new releases

Shakespeare In Love (15) 120 mins

If you’re looking for a passionate, brooding Romeo to star in your fantasies, then you’ll see Shakespeare In Love and know that you’ve found him. Joseph Fiennes, a pair of breeches and a few moody verses are pretty much all it takes, and a league of women will leave the cinema wondering why they never figured it out at school: Shakespeare is sex on legs. For the blokes, there’s Gwyneth Paltrow, and the chemistry between the two leads is scorching (despite Paltrow's real life boyfriend, Ben Affleck, lurking in the wings as Ned


Shakespeare In Love is tipped for Oscars and all sorts of glory, and there’s a whole lot more to be seduced by than the obvious. For a start, Tom Stoppard co-wrote the script (with the lesser known Marc Norman) and the tone is exuberantly confident, irreverent and witty. All the characters are sent up, and Will Shakespeare is the butt of so many jokes, it's a wonder he retains his

romantic gloss.

When we first meet him, he's suffering a serious dose of writer’s block his play is called Romeo And Ethel,

You're bard: Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare In Love

The Pirate’s Daughter - he’s pouring out his wretchedness to an analyst and shagging the easiest

wench in theatreland. On top of that, his best ideas are gifted to him by playwright Christopher Marlowe (Rupert Everett), who is everybody's idea of a real genius. From such inauspicious beginnings, Will Shakespeare begins his ascent to brilliance.

The story is clearly a fantasy concoction of events that never happened, a love affair that might have, and ambition and inspired success that certainly did. Peopled by famous historical names, such as Queen Elizabeth I (Judi Dench), theatre owner Philip Henslowe

(Geoffrey Rush), comic actor Richard Burbage (Martin

Clunes) and a young John Webster (Joe Roberts), Shakespeare In Love is fascinating for what it might reveal of the life of the most famous playwright.

Above and beyond any attempt at authenticity, though, is the film’s superb energy and deft humour, classy direction (by Mrs Brown's John Madden) and fabulous cast. With that lot up for the taking, who'd

deny the makers a bit of licence with the truth?

(Hannah Fries)

Politically active: Halle Berry and Warren Beatty in Bulworth

Bulworth (18) 108 mins This frustrating political satire from director, producer, writer and star Warren Beatty comes out fighting, but fails to go the distance and punches below its intellectual weight It exposes ueg truths, but disconcerting humour soon gives way to ObVious ciritiCisms of the inherently corrupt American political system

Beatty revels in the role of J

Billington Bulworth, a veteran

Democrat senator whose sharp edges have been blunted by years of compromise In the final stages of a political campaign, after three days Without food or sleep, Bulworth finds himself unable to mouth the bland platitudes needed to get himself re- elected. So he buys $10 million worth of life insurance, hires an assassin to bump him off, ano speaks his own mind for the first time in years

Oddly liberated by his impending death, Bulworth eschews political

General release from Fri 29 Jan See review

correctness, shooting from the hip and stating outrageOus, frightening truths, He harangues JeWish movie moguls for making crap, and tells a church full of God-fearing black voters 'If you don't put down the malt liquor and chicken Wings and get behind somebody other than a running back who stabbed his wife, you're never gonna get rid of somebody like me '

tries to exercise some spin control, but Bulworth is already beyond his reach. The best scenes make us laugh and wince at the s fine time Later, however, Bulworth hooks up With foxy

His bemused personal aide (Oliver Plattl desperately

black babe Nina tHalle Berry), takes an

impromptu tour of South Central LA, hangs out with the ’brothers‘ at a local club, and starts rapping his radical message At this point, abrasive edginess gives way to Capra-esgue \‘rish-fulfilirient, With reformed drug dealer L.D (Don Cheadle) lending his weight to Bulworth’s new campaign. At its best, Beatty's fierce satire really hits home, at its worst, it JtlSl proves that white liberals can't rap or think their way out of a paper bag (Nigel Floyd,I

General release from Fri 22 Ian

new releases FILM

54 (15) 93 mins ‘ki

Talk about a missed opportunity. In the mid-to-Iate 705, Studio 54 was the hottest, hippest, most happenin' discotheque in New York Cityand, therefore, the world. Movie stars, models, socialites and assorted hangers-on worked their collective booty on the dance floor, snorted Bolivian marching powder by the bucketload in booths and banquettes, and indulged in flagrant knee- tremblers in the balcony. A top night out all round then, but Mark Christopher's film fails to capture any of the heady atmosphere that made the venue the planet's most exclusive nite spot.

Instead, he tells an over-familiar story of a young innocent, keen to make it big but learning harsh lessons along the way. The problem is that the young innocent in question is only a bartender and, as played by Ryan Phillippe, an uninteresting, unsympathetic one at that. The great and the glamourous exist only as peripheral characters, leaving the audience frustrated, wanting to know more about them than the glorified soda Jerk at the centre of proceedings.

That said, Mike Myers is given enough screen time to shine as club owner Steve Rubell, a lonely, even pathetic individual despite his status as host of the party of the century. Unfortunately, Rubell’s eccentricity extended into the field of financial management, and the IRS took a dim View of his unique banking system he stored bin-liners full of cash in the club basement.

Again, Christopher fails to tell us enough about the proprietor’s downfall, focusing instead on the lives of his employees. Anybody unfamiliar With the history of the club could well be confused as to exactly what its appeal was, and precisely how Rubell came a cropper. Those in the know will be frustrated at not being told anything new about the regulars the movers and shakers, as opposed to the cocktail shakers. One final, major diference between club and movie for the latter, there won’t be queues stretching round the block. (Rob Fraser) at: Selected release from Fri 22 Jan.

Last daze of disco: Mike Myers in 54

STAR RATINGS a s * tr * Unmissable , s s * tr Very ood e e Wort a shot * Below average s You've been warned

21 Ian—4 Feb 1999 THE LIST 29