The Thomas Crown

Affair (15) 110 mins mum

The original 1968 film was distinguished by its iconic leads, Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. a sheen glossier than the best efforts of Dulux, some then experimental. now passé stylistics (multiple split screens) and Noel Harrison's Oscar-winning theme tune, 'Windmills Of Your Mind'. John McTiernan is not the obvious choice to remake Norman Jewison's 60s chic romantic thriller, but he is the director of some of the most accomplished Hollywood action movies in recent years: Die Hard, The Hunt For Red October, Predator and the forthcoming Viking saga, The 13th Warrior. With Thomas Crown McTiernan has abandoned the action man heroics to produce a slinky, sophisticated thriller.

Pierce Brosnan takes two steps left of his 007 persona to play millionaire playboy (from Glasgowl) Thomas Crown, who, having achieved America's rags to riches dream. turns to art theft to amuse himself. When he lifts a £100 million Monet from a New York museum, Crown attracts the attention (in more ways than one) of Rene Russo's insurance investigator-cum-bounty hunter Catherine Banning. During the ensuing cat and mouse game of wits, emotions get the better of the worthy foes and romance soon threatens both their livelihoods.

The film's two heist scenes are expertly executed by McTiernan, but the first is particularly impressive. McTiernan takes his time unveiling the crime, juxtaposing the efforts of a team of Eastern European robbers with the museum security staff and Crown's seemingly innocuous presence in the building. No less


Tying the knot: Rene Russo and Pierce Brosnan in The Thomas Crown Affair

riveting is the interplay between the leads. The sexual chemistry between Brosnan and Russo is there on screen. The chess game foreplay scene from the original film is missing. instead Crown and Banning cut to the chase with some hot dancing 'n' grinding to a Latin version of ’Windmills Of Your Mind'. In their individual scenes too, the co-stars shine, Brosnan at ease as the charming dilettante. Russo all smouldering sexuality as the manhunter.

There are plenty of nice little touches too, such as the contrasting of Crown‘s business activities - hostile take- overs - with his criminal hobby and the use of paintings - Crown has a picture of Narcissus above his bed. Only the trite final scene, and Brosnan's insistence on getting in a line in Scots dialect, blemish what is otherwise a fine piece of commercial art. (Miles Fielder) I General release from Fri 20 Aug.

Pure genius: Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore


ambitious Max. Their friendship re- awakens the older man's appetite for life, but it turns sour when he too falls for Miss Cross's charms.

Directed and co-written by Wes Anderson, maker of the offbeat crime caper Bottle Rocket, Rushmore is a quirky and original comedy that puts most of Hollywood’s recent output to shame. Reminiscent of Hal Ashby's oddball classic Harold And Maude, the film manages to be funny and moving without ever slipping into sentimentality. Particularly impressive is the way the film makes the friendship between Max and Blume both credible

(15) 93 mins *1“er

Bright, bespectacled and geeky, Max Fischer, the teenage hero of Rushmore, is irritating and endearing in equal measures. A scholarship boy at the exclusive Rushmore Academy in Houston, his self-belief is awesome. His first choice universities are Oxford and the Sorbonne (Harvard is his safety).

Unfortunately, Max pours his energies and talents into so many extra-curricular activities - he runs the beekeeping club, the fencing club and his own theatre company, the Max

119 THE US! 19-26 Aug 1999

Fischer Players, to list but a few - that he is in danger of being expelled for flunking his courses. Undeterred, he finds further distractions, developing a hopeless unrequited crush on new teacher Miss Cross (played by oval- faced English beauty Olivia Williams, last seen opposite Kevin Costner in The Postman). To impress her, he campaigns to build a school aquarium and enlists the help of local millionaire Herman Blume (Bill Murray), a steel tycoon whose brutish twin sons attend Rushmore. Blume is a man sunk deep in self-loathing, yet he recognises a kindred spirit in the restless, over-

and touching. Perhaps the pair get on so well because they are both neurotic: Max’s irrepressibility is almost pathological, while Blume is certainly manic-depressive. Both of them earn our admiration, however, for their rejection of bland conformity.

In less skilled hands, Max and Blume would simply be grotesque. But Murray, his face curdled with self- disgust as Blume, gives his best performance in years, while film debutant Jason Schwartzman as the brilliant and exasperating Max is simply astonishing. (Jason Best)

I Selected release from Fri 20 Aug.

Mickey Blue Eyes (15) 102 mins *‘k‘k

Four Weddings meets The Godfather in this funny though highly predictable romantic comedy from Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley's Simian Films. Grant plays an Englishman abroad, running a successful Manhattan art auction house and devoted to his girlfriend Gina (Jeanne Tripplehorn). When he proposes to her he’s surprised at her sudden efforts to end their relationship, even though she is only trying to protect him from her Dad (James Caan) and his dubious Mob connections, an extended ‘family’ that can do him no good. But, when he insists that he is well able to look after himself, she relents.

This is where his troubles begin, as a reluctant favour here and there soon draws him into some very dodgy business with some pretty dim 'wise guys’. The laughs flow easily from this straightforward situation, with the three leads playing it straight and director Kelly Makin keeping the whole cheerful adventure rattling along nicely. Caan, of course, has little trouble convincing us that he is the loving father who holds his family (in both senses) dear, but shows a softer side in taking Michael (Grant) under his wing. These mismatched characters are ripe with comic possibilities, not least when Michael is introduced as Mickey Blue Eyes to a pair of mobsters from out of town, and plays along with the deception.

Compared with the more staid Notting Hill, Mickey Blue Eyes is far more engaging, benefiting from the contrast between the oh-so-English Grant and his environment in a way that his London comedy could not. Interestingly, the role was neither written for Grant, nor even for an English actor, which suggests some shrewd judgement on the part of his producing partner and partner-partner, Elizabeth Hurley, in tailoring this vehicle for a charming and affable star. It may not play to the unconverted, but for those who like him already this tale will confirm Hugh as their blue-eyed boy. (Anwar Brett)

I General release from Fri 20 Aug.

The clodfather: Hugh Grant and James Caan

‘5 i

STAR RATINGS ***** Unmissable * ‘k it Very ood *** Wort a shot «Hr Below average * You've been warned