ROMANTIC COMEOY $33332;fili‘i.“.1'§l“.°.°§i§.':.: COMEDY , ( THE AMER|CAN when they have to split the couple up IN THE BLEAK

and throw In some politiclting about ' PRESIDENT gun control and global ecology. , MIDWINTER President meets girl, President loses Serious points are made about the

l Dill. PieSidefli gets Dill baCli- 30') , American public’s perceptions and t Beiner, the man who managed to get expectations oi their President, and l Bruce Willis into a bunny suit in North, his day-to-day working life makes for here works out how to get the leader 9 fascinating viewing, but an element at .

ot the Western world a date. ; wish tultilment creeps into the Michael Douglas plays the preachy latter stages. eponymous Democrat leader Andrew : However, it is in essence a romantic Shepherd. a widower with a voung : comedy, and a tine one too, with daughter, who talls tor Annette ; Douglas charismatic and honourable, Bening’s sparky environmental and Bening sharp and sexy. The lobbyist. Unfortunately, his supporting chorus of White House 1 extraordinary White House job and an players - Martin Sheen, Michael J. In The Bleak Midwinter: impending reelection campaign out a . Fox, David Paylner, Anna Deavere “modest and unpretentious' few ObStaCIes m the path Ol Oldina'y f smith "' Pmflde comedy and commit Kenneth Branagh‘s latest true love. How do you send flowers in equal measure, while the director min makes much ado when the llorist doesn’t believe you keeps the tempo high and the about life imitating art. as are who you Claim? What Will the . sentiment succinct. (Simon Wardell) O "10!le crew of actors .. - press and opposition say when she ' OiidCigO individual spends the night? The American President (15) (Rob "Wages 0f Self'di‘wvc’y Director lieiner and screenwriter Rainer, US, 1995) Michael Douglas, - immig trimming-S for a 03" PICSldCOit ‘Comedv and Aaron Sorkin (who previously Annette Bening, Martin Sheen. 113 ,(IW- In}; gfit ,pnlx “9'0” 0f conflict in equal measuie' collaborated on A Few Good Men) have 1 mins. From Fri 8. General release. with; unfififihicma

Maloney). dazed and confused about his career orientation. is as indecisive as the Danish Prince, like her Ophelia. Julia Sawalha‘s widowed Nina knows the pains of parental estrangement. and John Sessions‘ drama queen Terry Du Bois camps it up as. well. Queen Gertrude. The same too for Branagh's career move: from the stress-inducing excesses of Mary Shelley 's I-‘runkensteiil to Shakespearean home territory and economical filmmaking (here signalled by black-and- white film stock).

In a way. In The Bleak Midwinter is an ironic

W Barrymore's beguiling rebelliousness

and sexual charm reveals itself to be grounded in a seriously self-destructive psychological condition.

Apparently, the studio flexed its muscles and edited the film heavily, replacing Bird‘s down-beat ending with a lame. inconclusive, semi-happy finish. Only in America could a film as unengaging as Mad Lore be made to follow in the wake of the religious furore provoked by the director’s previous film. Priest. It's not the first time a talented British director has been headhunted by Hollywood only to have her/his first offshore film decapitated by the studio executioner. Antonia Bird‘s talent is very evident in Priest and in her first feature, Stile. Forget Mar/1.0i'e, it's only a cool crush. (Miles

Antonia Bird's first words about Marl Love at the [)rambuie Edinburgh Film Festival premiere of her Hollywood debut were to this effect: this film is nothing like what it could have been, as it was sabotaged by the studio that financed it. An apology by the director for the film you are about to see does not bode well. Another worrying sign is that the film is neither mad. crazy. wacky, etc; nor passionate, romantic or erotic. What Marl Love is, is a dull. tedious, teen angst movie, fuelled by commercial considerations. designed not to provoke a response, but to appeal 3 to the widest audience. Dweeby Chris ()‘Donnell is the .

domesticated all-American boy and l ledcr) ml“ cuff-V 0" Hamlet

maternal re l’lCCiii ‘nt in his i might have been more apt , p ,L ' 3 _ . _ , given the number of(quite

dysfunctlonal family, who falls head Mull/.01? (/3) (An/(mm Bird. U3. fu[“1)r)(10ub]c emu,de

over heels for wild at heart juvenile : I995) llt'i’ii' Bil/'I',\"NW‘(’. Clll'l-i‘ the thespians manage to

delinquent Drew Barrymore. it‘s not i O'Donnell. Joan Allen. 97 mins. From ejaculate during the

until the lovers are on the run that I'll /. (ienerul release. Mad Love: ‘dull, tedious, teen angst movie' course of rehearsals. The

unfolding of the plot is as predictable as the reaction of Sid James to a pair of a.dminis"auon 3.“ so polnfing the. :iiiliiiislijisiiilifieplaced by finger at the entire llSprison serVIce. (,Cspcmmn as [he MURDER IN THE FIRST Bacon 5 extraordinarin committed production gradually falls The few minutes cenainly put you performance lethds welghl t0 “"3 .Vlell- ilplll’l. Gill)/ [0 [CSUFlflCC ill through it. Dumped in Alcatraz alter meanings Sometimes ovel'emphaiic 1‘ ‘r‘u'l‘i’h‘lm “ml”-

the thelt at just a few dollars Kevin picture of a system gone wrong. Based . WW l’i‘lii'i'iii'.’-*?0m is ill its numerous insights

Bacon’s gentle but iron-willed llenri 0" a ""9 3m”: “'5 3 mm “ml 3 mm m. ho , .8. .md - - - - ' t outrage even it .“ . “‘ . . Young Wll'ldS up In the kind (It solitary genume sense 0 dcspalrs in an actor s life . . . ' g . . . confinement - no llght, no tOIlet, (mental M3": Rocco s rattler busy , and work. These moments infrequent hosing down - that would camera aond composer Phns Young 5 ring true. poignant "y the patience of an animal fights bombastic score occasronally push without being contrived. protester, Incredibly, he’s left (here to the point a little too hard. While Slater drawing the audience into rot for three entire years, which does W8" 35 the it") b'iei Puuing his "‘0 "Wm" “WM “""ld‘ virtually breaks his body and leaves 0"" idea's ‘0 "'9 “’5': and “059' "in?" c-'].Scm.bic “N ontytnngonmsmnt- ctovtewarvodmnissuienv ill‘h‘;‘"Shit?iii-2333?:‘ . C CC 1 ' . vengeance on the treacherous tellow lepenenias thefisswate “we”, who cschcws the self-v prisoner who landed him in there. Bacon’sml cames "'8 day' If h? indulgence of Peter's Soon, there’s a tatal stabbing in the “095" t “9'9? "0'" a" ""5 With?" I-‘n'em/x fora pleasingly mess hall and Young |ooks to be oscaf "lid!" his am, there wally isn’t modest and unpretentious doomed_ any justice lett in the movies. (Trevor effort. (Milt-s Fielder) When the kiuergs lawyer Jmes Johnston) Ill llit’ Bleak rllltllt'llilt’r . . . . (/5) (Kenneth Brande/t. Stamphlll (Christian Slater) discovers UK ,995) “MW, the truth of his client’s prekus . Mtl/mlev, Juno Suwul/lu. inhuman treatment, however, he Murder In The First (15) (Marc Rocco, RMWJ [gm-m, oo ,,,,‘,M~_ decides to challenge the indictment, US, 1995) Kevin Bacon, Christian I-‘mm I-‘n' /.- [slimming/r putting the blame squarely on the , Slater, Gary Oldman. 117 mins. From Cameo. [from Iii-i 15.-

Murder In The First: 'a genuine sense of outrage‘ l notoriously harsh Alcatraz 1 Fri 1, General release, (,‘qugmt- Film 'I‘itetm-e.

The List I- H Dec NOS 19