice With its sharp dialogue and the stylised swnig of its more hedonistic scenes. The tone. however, is very uneven and the shifts in pace do not always benefit the Wilfully flat—tired plot. This is an actor's moVie though and the performances throughout are excellent. with half The Sopranos cast popping up in bit parts. Finally. the film belongs to Vaughn. who pitches the insidious Ricky somewhere between Stan Laurel and Joe Pesci: av-rkv-rard. lO(,)llEl(ZlOUS and very funny. Also watch out for a great self- parodying cameo from Sean ‘Ruff Daddy' Combs.
I Selected release from Fri 25 Jan.
Gloriously frenetic mess
How did this film get made? Since the three protracted (leconstructions of the horror thriller with the Scream trilogy — and those parodied in the two Scary Movres - this non- ironic 'stalk 'n' slash' flick is plain out of date. Perhaps the thinking was: Brits can make teen horror films too. They can't.
Writer-director Marcus Adams employs a deVIce that went out with your Omens and Exorcists. Chilling in the basement beneath a warehouse party. a group of college mates play a makeshift Ouija board. Unfortunately. one of the group (played by Glasgow born Alec Newman) has a long lost father who is locked up in a loony bin. where he acts like the reincarnation of Aleister Crowley. The son's presence causes the friends accidentally to summon an Arabian fire demon. Which. as Arabic lore has it. must murder each member of the group in gruesome. though not particularly ingenious ways. before it can return to its realm. And that sucks.
As does the remainder of the film. No sooner has the first of the friends been burned and thrown through a skylight. than the lot find increasing unfeasible ways of separating so they can be alone and vulnerable in dark places. 'Got a light? asks EastEnde/‘s' Joe Absolom. 'No.‘ replies Lukas Haas. ‘try the kitchen.' Which is located at the bottom of a pitch black stairwell. You get the idea. Still. if you like to leap about in your seat to ear-splitting sound effects. this crap's for you. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Fri 18 Jan.
THE GLASS HOUSE
(15) 106 mins 0.
If it is not wise to throw stones in glass houses it is definitely not clever to make a psychological thriller With abOLit as much suspense as watching an episode of Gardener '3 World.
Ruby (Leelee Sobieski) is yOur typical 16-year-old rebel With a penchant for smoking behind her parent‘s back and sneaking home late at night. But her life as a tempestuous teen ends when her parents die in a car crash. Ruby and her kid brother Rhett (Trevor Morgan) are then shipped off to live With her parents best friends. Erin and Terry Glass (Diane Lane and Stellar) Skarsgard) in — oh no — a house made of glass.
At first life seems like a Dr Dre music video. With limousines and a pool. but something is not quite right from the moment that Ruby and Trevor are told that they have to share a room. Things turn from bad to worse and so Ruby makes it her mission to discover the truth behind the Glass's errant behaViour.
However. there are only a couple of intriguing moments (most notably seeing Diane Lane shooting up) before this long- Winded film reaches its inevitable. dull conclusion.
(Kaleem Aftab) I General release from F1) 2:3 Jan.
' .i‘ .laii .’.)().’ THE LIST 23