Big Night (15) 110 mins 1" air * 1k

Successful cinema, particularly of the arthouse variety, and a successful meal have much in common. Subtle pace and structure, a variety of contrasting tastes, a complementary setting and fresh ingredients are vital to both. The analogy might not be perfect, but its basrc truth is exquisitely demonstrated in this low-budget, independent American comedy.

The Simple plot concerns brothers Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and Secondo Pilaggi (Stanley Tucci), whose New Jersey Italian restaurant, The Paradise, is all but bankrupt because of Priino’s punctilious attitude to his cuisine. Arch rival Pascal (Ian Holm), who serves what the Americans want to a full restaurant every night, persuades Secondo to set up a ’big night' for the famous Singer LOUIS Prima which will turn The Paradise into an overnight success.

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Men, Women: A User's Manual (12) 123 mins int 2*

Until his spectatiular \Nttl'ld War II update on Les Miserables, Claude Lelouch was still best known on these shores for the da-ba-da-ba-da romanticrsm of A Man And A Woman way back in I966. In France however, he generally turns out a movie a year, a big fav0urite at the home box office and virtually despised by the critical elite. Men, WJmen. A User's lvltimua/ is more typical of the regular Lelouch output than Les Mrs, and it’s brave of the British distributors to release a star- studded extravaganza that's more Gallic showbiz than nouvelle vague. The big casting coup is controversial former Marseille football club boss and wheeler-dealer busmessman Bernard Tapie, since Jailed on tax evasion

Food for thought: Campbell Scott and Isabella Rossellini tuck into Big Night

But this main dish is almost secondary to its accompaniments: the SOs setting, Prime and Secondo's rapidly changing relationships with each other, the new world to which they have emigrated and their American girlfriends (Minnie Driver and Allison Janney), the secrets they keep from each other and, of course, the cooking frenzy of the big night feast.

At each turn, the tastes are subtly blended, the characterisations strongly observed, the dialogue gently humorous. Co-directors Tucci and Campbell Scott (the actor son of GeOrge C. Scott) have their own precise attitude to detail which, while it won’t be to everyone’s tastes, should do for Italian food what Eat Drink Man Woman did for Chinese cuisine. But one word of warning: don’t see this on an empty stomach. (Thom Dibdin)

l Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Cameo from Fri 30 May. See preview,

In sickness and in health: Bernard Tapie in Men, Women: A User's Manual

charges He seems to be more or less playing himself ~ a philandering, undeniably charismatic tycoon who gets his come—uppance when a vengeful old flame, doctor Alessandra Martines, swrtches his medical report wrth ailing undercover cop Fabrice Luchini. Ergo, the healthy one starts to get sick, the sick one starts feeling fine again.

Added Il‘lO this 19th century-style storyline are sidebar Vignettes for a street-singing falsetto making the big time and some truly grating teenage romantic asides. It never even begins to add up, but Lelouch’s dazzling camerawork and luscious Parisian cinematography are captivating enough to command the attention while you try to work out what the pomt is. (Trevor Johnston)

I Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 6 June

new releases


(18) 100 mins **

Although it is packed with thrills and suspence, Robert Butler's air-disaster movie is so predictable, it could have been made on auto-pilot.

For doe-eyed flight attendant Teri Halloran (Lauren Holly), the Christmas Eve 747 scheduled from New York to Los Angeles promises to be a fun and festive flight. However, when two convicted criminals are escorted onto the aircraft by FBI agents and storm clouds outside threaten the smooth passage of the plane, Teri finds her light spirits tinged by fear.

There's hardly time to read the inflight mag before the bad guys make their bloody escape, causing cabin chaos and the death of the pilot. Bravely outwitting the murderous serial killer Ryan Weaver (Ray Liotta), the terrified Teri realises she is the only remaining crew member and has to take on the frightening responsibility of landing the plane.

Fresh-faced and vulnerable, Holly presents an attractive heroine, but her character’s transformation from airhead flight attendant to gutsy gal has a disappointing inevitability. Although special effects suitably create a disaster setting, they do not detract from the highly formulised plot structure. Unless you’re an action anorak, you'll probably find Turbulence as unsatisfying as the standard aircraft meal. (Beth Williams)

I General release from Fri 30 May.

Ray Liotta in Turbulence


No Way Home (18) 93 mins.

While Grid/ock’d is receivmg a wider release and greater press prominence, Tim Roth's other movre this month has won him better reviews In No Way Home, he plays Joey, a quiet, slow- witted but warm-hearted ex-con, who re-enters the poor Italian-American neighbourhood where he grew up, after being released from prison for murder and attempted robbery. His brother Tommy (James Russo) is a bad influence, dragging him into drug deals and fights with local gangsters. His sister-in-law Lorraine (Deborah Kara Unger), however, provides a more sympathetic ear as he tells her about his love for his former girlfriend, now married With kids.

Buddy Giovinazzo's film has some of the lowlife feel of early Scorsese and more recent American indie imitators. Its View of the Italian community is far from glamorous blood, violence and destitution fill a decaying landscape of urban decay. And yet there is something romantic about Roth's character that brings a little light into the urban darkness. The acting by the three leads has been singled out by several critics, including The Guardian’s Derek Malcolm, who called Roth, Russo and Unger 'a formidable trio’, while Variety praised 'Tim Roth at his subtle best’. (Alan Morrison)

I Glasgow Showcase from Fri 23 May

Tim Roth in No Way Home

ALSO OPEN NG Adrenalin: Fear The Rush (18) 75 mins.

In the second decade of next century, a vrrus designed for germ warfare is on the loose, leavmg millions dead in Eastern Europe. In a Boston quarantine camp, an insane murderer is threatening to detonate a bomb with the disease, so it’s up to police veteran Christ0pher Lambert and rookie cop Natasha Henstridge (Species) to track him down. Meanwhile, their colleagues are being picked off in Alien fashion.

This all sounds like straight-to-Video stuff from a movie that died in America ('a gratuitous and Simple-minded explortation thriller that's as meaningless as its title,' said Box Office Magazine). According to his CV, director Albert Pyun has made 25 films in the last ten years titles like Cyborg, Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor, Omega Doom and, my favourite, Brain Smasher: A Love Story say it all. (Alan Morrison)

I Limited release from Fri 6 Jun,

30 May—12 Jun 1997 THELIST25