often tortuous delineations of plot. (Tony McKibbin)
I Edinburgh Filmhouse from Mon 30 Aug.
The War Zone
(18) 99 mins **** We played wrfe beaters before, but
nothing prepared me for the feeling of playing a child abuser,‘ says Ray Winstone of his role as another domestic monster in Tim Roth's directing debut. Very little will prepare The War Zone's audiences for this raw, no-holds-barred adaptation of Alexander Stuart's controversial 1989 novel.
Partly it's that Roth’s film is very explicit. But more than that, it’s ambiguous: the characters are painted in shades of grey rather than the more digestable blacks and whites. So the film opens with a nuclear family, Dad (Winstone), Mum (Tilda Swinton), son, Tom (Freddie Cunliffe) and daughter, Jessie (Lara Belmont), plus new baby, setting up a new life in Devon. The family appears to be more or less functional, but 15-year-old Tom begins to suspect dad and Jessie are having sex with each other. And as the film proceeds, we begin to wonder whether there’s more to Tom's accusations than confused adolescence.
The performances are roundly excellent and, particularly in the case of Winstone and Belmont, very brave. Roth and his cinematographer, Seamus McGarvey contrast claustrophobic tension within the walls of the family home with the wild elements outside to great effect. The War Zone is painful, but powerful drama.
(Miles Fielder) I Glasgow GF T and Edinburgh Filmhouse from Fri 17 Sep .
Soundtrack reviews Film soundtracks fall into two major categories: original compositions and compilations. This batch includes mixes of both. Go (*ik‘kik) is a good example of a soundtrack both doing what its title says and mirroring the celluloid. Doug Liman's tri-part tale of Los Angeles slackers partying over a 24-hour period is, mood-wise, alternately dark and dangerous and big and bouncy, and is well represented by the familiar tunes of Massive Attack, Leftfield, Lionrock and Fatboy Slim. Rushmore’s (*****) soundtrack is as oddball-perfect as Wes Anderson's film about romantic rivalry in a Texas private school. Originally to have been
Paris by, night: Catherine Deneuve in Place Venddme
comprised solely of The Kinks's pop tunes, Anderson Opened it out to include other stars of The British - Invasion (i.e. 605 British rock) - The Who, The Faces - as well as Cat Stevens and some lovely, cheesy compositions.
Genghis Blues (**** k) is the stunner. Roko and Adrian Belic's documentary (of the fact being way stranger than fiction variety) about blind blues musician Paul Pena's odyssey from San Francisco to Tuva in the heart of Asia to participate in a throat-singing competition, has produced a soundtrack CD that mixes the two vastly different musical styles - at times on the same track! Fantastic. (Miles Fielder)
The Big Tease (15) 88 mins ***
he American Dream comes to Scotland in this tale of Crawford Mackenzie (Craig Ferguson), a Glaswegian hair-stylist cutting and crimping his way to the top of the hair heirarchy. Shot in mock documentary style, the film follows his endeavours to take on all-comers at the World Freestyle Hairdressing Championships in LA.
But like anyone trying to climb the ladder in the States, they gotta work there ass off to overcome the monumental problems they face; bureaucratic bumph, stonewalling secretaries and badass barbers. With the able assistance of pushy publicist Candy (Frances Fisher), Mackenzie carries on. And he's such a likeable big character that audiences will no doubt be firmly rooting for him.
The Big Tease is a premier league feelgood movie that taps well into Ferguson’s national identity and, no doubt, the abundance of tartanry will go down a treat Stateside. But there is something a bit too Americana about the whole affair. ’Rocky In Curlers' sums it up, except the machismo of Rocky Bilbao is traded in for the gentler gay, but almost virginally asexual Mackenzie. Ferguson turns in a fine central performance, but, following Twin Town, you might have expected something with a bit more bite from director Kevin Allen. (Davie Archibald)
I General release from Fri 27 Aug. See preview.
STAR RATINGS ***** Unmissable kiriri Very ood ﬁnk We a shot H Below average it: You've been warned
Films screening this fortnight are listed below with certificate, credits. brief review and venue details. Film index compiled by Alan Morrison.
The Abyss (12) (James Cameron, US, 1989) Ed Harris, Michael Biehn, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. 140 mins. An estranged couple get caught up in a tense drama on the sea floor in this movie made almost entirely underwater. Though Cameron has opted for a more contemplative exercise in tension, the intertwining of plots leads one to feel that he's crammed too much into the ﬁlm’s length. It may not go down as a great artistic achievement, but it does push back a few boundaries of the possible in movie-making, so it won’t sink without trace. Edinburgh: Cameo.
All About My Mother (15) (Pedro Almodovar, Spain, 1999) Cecilia Roth, Penelope Cruz, Antonia San Juan. 101 mins. Almodovar's new ﬁlm is without a doubt his best to date. When Madrid hospital worker Manuela's son is killed in a car accident the grief-stricken woman sets out to fulfil her son’s last wish to know his father, and goes to Barcelona to ﬁnd the transvestite she ran away from eighteen years earlier. Renowned for his portrayal of strong women, Almodovar pays tribute here to their capacity to act, to mother and to create strong bonds of solidarity in the face of extremities. See review. Glasgow: GFT. Edinburgh: Cameo.
Anastasia (U) (Don Bluth/Gary Goldman, US, 1997) Voices of Meg Ryan, Christopher Lloyd, John Cusack. 94 mins. With this widescreen romantic musical adventure, animator Don Bluth offers a ﬁlm that rivals Disney. Rewriting history somewhat, evil magician Rasputin puts a curse on the Tsar’s family and causes the 1917 Revolution. The child princess Anastasia survives, but grows up as an orphan, unable to remember her past. With extraordinary action sequences, exquisite characterisations and beautiful songs. Paisley: Showcase.
And Life Goes Co (PO) (Abbas Kiorostami, Iran, 1992). 91 mins. This blend of ﬁction and documentary by the master Iranian ﬁlmmaker Kiarostami (director of Through The Olive Trees and Cannes Palme D'Or winner The Taste Of Cherries) follows on from Where Is My Friend '3 House ?. A director leaves Tehran to discover if the actors from the ﬁrst movie have survived an earthquake. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. Another Day In Paradise (18) (Larry Clark, US, 1999) Vincent Kartheiser, James Woods, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Melanie Griffith. 122 mins. Bobbie is a teenager fending for himself in a cruel world of drugs and desperadoes. When an older more experienced criminal, Mel (James Woods), offers Bobbie the chance of escape there isn't another option the teenager can turn to. Clark ‘5 (Kids) keen eye for psychological detail ensures that this is not run-of-the-mill heist/road movie. Glasgow: GFT. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
Antz (PG) (Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson, 1998) The voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman. 83 mins. When worker ant 2-4195 (Allen) meets Princess Bala (Stone), he falls completely in love; but, while trying to prove himself as a soldier, he uncovers a dastardly plan to ﬂood the colony. Anrz is brightly coloured and full of gags, so adults will chuckle while kids are pulled in by the slick computer animation. Glasgow: Showcase. Paisley: Showcase. t'Argent (Money) (12) (Robert Bresson, Switzerland/France, 1983) Christian Patey, Sylvie van den Elsen, Michel Briguet, Caroline Lang. 84 mins. Based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy, Bresson's superbly detached ﬁlm is a moral tale whose subject, quite simply, is evil. Centring on a forged SOD-franc note, the story leads inexorably and paradoxically from innocence to guilt as a young man is slowly driven to murder by an earlier deed undertaken in apparently harmless mischief. Glasgow: GFT.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (12) (Jay Roach, US, 1999) Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Elizabeth Hurley. 96 mins. The Spy Who Shagged Me doesn't
really make any advances in what is surely, by now, a new ﬁlm franchise —Austin Powers 3: Live And Let Shag, Austin Powers 4: The Man With The Golden Mojo, perhaps? - rather, it consolidates its three types of jokery - 60$ kitsch, ﬁlm references and sexual innuendo. General release. Bedrooms And Hallways (15) (Rose Troche, UK, 1999) Kevin McKidd, Tom Hollander, James Purefoy. 96 mins. Like other recent bright and breezy London romantic comedies, these Bedrooms And Hallways are populated by pretty, professional, loved-up or cast-down twenty and thirtysomethings. In this case they also happen to be gay. The ensemble cast works wonders, establishing credible characters within the framework of a classic British farce, which Troche mixes with a more liberated attitude towards sexuality (homo and hetero) coming up trumps. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
Beethoven (U) (Brian Levant, US, 1992) Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt, Dean Jones. 87 mins. A small St Bernard pup escapes from an evil vet and attaches itself to the Newton family. Soon it grows to enormous proportions and begins to wreck domestic havoc. Endless visual gags and good timing, particularly from Grodin, enliven what might have been a run-of-the-mill mutt movie. Glasgow: Grosvenor.
Besieged (PG) (Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy, 1998) Thandie Newton, David Thewlis. 92 mins. Besieged is a revelation. It has a youthful vigour that recalls Bertolucci’s best early work. The only doubt is whether the simple story - about the oddly romantic relationship between music teacher (Thewlis), and his live-in African housekeeper (Newton) - is too slight. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith.
The Big Tease (15) (Kevin Allen, UK, 1999) Craig Ferguson, Francis Fisher, Chris Langham. 88 mins. The American Dream comes to Scotland in this tale of Crawford Mckenzie (Ferguson), a Glaswegian hair- stylist cutting and crimping his way to the top of the hair hierarchy. Shot in semi-mock documentary style, the ﬁlm follows his endeavours to take on all comers at the World Freestyle Hairdressing Championships in LA. The Big Tease is a premier league feelgood movie that taps well into Ferguson’s national identity and, no doubt, the abundance of tartanry will go down a treat Stateside. See preview and review. General release.
Bill Douglas Trilogy (12) (Bill Douglas, UK, 1972) 48/55/. 78 mins. This trio of ﬁlms about a boy growing up in a harsh mining community represents perhaps the peak of Scottish ﬁlmmaking. Bare narrative, stark images, painful memories - the distillation of feeling on screen is as close to poetry as cinema gets. Edinburgh: Lumiere. Black Cat White Cat (15) (Emir Kusturica, Germany/France/Yugoslavia/Austria/Greece, 1998). 129 mins. Crazy ﬁlm from the Yugoslavian director of Arizona Dream and Underground, set within a community of gypsy people and telling a tale of dodgy deals, family ties, young love and magical occurrences. A sensory overload delight. Stirling: MacRobert.
Braveheart (15) (Mel Gibson, US, 1995) Mel Gibson, Patrick McGoohan, Sophie Marceau. 177 mins. Mel Gibson's long and bloody account of the life of Scottish warrior hero William Wallace boasts some remarkable battle scenes and great performances. Aiming to entertain on a wider scale than the more literate Rob Roy, Bravehearr’s Scottish passion is tempered by a few Hollywood moments - touches of sentimentality and 'dramatic' historical inaccuracy. Nevertheless, it's a ﬁne, full- blooded attempt to tap into the spirit that ﬁres Scotland's history and heroes. Edinburgh: Lumiere.
A Bug's Life (U) (John Lasseter, US, 1998) Voices of Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, David Hyde Pierce. 95 mins. The colony of Ant Island is being oppressed by a gang of menacing grasshoppers. When inventive but clumsy worker ant Flik incurs the wrath of gang leader Hopper, he heads off to find help heavyweight help in the battle against his oppressors. Glasgow: UCI. East Kilbride: UCI.
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26 Aug—9 Sep 1999 THE LIST 108