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Dangerous when wet: Gary McCormack in The Acid House

The Acid House

(18) 111 mins *9:ka

Cinema audiences don't take to portmanteau mowes, Just like books of short stories don’t sell in the same numbers as airport blockbusters. Irvine Welsh must have felt this reader discomfort when he brought out Ecstasy, his volume of three novellas, in 1996. It Just didn't fulfil the expectations of those who wanted more of the same in the Trainspotting (the novel) mould.

Nevertheless, he's back in three-for- the-price-of-one territory with The Acid House, for which he has adapted a trio of tales from his earlier short story collection. Applying an artistic dose of Ajax to the lives of its wasters, nutters and caSUals, the film scratches away the gloss fabricated by herom chic culture So can it fulfil the expectations

of those who want more of the same in the Trainspotting (the movie) mould? For a start, none of the cast here is likely to grace bedroom walls a la McGregor. Taken as a whole, however, the film captures the tripped-out highs and despondent lows that rollercoaster through Welsh's prose. From the coarse revenge scenario of 'The Granton Star Cause', through the sorrowful despair of 'A Soft TOuch', to the in-your-face body swap comedy of 'The ACid House’ Welsh and director Paul MCGUigan vary Visual style and dramatic tone, no doubt alienating more Viewers than they Win over. But The Acid House’s boldness is a Victory in itself, two fingers in the face of anyone expecting a Trainspotting clone. (Alan Morrison) a Selected release from Fri 1 Jan, See feature.

Reach for the skies: Robert Douglas and Raymond Massey in The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead (PG) 112 mins it»

Loathed and reViled as it was on its release, King Vidor's version of the Ayn Rand novel stands erect as one of the most ambitious, stunning and, frankly, barmy films made by a major studio during Hollywood's golden age

Howard Roark (Gary Cooper) is an architect with a vision which ‘.’VIH not be blunted by matters of cash, career 0r love When he reiects a major contract rather than compromise, he is forced to take on manual labOur and here meets the beautiful yet ascetically aloof Dominique Francon (PatriCia Neal) She eventually becomes one of his few allies in pursuing his dream against the ruthless campaigns waged upon him by newspaper editors and JGBIOUS aichitects

The Fountainhead is inspired by the life of Frank Lloyd Wright the cheeky beggar asked for, and didn't get, $250,000 to design the sets and infused With a neO-Nietzschean ideology where collective responsibility is TQJGCICd for the absolute right of the indiVidual to act according to their own conscience,

It is also riddled with phallic imagery in an era when a semi-restrained sexual dCSire posnively dripped from the SCreen -- Gilda, Black i‘larcis’sus et al The firm modernist buildings are one thing, but one look at Gary Cooper boring into a slab of granite With his giant Jackhammer is another A flawed classic but one which soothes the eye and stings the mind (Brian Donaldson) Edinburgh Filrnhouse from Mon 28—Wed 30 Dec Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 75 Jan

new releases FILM

East Side Story

(U) 77 mins ***1k

The sheer exuberant escapism of Singin’ In The Rain. The formal aesthetic art of Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin. Two extremes of cinema, and never the twain shall meet . . except in the socialist musical.

Dana Ranga's infectious documentary pulls together clips of musicals never seen this side of the Iron Curtain. Of course there are tractors and women in factory overalls here, but there are also some surprises the segment from East Germany's Hot Summer, which opens this film, is more Cliff Richard than MGM in its depiction of Commie youths singing and dancing in anticipation of their annual holidays.

lnterviewmg some of the Eastern Bloc's bigg .3: stars, Ranga delivers a iively, colourful portrait of a neglected genre that produced some 40 films in as many years. After early bans in the 1930s (due to the fOrmat's lack of ideological content) these films were tolerated but not encouraged by strict regimes. They did survive, however, and quite pOSSlbly laughter worked as an effective propaganda tool (Hollywood, for instance, churned out plenty oi musicals during the Depression). When physical labour can be conveyed as joyful choreography, who’s to say that Eisenstein shouldn't have had them high-kicking in tutus down the Odessa Steps. (Alan Morrison)

I Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Mon 28-Wed 30 Dec


The Jolly Fellows: one of many socialist musicals


(18) 85 mins at it is

In FrancOis Ozon’s debut feature, family life is turned upSide down by the pervaswe presence of a pet rat How funny one finds the idea of this strait-laced nuclear unit suddenly given to incest, sado-masochism and bisexuality depends, perhaps, on how close one feels to the conventions Ozon mocks -< and how scandalised one is by that mockery

Ozon, working from Hollywood family movies and also the general sitcom format, applies on top of these concepts a series of twisted moments which invert the b0urge0is norm. The son (Adrien de Van) announces his homosexuality Over dinner as the daughter (Marina de Van) congaders killing herself out of youthful ennui. Then there’s mum (Evelyne Dandi‘y) cheerfu ly offering sex to members of her own family.

Ozon may have said, 'you don't find the eduwalent of a ,'()".li Waters film in France’, but what about Bunuel's late films and much of Bertrand Blier's work? Ozon is undeniably a provocateur, but he too easily hits targets that have already been peppered With knowing barbs, The murder spree opening alone owes much to Bunuel, the deadpan acceptance of irrational behaviour is a mainstay of surrealist comedy.

Nevertheless there's a sure sense of composition here, and one feels that its 3)- year-old director is sharper than the film's more obvrous riiornents suggest. (Tony McKibbin)

I Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 7 Jan Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri Jan See prevrew


Star Trek: Insurrection (PG) 104 mins

Past experience suggests that even- numbered Star Trek mowes are the best However, wnh actor Jonathan Frakes again in the director’s chair, this ninth instalment in the series would appear to buck the trend

The Next Generation crew's second outing finds Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) defying orders when he is sent to attack an alien race on a remote planet Soon he discovers a conspiracy involvmg high-up members of The Federation, who want to eradicate these people in order to market their secret elixer of youth '1 .

The film opened in America on Friday ll December and immediately went to the top of the box office charts The general consensus of opinion was that Star Trek Insurrection is lighter than its predecessor in.» milk themed First Contact), With a t0uch more comedy and romance

The allegOrical sIOry -- destroy a race in the name of progress Wl” strike a chord With Americans trOubled by their own early history, but Will it travel to this Side of the Atlantic7 The San Francisco Chronicle certainly thought so, calling the moVie 'fun for most folk, heaven for Trekkies' (Alan Morrison) '

I General release from Fri 7 Jan

Brent Spiner in Star Trek Insurrection

l/ Dec l998» f Jan 1999 THE US