new releases

Romeo And Juliet (12) 120 mins flirt it *

On their way to the Capulets’ masked ball, Mercutio slips Romeo an Ecstasy tablet, a white pill with a broken heart. No sooner has Romeo taken the drug than the sky explodes in a brilliant starburst of red rockets. And he hasn't even met Juliet yet.

Watching William Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet is equally intoxicating. Strictly Ballroom director Baz Luhrmann bombards us with startling images, audacious camera tricks and breathtaking action all of it put to use in re- creating the overwhelming experience of adolescent love.

Luhrmann sets the action in the imaginary city of Verona Beach, a violent, vibrant Latin city that comes over as a cross between Miami and Mexico City (the film was actually shot there and in Veracruz). The Capulets and Montagues are rival corporate families (the former Hispanic, the latter white) whose enmity is vividly established in the film’s bravura opening scene: a stunningly choreographed showdown at a gas station between gun-wielding members of the warring clans that climaxes in a

huge fireball. Only in retrospect do you realise that the insults the gang members have been trading are Shakespeare's dialogue, such is the film’s inspired match of Elizabethan codes of honour with Latin machismo. The film’s invented world fuses Catholic iconography (the screen is awash with candles, crosses, immaculate hearts and porcelain saints) and camp (Mercutio is a black drag queen who lip-synchs to the 705 disco anthem ’Young Hearts Run Free' at the Capulets’ ball). The resulting aesthetic is both deliriously feverish and studiedly cool, combining direct emotional appeal with

Angelic vision: Claire Danes in Romeo And Juliet

knowing irony.

But all of this would count for nothing were the young lovers not convincing. Leonardo DiCaprio's rebel- without-a-cause Romeo and Claire Danes's dreamy but resolute Juliet not only look the part being young and beautiful —- they also act superbly, bringing such rapture and pain to their love that their deaths leave us with a wrenching sense of loss. (Jason Best)

General release from Fri 28 Mar SpeCIal preview straw/ring as part of Crusaid’s' fund-raising Academy Awards Part; a! the Edinburgh Film/rouse an Mon 24 Mar

I don‘t want a lava: Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton in Dante's Peak

Dante’s Peak (12) 109 mins 1% av

This lrlfl trudoet ‘.'()ltalt() u'rarna has a range of thrilling effects scenes, out lacks good writing and tastinc; ln the t?X(,lllll(_l sequence, US Hairy Dalton «Pierce

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Anyway, he arrives in one of America's most idyllic towns, Dante's Peak, where he’s shown around by nicey-nice, single-parent mayor Rachel Wando iLinda Hamilton) Harry tells her that her dormant volcanic fires are about to liflJlldlf.’ (as if she didn't know, t‘ut Dreyfus refuses to panic the local until hrs team of geoltt-:;:sts have more evrdence - by \‘v'llitll tarne it's too late Meanwhile, Ra-:lir;-l’~; tun") kids have gone up the mountain t7 tiring down stubborn old riranrlrna rElixabeth Hoffman).

Pennerl lry Daylight writer Leslie Benern, Dante's Peak courts disaster grander scale, wrth lava flows, pyroclastic vr-ry nastvl, and even aCid


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lakes Donaldson directs these we” 'an'i, after Species, ne is at least -;;.". track, if not form) but, as Harry says, its all aDOLit frogs and hot Put a frog if) not water and it ltill‘l)‘. out, but put rt in cold water and heat ll i'aduaily, and the frog stays in .irrl mi‘s \‘ce‘l, the special effects are


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3a :’ ft‘rrfJSf’ from Fri 28 Mar

Trojan Eddie (15) 105 mins ****

From keenly remembered Glasgow in Small Faces, Gillies Mackinnon returns to the oul' sod of Ireland for his new film, where he prevrously shot The Playboys, and where his insight, compassion and feeling for the local turf once again pays dividends.

If bearish Albert Finney dominated the earlier piece, this time Billy Roche's screenplay resolves itself into more of a head-to-head between Stephen Rea’s title character, a market-stall trader with the gift of the gab but not a lot else going for him, and Richard Harris’s aptly-named John Power, quietly authoritative kingpin among the local traveller community.

The tensions start rising when the besotted older man has his offer of marriage accepted by the youthful Aislin McGuckin, unaware that she's been seeing his nephew Rea’s assistant (hunky Stuart Townsend). Come the wedding day however, these two abscond wrth Harris's eleven-grand dowry money, leaving the bridegroom flushed with rage and Rea under serious pressure to prove he wasn't in on the snaffling of the dosh

Stephen Rea is a natural for someone like Eddie, who keels along on acceptable levels of desperation, because he never loses the character’s wry sense of humour and his ingrained survival instinct. It may be somewhat Oberus casting, but Harris too is somewhere near his best, underlining Power’s longing for his lost virility, and the tacrt threat behind his controlling business interests.

The Violence in the film is stark when it comes, but not explortative, and jolts the Viewer, who may have erroneously thought the tale was wandering. No, Mackinnon never loses his grip, and the way he and cameraman John de Borman turn muddy realism inside out with a colour palette of striking burgundies and ochres providing a mythic resonance to an ostensibly everyday tale shows striking endeavour and no little confidence. Quite Superb. (Trevor Johnston)

I Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Filmhouse from Fri 27 Mar

Irish eyes: Aislin McGuckin in Trojan Eddie

STAR RATINGS t r ’r at a Outstanding it t * 1r Recommended * it it Worth a try it * So-so * Poor