Mighty Joe (PG) (Ron Underwood, US, 1998) Charlize Theron, Bill Paxton. 114 mins. Whichever way you cut it, Mighty Joe is just another big monkey movie. Despite inﬁnitely more sophisticated effects than its 1949 predecessor, this version is far less involving or entertaining - it’s so predictable you would think the monkey wrote it. Glasgow: Odeon Quay. Edinburgh: Odeon. Ayr: Odeon. Stirling: Carlton. Mousellunt (U) (Gore Verbinski, US, 1997) Nathan Lane, Lee Evans, Christopher Walken. 98 mins. Lane and Evans play hapless brothers who inherit a decrepit mansion, but when they decide to renovate and auction it, a resident rodent is not willing to be evicted. An excellent blend of Laurel and Hardy slapstick and black humour, MouseHunt is sheer entertainment and has some real belly laughs. The tone and the pacing are spot-on throughout, and the sets and special effects are the icing on the cake. Glasgow: Grosvenor.
Mulan (U) (Barry Cook, Tony Bancroft, 1998) Voices of: Ming-Na Wen, Donny Osmond, Eddie Murphy. 89 mins. After Disney's tastily designed venture into Greek mythology with Hercules, the studio has brought its lens to bear on the rich and colourful possibilities of Chinese legend. The most striking aspect of this romantic epic is its magniﬁcent animation. Details of character, movement and expression are as ﬁne as should be expected from the world’s best known cartoon studio, but the stunning large-scale set pieces are truly astonishing, while the design team stirs in an authentic flavour of China. Glasgow: UCi. Edinburgh: UCl. East Kilbride: UCl. Galashiels: Pavilion. Wishaw: Arrow Multiplex.
The Mummy (12) (Stephen Sommers, US, 1999) ) Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah. 115 mins. The secret of the ﬁlm’s success lies in its reinvention as an Indiana Jones-style adventure in which rugged hero Fraser, luscious librarian Weisz and comic sidekick Hannah scour 19305 Northern Africa for the fabled City of the Dead and unwittingly resuscitate dead Egyptian priest, who immediately busies himself with ravaging the land with apocalyptic plagues. General release.
My Favourite Martian (PG) (Donald Petrie, US, 1999) ) Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Daniels, Elizabeth Hurley. 92 mins. This movie remake of an American TV favourite, scarcely known in the UK, is a breezy family adventure that's amusing and disarrningly entertaining. Some excellent special effects help, as we meet a hapless Martian visitor who has crash landed on Earth and is keen to leave as soon as possible. Glasgow: Odeon, Odeon Quay. Edinburgh: Odeon. Ayr: Odeon. Kilmamock: Odeon.
N6 (15) (Robert Lepage, Canada, 1998) Anne-Marie Cadieux, Alexis Martin. 85 mins. Adapted from stage and ﬁlm director Lepage's own seven-hour play, The Seven Branches Of The River Ora, No draws parallels between Quebecois separatism and Japanese Noh theatre. But the plot strands, concerning an actress performing on stage in Osaka and her boyfriend, an amateur political activist in Montreal, have been sewn together with a skilful hand, so that the themes resonate harmoniously, and often hilariously. Stirling: MacRobert.
Notting Hill (15) (Roger Michell, UK, 1999) Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts. 110 mins. Screenwriter Richard Curtis's eagerly awaited follow-up to Four Weddings And A Funeral has Grant playing William Thacker, the divorced owner of a travel bookshop into whose life walks Hollywood megastar Anna Scott (Roberts) and, before you know it, they kiss. General release.
The Parent Trap (U) (Nancy Meyers, US, 1999) Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, Lindsay Lohan. 125 mins. This updated version of the Hayley Mills original casts Lohan in the dual role of identical twins completely unaware of each other’s existence until they discover the truth at summer camp. Never having met the other parent, American Hallie and English Annie agree to swap identities. it makes for a sweet natured, well meaning story that trades on elements of farce and the odd bit of slapstick. Glasgow: Showcase. Paisley:
117 THE US! 19—26 Aug 1999
In it for the Monet: Pierce Brosnan in The Thomas Crowne Affair
Playing By Heart (15) (Willard Carroll, US, 1999) Sean Connery, Gena Rowlands, Gillian Anderson, Dennis Quaid. 119 mins. This is a kind of self-contained soap set in LA over eight days and nights, which features a number of famous faces, and which attempts to say something about love and relationships through a seemingly unconnected group of people. Unfortunately, none of the relationships really holds water, and soPlaying By Heart seems dilettante, self-absorbed and basically misguided. Perhaps for the mawkish, but deﬁnitely not for the cerebral. Glasgow: Odeon Quay, Showcase, UCI. Edinburgh: UCl. Kilmamock: Odeon. Paisley: Showcase. Rob Roy (15) (Michael Caton-Jones, US/UK, 1995) Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth. 130 mins. When he is betrayed by the Marquis of Montrose (John Hurt) and a maliciously psychopathic Englishman (Roth), Rob Roy MacGregor is determined to win back the honour of his name. Alan Sharp's script is rich, witty and literate; Caton-Jones’s direction injects a little action, but doesn’t pander to Hollywood; and all the performances are wonderful. A stirring epic which refuses to compromise, making it one of the best ﬁlms about Scotland and the Scottish psyche ever made. Edinburgh: Lumiere.
The Rugrats Movie (U) (Norton Virgien/lgor Kovalyov, US, 1998) Voices of: EC. Daily, Christine Cavanaugh, Kath Soucie. 80 mins. The weekly animated adventures of the un-cutesy, irritatineg voiced Pickles family is big among kiddies and adults in the States, but the movie is deﬁnitely more of a junior entertainment. The ﬁlm's message is well intentioned, and it might keep the little ones quiet for a while. Edinburgh: Odeon. Ayr: Odeon. Kilmarnock: Odeon.
Rushmore (15) (Wes Anderson, US, 1999) Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams. 93 mins. Bright, bespectacled and geeky, Max Fischer, scholarship boy at the exclusive Rushmore Academy in Houston, is irritating and endearing in equal measures, while his self-belief is awesome. ln Bill Murray’s self-loathing millionaire steel tycoon, Max ﬁnds a soul mate, but when they both fall in love with the new teacher Miss Cross (Williams), their
friendship turns sour. Wes Anderson’s quirky, original comedy puts most of Hollywood’s recent output to shame. Murray gives his best performance in years, while ﬁlm debutante Schwartzman is simply astonishing. Glasgow: Odeon Quay. Schindler’ s List (15) (Steven Spielberg, US, 1993) Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley. 195 mins. During WW2, German industrialist and Nazi Party member Oskar Schindler saved the lives of over a thousand Jewish employees by demanding they work in his factory rather than be sent to Auschwitz. Spielberg's magniﬁcent movie and Neeson's performance capture this enigmatic brand of heroism, while depicting traumatic events in documentary-like black- and-white images. Psychologically complex, emotionally devastating and artistically impeachable, this is one of the best ﬁlms ever made. Glasgow: Odeon Quay. Solidarity Song (12) (Larry Weinstein, Germany, 1996) in. 84 mins. Documentary portrait of Hanns Eisler, close friend and artistic collaborator of Berthold Brecht. Solidarity Song charts Eisler’s life from his communist days in the Weimar Republic to his disillusionment with the GDR in the 19505. Edinburgh: Lumiere.
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (U) (George Lucas, US, 1999) Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman. 132 mins. On the surface, the plot structure isn't a million light years away from the original Star Wars. in visual terms, The Phantom Menace stands alone in the cinematic universe. At times you’d think there was more animation than live action on screen - and maybe it's this toning down of the human element that has left the ﬁlm lacking soul. General release.
Tea With Mussolini (PG) (Franco Zefﬁrelli, Italy/UK, 1999) Cher, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith. 117 mins. Zefﬁrelli’s ﬁlm is partly autobiographical, partly ﬁctitious, and concerns the effect on his own upbringing and education by a group of English ladies living in Florence at the time of ll Duce's rise to power. This particular brew by Zefferelli and John Mortimer has a melange of flavours and is deftly poured in the most idyllic of settings, yet it seems oddly lacking in zest. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith.
10 Things I Hate About You ( 12) (Oil Junger, US, 1999) Julia Stiles, Joseph
Gordon-Levitt, Heath Ledger. 98 mins. It could have been horrible. But this high school-set reworking of Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew is not only faithful to its source, but is a funny, charming and enjoyable ﬁlm in its own right. Purists may be aghast at the hijacking of such a literary jewel, but ﬁlms like this offer easy access to great stories. Glasgow: ABC, Odeon, Odeon Quay, Showcase, UCl. Edinburgh: UCl. Ayr: Odeon. The Thomas Crown Affair (15) (John McTternan, US, 1999) Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary. 110 mins. Brosnan takes two steps left of his 007 persona to play millionaire playboy Thomas Crown, who turns to art theft to amuse himself. When he lifts a £100 million Monet from a New York museum, he attracts the attention of Russo's insurance investigator. During the ensuing cat and mouse game of wits, emotions get the better of the worthy foes and romance soon threatens both their livelihoods. Only the trite ﬁnal scene blemishes what is otherwise a ﬁne piece of commercial art. See review. General release. The Trystero Short Film Festival During the Fringe but separate from the Film Festival, Bedlam Theatre is screening a selection of short films from around the UK including animation, drama and documentary. The Festival runs 23-28 Aug, 12-30—1.45pm daily. For tickets and programme information phone 0131 466 0796. Please note: the shows are unsuitable for children. Edinburgh: Bedlam Theatre. Venus Beauty (15) (Tonic Marshall, France, 1999) Nathalie Baye, Samuel le Bihan, Bulle Ogier. 105 mins. Despite ruling the roost at Venus Beauty, the local beauty salon, Angele (Baye) is very lonely, so much so that she frequently has one night stands with total strangers. Marshall's warm and perceptive drama dispenses advice in the form of truthful and worldly insights about the nature of l’amour. Glasgow: GFI‘. Waking Ned (PG) (Kirk Jones, UK, 1998) Ian Bannen, David Kelly, Fionnula Flanagan. 91 mins. Actually, Ned’s dead. A shame that, because the old fella just won £7 million playing The Lottery — the discovery of which killed him. However, wily seventysomething pals Jackie and Michael spy a golden opportunity to claim the cash. Charming and eccentric with a deﬁant spirit. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith. West Beirut (15) (Ziad Doueri, France/beanon/Belgium/Norway, 1998) Rami Doueiri, Mohamad Chamas, Rola Al Amin. 105 mins. Doueri’s remarkably accomplished ﬁlm is a deft, unsentimental handling of a delicate subject lesson from history - the destruction of Beirut. When Tarik’s school is closed down by the new Muslim militia in West Beirut in 1975, he and his friend Omar take to roaming the streets with their Super 8 camera and befriending a Christian girl, May, along the way. But Tarik ﬁnds himself in ever more bizarre situations as he unwittingly crosses various danger zones of the city. Glasgow: GFI’. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (PG) (Robert Zemeckis, US, 1988) Bob Hoskins, Joanna Cassidy, Christopher Lloyd. 92 mins. In 1949 LA, the humans live alongside the Toons, cartoon characters working in movies. Animated star Roger Rabbit hires private dick Hoskins to keep tabs on his wife, but he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens the future of Toontown itself. An amazing technical achievement for the interaction of cartoons and live action, this box ofﬁce winner spoofs the ﬁlm noir genre while milking the Tex Avery-style cartoon violence for all it's worth. Glasgow: GFT. Wild Wild West (12) (Barry Sonnenfeld, US, 1999) Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh. 106 mins. Based on a cult 605 American television series, this is, in essence, James Bond transferred to 19th century America with secret agents James West (Smith) and Artemus Gordon (Kline) saving America from Dr Arliss Loveless (Branagh), a Southern States villain who’s never forgiven the North for the loss of his legs and his beloved ante bellum South in the Civil War. Like Smith and Sonnenfeld’s Men In Black, Wild Wild West combines comic banter between its leads with an oddball plot and imaginative special effects. Unfortunately, the result is nowhere near as inspired. General release.