new releases

The People vs Larry Flynt (18) 130 mins

The makers of this film say that Larry Flynt, entrepreneurial publisher of Hustler magazine, is a redneck scumbag and therefore the last person you would expect to see upholding America's constitutional right of free speech. But that makes the film’s hero sound like an intellectual contrivance, all paradox and symbolism. In fact, Flynt, as played by Woody Harrelson, is a totally engaging and inspiring character regardless of the fact that he also i— somewhat accidentally found his way to the Supreme Court in a battle to protect the First Amendment.

Flynt came from a desperately poor Kentucky home, but he was a sharp boy with ideas for making money. In the early 705, he owned a string of Ohio strip joints out of which he forged a publishing empire that came to be worth millions. Flynt’s was not an easy journey. Possibly an undiagnosed manic depressive, he baited the authorities, spent time in jail, was shot and paralysed, sunk into despair and was then sent to a hellish psychiatric prison. He also

married Althea Leasure, a stripper and eventually a junkie, his true love. The People vs Larry Flynt is, then,

about a lot more than politics.

That is not to dismiss the film’s central argument: that the right of free speech is so absolute, it must include the right to publish explicit and offensive material. But this is articulated by Flynt’s loyal lawyer Alan Isaacman (Edward Norton) and is essentially a middle-class debate. Flynt argues a more visceral case: that porn is only offensive to those who are too sexually uptight to

handle it.

Porn on the Fourth of July: Woody Harrelson in The People vs Larry Flynt

Harrelson is excellent as the unstoppable Flynt, but it is Courtney Love as Althea you won’t be able to take

your eyes off. Like Madonna in Evita, but more so, Love

plays a woman whose life parallels her own, and it is impossible not to read her performance doubly - as acting and as ’soul baring’. Moreover, she brings an edginess that captures the raw, self-abusive allure of the sex industry. Without her, The People vs Larry Flynt would still be controversial, but it wouldn’t be so exciting. (Hannah Fries)

General release from Fri 7 7 Apr See feature

Armchair supporters: Colin Firth and Mark Strong in Fever Pitch

Fever Pitch (15) 105 mins

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Colin Firth plays the Hornby character, English schoolteacher Paul Ashworth, whose life is both enhanced and debilitated by his passion for the Gunners, A relationship with colleague Sarah Hughes tRuth Gemmell‘ dips and peaks in direct proportion to the 1988/89 season, which saw the horror of Hillsborough and a dramatic league climax as Arsenal's challenge to Liverpool reached its fairytale

conclusion Her inability to comprehend his obsession is summed up in that one futile phrase thrown at many a disciple 'it's only a game'

David Evans's film captures the wit and misery of the book as we follow the landmark moments of Paul's life - his first match, his first match on his own, the first match at the wrong end and those precious times when genuine joy is just an exasperating toe- poke away,

The period detail is also spot—on with the early 70s haircuts, fashion trousers, The Clangers and the game Headache enhanced by the music of Slade, Harry J Allstars and The Who While the tension may be lessened by the knowledge of how the season and film ends, that climactic. moment is one which most football fans could get a handle on even if most may never quite experience that enormity

Fine support is lent by Ken Stott as the headmaster, Mark Strong as Paul’s fellow acolyte and Hcgllv Aird as Sarah's flatrnate and soothsayer There is no Substitute for this in the sne'ld til the foothali iniss it iBrian Donaldson:

General release from Fr: .1 Apr

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Basquiat l mins ‘c *t s‘

lean-Michel Basquiat was very much a product of the New York art scene of the 80s. In 1981, an unknown graffiti writer Then suddenly an overnight star, close friend of Andy Warhol, date for t.l;idoi‘.na And by l988, at the age of 27, dead from a drugs overdose.

Painter and sculptor Julian Schnabel's debut film captures Bascitiiat's charm and vision, but never c‘onVinces us of the citialitv of his art But in a way, that’s the very point the art world depicted here Is full of cognosc'enti who, despite the riieanziici of the word, actually knox'.l nothing and base their opinions (in fashion, on the hype of who's hot and who's not.

The casting of the film helps reinforce this sense of the real life setting as a circus of celebrities and hangers-on. Christopher Walken, Courtney Love, Tatiirn O'Neill and Willem Dafoe breeze in and out again in ininor roles. Gary Oldrnan, Dennis Hopper and DaVid Bowie ias Andy Warhol) have more substantial parts Basquiat uses the trendy New York scene as its subject matter and its very being

in the title role, Jeffrey Wright is a genuine discovery Basquiat wants recognition by people like Warhol, but he's not ‘.'.rill:ng for perhaps able) to play the fame game, nor can he show loyalty ll‘. any meaningful way to his girlfrien 2' Gina ‘Clclllf‘ Forlani), or those who supported hiiii in the early days. When he stands in the street and sees a city skyline with a superimposed surfing scene where the clouds should be and hears Public Image instead of traffic. noise, we get a glimpse of the artist's creativity and ability to View the world in entirely different Visual terms But if the film reveals anything, it’s the 5 heavy price of fame, where talent is exploited for commercial gain and artists become coriiniodities as much as their works. (Alan Morrison)

Glasgow. Odeon at the Quay from Fri 4 Apr Edinburgh Cameo from Fri ll Apr.


Portrait of the artist: Jeffrey Wright in

Basquiat STAR RATINGS t t t t 1 Outstanding * s * + Recommended * t * Worth a try it is 50-30 t Poor