new releases

Deep Impact (12) 121 mins ‘k r 15' *

What would you do if you knew that you and everyone else had only months to live? That’s the premise of Deep Impact, a sci-fi disaster movie following hastily in fitanic’s wake.

Not-so-deep in space, a massive comet is tearing towards the SS Earth at extinction-level speed. A vast lump of ice, water and gas, it's an astral iceberg the size of Everest - sound familiar? High-school student Elijah Wood photographs the comet during an astronomy class, but doesn't know what it is. By a quirk of fate, the information falls into government hands before anyone can disseminate it and start a panic.

A year later, ambitious newswoman Tea Leoni stumbles on the facts while investigating what she thinks is another White House sleaze cover-up. This causes President Morgan Freeman to reveal why he’s been stockpiling tins of baked beans, and come clean with the bad news - an underground shelter has been built to house a chosen few for the two years it will take for the cosmic dust to settle. That's after the continents have been flooded and the waters recede.

Some people have been preselected for this latter-day Noah’s Ark, and there will be a national lottery for the rest, but only those under 50. However, the space mission Messiah, led by veteran astronaut Robert Duvall, will try and nuke the comet first.

With the special effects still warm on the print, Deep Impact is a perfectly respectable disaster epic, rather like they used to make 'em, only flasher. It's cleverly conceived along Biblical lines, and you get several films rolled into one, including The Day The Earth Caught

Watch the skies: Leelee Sobieski and Elijah Wood in Deep

as , , Impact

Fire, Apollo 13, Independence Day and, of course,


ER director Mimi Leder works on an impressive scale in portraying the dawn of a new millennium where comets brush the Earth, lotto fever rages and world leaders are scandalised. She conveys the disconsolation more than the desperation, Independence Day audiences cheered when the White House blew up, here the closing image offers hope for a fresh start. (John MacKenzie) £3 General release from Fri 75 May

and whereas in

Marius Et Jeanette (15) 102 mins e e “it

Love and garlic mayonnaise amidst the working class of dusty, impoverished Marseilles: these are the main ingredients in Robert Guediguian's light recrpe of ordinary folk living out their lives in sunny L'Estaque, a quiet Mediterranean pocket to the north- west of the City.

Marius (Gerard Meylan) is a lonely security guard at a disused cement factory. Something of a dark horse, he got his Job by pretending to have a

C'est l'amour: Gerard Maylan and Ariane Ascaride in Marius Et Jeanette

limp. Jeanette (Ariane Ascaride) is a Single parent trying to bring up her teenage daughter Magali and little boy Malek on a ClteCk-Out girl's wage. She meets Marius when he stops her stealing some tins of paint in his charge. Later, when her big mouth and quick temper have cost her her iob, lvlarius turns up at her tiny house offering to help decorate.

Romance blossoms between them in the little c0urtyard of neighbours, laughter and squabbles, but then it seems to qwckly fade when Marius

disappears for a few days. They all miss him, and Jeanette's friends rally to see what has caused him to leave and what can be done to bring him back. In other words, they all get roaring drunk. And since Guediguian is elsewhere very light-handed in his craft drawrng charming performances and adopting a carefully simple style the theatricality of these scenes makes them doubly amusing

The slight storyline serves as the basis for the main purpose of the film: a series of exchanges between the people liVing in the community some humorous, some heated over politics, race, religion, sport and the best way to make aioli. All of the characters are, or become, likeable and human (even Jeanette's jumped-UL) little twerp of a boss). Neither saints nor sinners, they are plain, decent people eking out the best they can With the little they have.

Marius Et Jeanette serves them well as a very gentle and unpretentious film which quietly captivates, and leaves us warmly disposed to them (John MacKenzie) a Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 75 May Edinburgh Filmhouse from Fri 29 May

new releases FILM

Live Flesh (18) 100 mins want

This could well be the moment when Pedro AlmodOvar sought to and succeeded in finally losing his cult status and entered the sphere of European Cinema’s mainstream. Which is not to say that Live Flesh fails to charm, move or soothe the eye. While his bodies have more often than not had cause to intertwine and flail, here they find time to be broken with a rare attempt at tackling the theme of physical disability in a biggish budget movie.

Based on a Ruth Rendell story and beginning in strife-torn Madrid of 1970, Live Flesh Jumps forward twenty years, as policeman DaVid (layier Bardem) is gunned down in unfortunate rather than malicious Circumstances by Victor (Liberto Rabal). David is condemned to a life in a chair, but this doesn't prevent him from gaining hero status during the Barcelona Paralympics. Victor vows revenge for his period of incarceration and plots a way to get back at him through his wife, Elena (Francesca Neri). This leads to all manner of confusion, regret and fears that you are living a life of wasted opportunity.

As With the last couple of Almodovar projects, any message which is waiting to be read appears to be drowned in the brightest and deepest of onematographic experiences. In Live Flesh, the theme could be the connection between the fragility of both the body and soul or Franco's fascistic Spain against today's vibrant democracy. However, lush is the word which springs immediately to mind.

While the pleasures here are several, Live Flesh warrants patience but probably not a second visit. This is certainly not the Pedro AlmodOvar of old. Whether you loathed or loved the likes of Matador and Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown, they were works which could never be ignored. For him to have slipped into a middle-ground mediocrity is both a pity and a disgrace. (Brian Donaldson)

l Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from M 75 May.

Deadly desire: Liberto Rabal in Live Flesh

STAR RATINGS * 1i: * at at Unmissable at it e it Very ood it a: * Wort a shot at Below average * You've been warned

14-28 May 1998 TIIE usr 25