non festival review

Speed 2: Cruise Control (12) 121 mins **

The prime driving force behind the success of the original Speed in 1994 was its titilating twist on the classic beat-the-clock formula of the disaster movie the driver of an out-of-control vehicle avoids death and destruction by keeping up a constant velocity, rather than reducing it. However, despite the implications of its title, Speed 2: Cruise Control fails to play on this unique idea in the same creative way.

Starring Sandra Bullock and Jason Patric (from Sleepers), Speed 2 tells the tale of Annie Porter (Bullock) and her cop boyfriend Alex (Patric), whose plans for a relaxing Caribbean cruise vacation prove to be far from peaceful when their ship is hijacked by a bitter ex- employee (Willem Dafoe). Having accessed and tampered with the computer-programmed controls of the liner, this creepy cyberpsycho puts the lives of all the passengers at risk, posing a huge challenge to both crew and crime-fighter Alex. With time against them, they attempt to undo his meddling while the ship speeds ominously towards the shore.

If it's another novel tweaking of the disaster movie genre that you expect from Speed 2, then this film will slightly disappoint. The scenario of a ship hurtling out of control is a rather weak use of the speed idea, and equally disappointing is the performance of Patric, whose bland and unmemorable screen presence comes nowhere near the charisma of Keanu Reeves.

Nevertheless, Jan De Bont’s superb skills of direction

within the action movie genre, seen most recently in Twister, are engineered with such precision and confidence that Speed 2 is a tense and nail-biting experience. With spectacular effects, amazing stunts and non-stop sequences, it’s fast and furious entertainment. (Beth Williams)

I General release from Fri 75 Aug.

Rough Cuts

The column that knows its ERs from its elbow.

GEORGE CLOONEY is pretty much the man of the moment, with one Batman movie behind him and his name attached to some of the

George Clooney: old-fashioned charmer

hottest projects lined up in Hollywood. 'He has the potential to be the first superstar of the new millennium,’ reckons Andy Dougan of Glasgow's Evening Times, who’s just written a biography (George Clooney, Boxtree, £9.99) of the actor.

Dougan talked to several of Clooney's professional colleagues and managed to track down his former schoolteacher, as well as friends and neighbours from the Kentucky town where he grew up. 'He's very much the local hero,’ says Dougan. ’I get the feeling that, even if he wasn't a movie star, he'd still be the most popular guy in town.’

Dougan's research into Clooney's early career reveals that he was brought up in the entertainment business, with father who was a local TV presenter and celebrity in his own right. In the UK, there's a sense that Clooney is something of an overnight star, but Dougan sets out the fourteen years of graft in the industry that made Clooney what his cousin Miguel Ferrer described as 'the highest paid unknown actor in the business'.

In a way, the book could be seen as recounting Volume One in the ER star's career, and bigger things are undoubtedly around the corner. ’Audiences want a more manly,

more conventional leading man,’ says Dougan, who sees his subject as a modern day Robert Taylor crossed with the screen charm of Cary Grant. 'Brad Pitt and Ethan Hawke are boys, but George Clooney is a man.‘

CRACKER STAR ROBBIE COLTRANE is currently in New York filming Frogs And Snakes alongside Ian Hart, Barbara Hershey and Debi Mazar. The story concerns a group of street thugs who want to make a break into theatre. Plenty of evidence of that happening for real in Edinburgh just now, eh?

GALLIVANT, ONE OF THE HITS of last year's Edinburgh Film Festival, is embarking on an usual pre-release tour around the UK. The film, by director Andrew Kotting, followed his opinionated grandmother and young daughter on an odyssey around Britain's coastline. The 'grand caravan tour' sets out on the same route, taking in some of the film's key locations and allowing local residents to see their hometown on screen before a subsequent arthouse release later in the year. In Scotland, Ga/Iivant stops off at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness on Thu 28 Aug and the Robert Burns Centre in Dumfries on Tue 2 Sep. (Alan Morrison)



Films screening this fortnight are listed below with certificate, credits, brief review and venue details. Film index compiled by Alan Morrison.

Addicted To love (I5) (Griffin Dunne. US. I997) Meg Ryan. Matthew Broderick. Tcheky Karyo. l0() mins. Hard-hearted Ryan teams up with romantic Broderick to spy on and sabotage the new partnership of their respective ex-lovers. but discover that love might just be kindling between themselves. Ryan linkers with her sweet image but it never really rings true. The cinematic equivalent of a frozen ready-meal not turkey. but close this is bland. predictable and convenient. but just about digestible. General release.

Batman & Robin (PG) (Joel Schumacher. US. I997) George C looney. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Chris O'Donnell. I30 mins. Moving even further way from the Gothic melancholy of Tim Burton‘s first two films. the fourth Batman movie brings in Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) and disaffected scientist Dr Freeze (Schwarzenegger). Thurman‘s scene- stealing performance saves the film from total failure. while Clooney does exactly what‘s required. but no more. Noisy. empty and without a hint of wit or intelligence. General release.

Bean (PG) (Mel Smith. UK. 1997) Rowan Atkinson. Peter MacNicol. Pamela Reed. 97 mins. Bean the movie makes an attempt to broaden the range of Atkinson's tremendously successful TV sight-gag character by sending him off to California to be mistaken for an an expert. Most gags are agreeably daft; several are tiresomely lavatorial; eventually. however. the film upholds family values and true blue American schmaltz. You‘ll like it ifyou like the TV show. Real grown-ups should stay away. General release.

The Boy From Mercury (PG) (Martin Duffy. UK/Francc. I996) James Hickey. Rita 'l‘ushingham. Tom Courtney. 87 mins. Eight- year-old Harry (Hickey) believes he has special powers granted him through his birthplace being Mercury rather than Dublin - a belief boosted by visits to the Saturday morning film club and his lack of a father figure. An irrisistible tale of memory. loss and the search for a better future. If you manage to sit through this without wilting intojelly at Hickey's painfully innocent performance. then you have the heart of a tyrant. Stirling: MacRobert. Braveheart (15) (Mel Gibson. US. I995) Mel Gibson. Patrick McGoohan. Sophie Marceau. 177 mins. Mel Gibson‘s long and bloody account of the life of Scottish wam'or hero William Wallace boasts some remarkable battle scenes and great performances. Aiming to entertain on a wider scale than the more literate Rob Rm". Brave/warts Scottish passion is tempered by a few Hollywood moments touches of sentimentality and 'dramatic' historical inaccuracy. Nevertheless. it's a fine. full-blooded attempt to tap into the spirit that fires Scotland‘s history and heroes. Edinburgh: ABC Wester Hailes. Odeon.

Cold Comfort Farm (PG) (John Schlesinger. L'K. I995) Kate Beckinsale. Rufus Sewell. Joanna l.umley. 98 mins. Discerning TV drama fans will already have had the chance to see Malcolm Bradbury's adaptation of the Stella Gibbons novel - twice in the comfort of their own homes. Beckinsale is simply marvellous dahling as the self-assured l920s heroine who goes to live with her eccentric country humpkin relatives after the death of her parents. The performances are idiosyncratic but never overplayed. lending just the right level of surrealism to the whole fun romp. Stirling: MacRobert.

Con Air ( l5) (Simon West. L'S. I997) Nicolas Cage. John Malkovich. John Cusack. ll2 mins. Sit down. strap yourself in. stick your head into the roar of the jet engine of this noisy. stretch-the-credibility movie. Cage plays a manslaughter parolee whose prison plane ride home is hijacked by vicious convict Malkovich. so he draws on his military training and strong sense of honour to save the innocents in the air from certain death. A constant attack of big bangs. action set-pieces . dry one-liners and illogical plot hiccups. Glasgow: Showcase. Edinburgh: UCl. Paisley: Showcase.

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