New Films: Reviews
Tuesday 01 June 1999
Director: Robert Young
Starring: Bob Hoskins. Sadie Frost
Jack (Bob Hoskins) is a salty old seadog. His boat: a leaky tub. His home: Whitby. His destination: the ice-bound Arctic. His crew: a Noah's Ark of oddballs (Anna Massey and Gemma Jones's bickering sisters; Sadie Frost's small- town minx). His story: as dull as ditchwater, motored by Robert Young's chug-a-lug direction, and dragged under by Jack Rosenthal's waterlogged screenplay. Because, for all its broad good humour, Captain Jack is a relentlessly faded and arthritic affair; the missing link between homegrown Thirties cinema and low-budget Seventies telly. One from the Marie Celeste school of movie-making.
West End: Odeon Kensington, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Plaza
THE INHERITORS (DIE SIEBTELBAUERN) (15, 95 mins)
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Starring: Simon Schwarz, Sophie Rois
Stefan Ruzowitzky's pungent Austrian parable manages a happy marriage of Orwell's Animal Farm with Thomas More's Utopia. Played out against a pastoral backdrop, The Inheritors kicks off with the mysterious death of a landowner and the subsequent bequest of his estate to the riff-raff: split seven ways between his peasant workers. The gentry are up in arms over the socialist collective in their midst. Meanwhile, the newly minted farmers struggle to maintain their working unit in the face of newfound freedom and outside hostility. Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film, Ruzowitzky's tale runs a predictable course, from lightness to dark, hopefulness to heartache. Ultimately, The Inheritors looks less a piece of contemporary cinema than a kind of cautionary piece of folk art. It's as deliberately structured as a waltz, as solidly drawn as a wood-cut. Its allegorical line in storytelling puts it pleasingly at odds with the rest of this week's output. It ploughs its own furrow.
West End: Curzon Soho
THE KING AND I (U, 87 mins)
Director: Richard Rich
Starring: Miranda Richardson, Martin Vidnovic
The three ages of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic: a Broadway musical at its birth; a beloved CinemaScope spectacular at its peak of popularity; and a sugared, kiddy-style cartoon today. Richard Rich's animated take on The King and I tinkers with the plot and shaves off most of the original songs to recount the now-familar tale of true-Brit schoolteacher Anna Leonowens (Miranda Richardson talking; Christiane Noll singing), whose mumsy intimacy and liberal outlook shake up the rigid hierarchies of feudal Siam. The King (Martin Vidnovic) is a strutting poseur with a heart of gold. Plus there's a comedy elephant, a fire-breathing dragon and a scheming minister (Ian Richardson) with one eye on the throne. The artwork is bright but rudimentary: the songs ("Whistle a Happy Tune"; "Getting to Know You", sung during an impromptu tour of the city) are retooled with a synthetic MOR gloss. It all ends happily.
West End: Clapham Picture House, Odeon Marble Arch, Odeon Swiss Cottage, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Fulham Road, Virgin Trocadero, Warner West End. And local cinemas
MY FAVOURITE MARTIAN (PG, 93 mins)
Director: Donald Petrie
Starring: Jeff Daniels, Christopher Lloyd
After The Brady Bunch Movie, the Beverly Hillbillies and Mission: Impossible, Hollywood must be hunting hard for old TV shows to cannibalise. Forgive them, then, for alighting finally on My Favourite Martian, a small-screen sitcom from the Sixties (apparently), and surely the last stale crumb in the bucket. As directed by Donald Petrie, this feature-length overhaul is noisy, nonsensical and utterly charmless. Christopher Lloyd is the eponymous extra-terrestrial; nose-diving to Earth and being ushered under the wing of Jeff Daniels' down-on-his-luck TV reporter. Initially, Daniels has his sights set on a career-making exclusive; later, he grows to love the oddball. And so it goes: pantomime complemented by crude slapstick comedy. Enter Darryl Hannah as a kooky neighbour, Elizabeth Hurley as a vapid telly bimbo, and a walking, talking spacesuit with a remorseless set of naff one-liners. Exit enjoyment, involvement, any sense of money well spent. Exit cinema. Go home, lie down. Try to put it out of your head.
West End: Odeon Camden Town, Odeon Kensington, Odeon Marble Arch, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Odeon West End, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Chelsea. And local cinemas
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 3 Louis van Gaal gets tough with Manchester United players, with Darren Fletcher and Luke Shaw berated in public and Phil Jones left looking bemused
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?
Fight Club 2: Chuck Palahniuk sequel is a 'meta-fictional comment on the cultural response to the original'
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains