Picture Perfect

(12) 101 mins =9: e

Complete with hair, mini-skirt and another falling-in-love role, Friends star Jennifer Aniston follows up her recent She’s The One success with the lead in Glen Gordon Caron's romantic comedy, Picture Perfect.

Packed with deceptions and misunderstandings, Picture Perfect centres on Kate (Aniston), an advertising executive and single woman who wants just two things in life - a promotion and a boyfriend. For some reason, she is having no success securing either, despite her good looks and creative talent.

Unfortunately, the man she fancies - office hunk Sam (Kevin Bacon) is only interested in women who are spoken for and, worse still, while Kate remains unattached, her boss will not trust her enough to further her career. Consequently her work colleague and best friend Darcy (Illeana Douglas) steps in to invent a fictional fiance for Kate, based on a recent Polaroid of a handsome chap called Nick (Jay Mohr) taken at a wedding reception.

The deception works with ease. Not only does Kate get the job, but

she also arouses the interest of Sam, her heart's desire. However, things start to get messy when she is asked to produce her fiance at a forthcoming business dinner. Now she has to track down Mr Polaroid and persuade him to pose as her future husband - and also deal with the consequences of his growing interest in her. Addressing some meaty issues of sexual politics with a light hearted touch, Picture Perfect owes its strength primarily to a strong cast. While Bacon excels as a self- centred, sexually magnetic worm in his role as Sam, Douglas provides the perfect supporting role to Aniston's Kate as the strong-minded Darcy. Most

FILM SEASON Divine Decadence

Berlin cabaret, Kurt Weill songs, unbOunded sexual licence, Liza Minnelli in suspenders, close-cropped brmvnshirts With Nazi armbands in attendance - all these things slide into one when the niowe history version of Germany's Weimar Republic runs in our heads

lt seems almost no distance from Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel to Minnelli in Cabaret some 42 years later, These images thrill us With a frisson of sensual and moral transgression, but

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Brand new friend: Jennifer Aniston in Picture Perfect

impressive of all, however, is Aniston‘s central performance. Although a small step from the type of roles with which she has made her name, her success at sustaining a rounded and interesting character throughout the film is a pleasing surprise, and demonstrates her potential for developing a bigger and better screen career.

Yes, it’s your classic date movie, boasting a fairly predictable plot structure, but Picture Perfect succeeds in pulling the heart strings and tickling the ribs at the same time. (Beth Williams)

General release from Fri 9 Jan

Life is a cabaret: Emil lannings in The Blue Angel

are they actually true to history7

Spanning more than two months, a special season at the Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Filmhouse attempts to address the issues raised by some of the most provocative mowes ever to come out of Germany It's titled 'Divme Decadence’ after the famous phrase from Bob Fosse's Cabaret, a film which brought together the excesses of Weimar-era Berlin club Culture With the chilling presence of Nazi uniforms This historically inaccurate portrait is typical of the way latterday mowemakers have run the Weimar and Na2i periods excitedly into one.

In fact, the earlier films in the series represent the shocking ambiguities of Weimar Cinema, which Hitler's rise to power instantly clamped down on. The Blue Angel shows that the destructive power of Dietrich's siren chanteuse is Just as potent as the sheer sexual allure of Lomse Brooks’s legendary prostitute Lulu in Pandora’s Box, Elsewhere, M has the underworld and not the police bringing Peter Lorre's child-killer to ’iustice' Such incendiary material was emphatically not part of the Nazi worldView, and it was no wonder that post-1933 saw an exodus of top talent to Hollywood.

These films continued to exert a fascination down the years, and the season shows how later directors have used and misused their lingering aura of forbidden desire. Visconti’s 1969 The Damned, for instance, turns the perverted misdeeds of the pre-Nazi German aristocracy into grotesque camp hysteria. More thoughtfully, Mephisto examines the seductive thrall of the Nazi power machine, but Tenderness Of The Wolves turns full- circle on Fritz Lang legacy, transforming M into a full-blooded 70s horror film deemed so shocking the BBFC initially refused li a certificate. (Trevor Johnston) as Divme Decadence begins with The Blue Angel at Edinburgh Fi/mhouse on Fri 9 Jan, and Mephisto at the GFT on Wed 74 Jan

new releases FILM

FILM BOOK Eisenstein

Ronald Bergan (Little Brown £22.50) it ir i: 1:

Sergei Eisenstein’s masterpieces Battleship Potemkin, Alexander Nevsky and October continually top the critics' charts. Mention them to the public, however, and they’ll expect a textbook lesson on editing techniques rather than a thrilling celebration of life and revolution.

In his book Eisenstein, biographer Ronald Bergan sets out to reclaim the director from the stereotyped image of a 'montage maniac’ and ’Stalinist hack'. He illustrates the difficulty of this With an anecdote about his Visit to a festival in the LatVian capital of Riga, Eisenstein’s birthplace Discussing the director's work With an audience, Bergan proclaimed: 'I want to rescue Eisenstein from the academics and give him back to the people' After a Silence, a bearded man rose, said 'I am an academic’, and promptly left the Cinema

Much of Bergan's eVidence for his case comes from Eisenstein himself. The director wrote several books on film theory, but it's the personal writings and diaries from which Bergan quotes extensiver that reveal a passionate, poetic man. Yes, the classic scenes of slaughter on the Odessa Steps in Battleship Potemkin are wonderfully, meaningfully cut together, but note how Eisenstein shows the pain and sacrifice etched on these human faces.

Also note the subtitle of the book A Life ln Conflict, Here is an intelligent boy, not entirely comfortable in the company of either parent, who experienced the Russian Revolution at first hand and soon became emersed in 'conflicts', both political and personal. He was aware of Stalin’s power, but privately critical of him. He got married, but was homosexual. He remained a Marxist, but loved the capitalist cinema machine of Hollywood, which he VISIted in the early 1930s.

Bergan's close, detailed approach certainly achieves its aims. Others have written with understanding and admiration of Eisenstein's work, but it’s by bringing insight to the man that Bergan encourages us to go and seek out the films. (Alan Morrison)

3 Ronald Bergan talks about Eisenstein after a screening of Battleship Potemkin at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Tue 73 Jan.

Revolutionary director: Sergei Eisenstein

9-22 Jan 1998 THE LIST“