To Forrest Gump: an evil twin To Woody Allen: a clone

Crumb Terry Zwigoff (18) Arizona Dream Emir Kusturica (15) Miami Rhapsody David Frankel (15) Innocent Lies Patrick Dewolf (18) Friday Gary Gray (15) Who's the Man? Ted Demme (15)

If the cartoonist Robert Crumb were a fictional character, he would be Forrest Gump's evil twin brother, the arch-geek who managed to survive, and indeed to become a winner, by turning his goofiness into a triumphant form of affirmation. With his Coke-bottle glasses, crooked teeth and thrift-shop wardrobe, he shuffled through the Sixties looking like a stooped old grandfather even as a young man. Only his crazed, savage, hallucinatory comix indicated what was bubbling behind the cartoon-character facade.

Terry Zwigoff has known the artist for 25 years, thanks to a shared passion for early jazz and ragtime (which figure in this film's distinctive music track) and the length of their friendship must go a long way to explaining the startling candour of Crumb, Zwigoff's documentary portrait. It's by no means a eulogy. A critic is wheeled on to dub him the Bruegel of the late 20th century, but this assessment is not allowed to go unchallenged. Crumb's childhood fantasies sound odd but innocuous: he developed fetishistic attachments to his aunt's cowboy boots and to Bugs Bunny, of whom he kept a crumpled paper cut-out about his person. But he emerged as a virulent racist and misogynist (a typical fantasy: rough sex with a big-bottomed but headless woman); and astonishingly self-absorbed, too. The funniest / spookiest scenes show him with his two brothers, both of them equally artistically precocious but, unlike him, completely unable to cope with the world. Detached, sniggering, Crumb looks embarrassed by his eccentric siblings, and his decision to move to France at the end of the film looks like an abandonment (one brother, the brilliant, tormented Charles, later committed suicide).

Crumb is poorly-structured and a little too long. And there are some glaring omissions: it skates nippily over the influence of illegal pharmaceuticals on Crumb's art (there's a brief mention of his once having taken something similar to, but not the same as, LSD), and remains silent on the fate of his two sisters, who declined to be interviewed for the film - a rather large gap in a movie claiming to be a portrait of a dysfunctional family (perhaps they were too well-adjusted?). But this is still a provocative, fascinating film.

Emir Kusterica, from the former Yugoslavia, might not be well-known in Britain but he has had a spectacular career: a Golden Palm for his second film, When Father Was Away on Business, in 1985; the Best Director Prize at Cannes for his third, Time of the Gypsies, in 1989; and another Golden Palm last month for Underground. His fourth film, Arizona Dream, looks in some ways like the blot on his copybook. Begun in 1991, shooting was closed down when Kusterica had a breakdown and the production soared way over budget. Completed months later, it was released briefly in America in 1993. Now finally it surfaces in Britain bearing the stamp of a cult film, or a film maudit.

Johnny Depp plays another of his spacey loners, a New York fish inspector who travels to Arizona for the wedding of his uncle (Jerry Lewis), a struggling car salesman, and falls for the flaky charms of Faye Dunaway's glamorous older woman. But no plot synopsis can correctly convey the deep strangeness of this baggy, meandering, mercurial piece: so often, in movies, small- town Middle America is portrayed as cosily whimsical, but here, filtered through Kusterica's Middle-European, almost surreal, sensibility, it becomes an absurd, melancholy place of enchanted flying fish and stubborn dreams. Like Underground, this is a marathon, self-indulgent, often profoundly tedious sprawl which you go with, part of the time at least, for its sudden flashes of visionary splendour.

The opening credits of Miami Rhapsody are a give-away: no actors before the title, just the name in a sober typeface and the cast-list in non- hierarchical, alphabetical order. There is a Gershwin / Cole Porter soundtrack, there is a well-heeled but terminally anxious Jewish-American family, there is Mia Farrow. Any similarity to Woody Allen's nervous comedies is wholly intentional. The main difference is the setting: far from Manhattan in Florida's overheated, tropical glow.

All of which is not to belittle this film: Allen on form can be supremely entertaining, and so is Miami Rhapsody. Sarah Jessica Parker plays an advertising copywriter whose worries about her imminent marriage are fuelled by her relatives, as their various ill-fated extra-marital affairs unfold in a suite of flashbacks. Her mother (Farrow) is having a fling with a Cuban nurse (Antonio Banderas); her father (Paul Mazursky) is involved with a slightly unhinged travel agent; her brother has left his pregnant wife for a model (Naomi Campbell, who lets the side down somewhat, acting- wise) and so on in an endless sexual roundelay.

Smartly directed and attractively performed, in particular by Parker as a mordant, witty, neurotic Carrie Fisher / Nora Ephron type, Miami Rhapsody is an upscale Saturday date movie: not great but polished, amusing and above all competent - a quality which, these days, gives it a head start on most other comers.

Competence is certainly not much in evidence in Innocent Lies, the worst film of the week and possibly the year, in which a harassed detective (Adrian Dunbar) arrives in a fishing village in northern France on the eve of the Second World War to solve a murder. Immediately, in a scene that should be played in film schools as a masterclass in poor story exposition, a whole gaggle of possible suspects arrive on the scene all at once.

Reeling from plot overload, the viewer eventually gathers that they are: the son (Stephen Dorff), who killed his twin brother years ago in a childhood accident; his German-Jewish wife, trying desperately to hide her origins; his sister (Gabrielle Anwar), whose fiance has been murdered; and his mother (Joanna Lumley, tres camp in a series of extraordinary turbans), who is great chums with Hitler.

It is all very gloomy with a weird Eraserhead-type soundtrack of wailing wind. The dialogue sounds as if it has been badly dubbed from some other language (the writer-director is French, which can't have helped much): how about "my little hot water bottle" as a sexy term of endearment? There was much audience laughter during these scenes, but not laughter of a friendly and complicit kind.

Then Lumley is killed; Dunbar is pursued by his interpreter and in turn lusts after Anwar; we keep cutting back to the childhood tragedy; incest is on the cards; and suddenly we flash forward to two black Americans in a car driving across modern-day San Francisco. Well, actually, that was yet another blunder (a rogue film reel from Mario van Peebles' new movie about the Black Panthers had snuck into the press preview) but it seemed no more illogical than anything that had gone before. It's a disgrace that, in its present form, this script was allowed to see the light of day.

Friday is a brash Afro-American comedy starring Ice Cube, about two likeable slackers whiling away a strictly work-free day in the Hood. Ice Cube (who also co-produced and co-wrote the script) is an attractive performer but this is broad, unsophisticated, appallingly sexist stuff. Who's the Man? is a brash Afro-American comedy starring Ice T, about two likeable slackers, played by the MTV rappers Doctor Dre and Ed Lover, who are coerced into signing up for New York's finest. Directed by Ted Demme, the producer of Yo! MTV Raps, and marginally the better of these two movies (not a difficult achievement), it's a sort of black Police Academy.

n All films open tomorrow


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury


Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas


Arts and Entertainment


Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7


Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary


Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige


Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions