FILM new releases

Late August, Early Se tem er (Fin Aout ut Septembre) (15) 112 mins *~k*

This may be a rather unmemorable film, but don’t let that put you off. It’s one of those movies that triggers discussion immediately after viewing, even though it does not linger in the mind for long thereafter.

The narrative is focused around a small group of friends, each of whom is struggling to adjust to the changes occurring in their lives. Gabriel (Mathieu Amalric), a young writer, is trying to let go of an old relationship with Jenny (Jeanne Balibar) at the same time as being apprehensive about committing to a new one with Anne (Virginie Ledoyen). Meanwhile, his best

Life lessons: Virginie


" \t‘q. U; doyen in Late August. Early September mate Adrien (Francois Cluzet) is dying. Since it deals with the universal theme of change and how people cope with it, this film from Irma Vep director Olivier Assayas is highly accessible. It may be too long and lack a gripping plot structure, but as a vehicle for touching deep emotions it works. The simple and effective presentation of a modest selection of characters dealing with life’s hurdles offers some interesting perspectives on a common theme. The female characters are much less developed than the male, and seem to be there mainly to look pretty, but nevertheless the scenarios presented do offer substantial food for thought for both sexes alike. (Beth Williams) | Edinburgh Filmhouse from Fri 70 Sep.

The Third Man (PG) 100 mins firfikfii

Orson Welles was a man who knew how to make an entrance. From the foggy heath in Jane Eyre to squeezing out of a very small automobile in Touch Of Evil, you could almost hear the sound of a distant drum roll or a cape being swished away from his face. But his own personal opening scene from Carol Reed’s 1949 noir (work out why it’s being re-released), pulped from the Graham Greene novel, is a masterstroke. If you’re not yet aware of the power which can be derived from a shadow, a cat and a brogue, you soon will be. Harry Lime, too, is an archetypal Welles creation detestable

20 TIIE usr 9-23 Sep 1999

Zithering heights: The Third Man

and affable in equal dosage.

In an unstable post-World War II Vienna, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton) seeks out his old chum Lime, who is now in the grand-scale drug-dealing business, only to discover that he is dead. Except he isn’t, of course, and a multi-Iayered cat and mouse scenario is triggered.

So, what’s so good about it? Well, you have a great story, a stirring zither score by Anton Karas, the Ferris wheel and the ’cuckoo clock’ speech - yet possibly its greatest triumph is to cram so much wonder into so little time. Kubrick would have needed about four hours. (Brian Donaldson)

I Edinburgh Filmhouse from Fri 10 Sep. Glasgow GF T from Fri 1 Oct.

Varsrty Blues (15) 105 mins *‘k‘k James Van Der Beek leaves TV’s Dawson’s Creek to play a reluctant sports star in this reasonably uplifting high school football drama set in small-town Texas. Such is the fervour there surrounding the sport, that the game’s heroes quite literally run the town - most conspicuously veteran coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight), whose bullying and cynical practices endanger his own players.

Five games from their 23rd division title, the West Canaan Coyotes lose first-string quarterback Lance Harbor

Glory days: James Van Der Beek in Varsity Blues

(Paul Walker) to injury, thrusting second-stringer Jonathon Moxon (Van Der Beek) into the limelight. Defiantly at odds with Kilmer, Mox would rather concentrate on his grades, but, to the chagrin of his college-minded girlfriend Julie (Amy Smart), and to the delight of team mates Billy Bob (Ron Lester), Tweeder (Scot Caan) and Wendell (Eliel Swinton), Mox inevitably begins to succumb to the pressures and temptations of local superstardom, not least Lance's cheerleader

girlfriend Darcy (Ali Larter).

The action is stylishly covered a la Jerry Maguire, while high points for the high school-minded must be Darcy’s creamy come-on to Mox, and a winning physiology lesson from their biology teacher Miss Davis (Tonie Perensky). Nowhere is director Brian Robbins’s Good Burger humour (or the MTV-drenched soundtrack) more obvious. (John MacKenzie)

I General release from Fri 10 Sep.

The Trench (15) 98 mins *‘k‘k

Nai'veté might be the word. But it cannot capture the innocent ignorance that engulfed the British teenagers who flocked to enlist in World War I. First-time director William Boyd's The Trench traces the demolition of this innocence among a group of front-line volunteers preparing for the infamous Battle of the Somme. As the bloody outcome is well established, plot is secondary, and the narrative focuses on character development. Through the eyes of seventeen-year-old virginal volunteer Billy Macfarlane (EastEnde/s Joe Wicks) the film traces the group dynamic between the teenagers - including young Scottish actors Anthony Strachan and Michael Moreland as the frightening reality of their situation

slowly becomes clear.

Cinematically claustrophobic, the action rarely goes beyond the boundaries of the trench itself, thus capturing the restricted environment of life at the front. Attempting to recreate the period in great detail, meticulous attention has been paid to costume and set. Furthermore, the acting is consciously understated to enhance a greater authenticity. But despite the attempted naturalism, the whole thing looks and feels a little too clean. The closing battle scene is enough to make your blood boil at the foolish and futile loss of young life, but the stylisation seems at odds with the bulk of the film. Nevertheless, worthy stuff.

(Davie Archibald) ' General release from Fri 17 Sep.


Universal Soldier: The


(18) 83 mins

Surprisingly, this is Jean-Claude Van Damme's first sequel and for it he’s chosen his blockbuster hit directed by Roland Emmerich who went on to bigger things with Independence Day and Godzilla. The Return sees Van Damme reprising his role as Luc Deveraux, the government designed cyborg super soldier. Years after fellow UniSol Dolph Lundgren and everyone else from the first film were bumped off, the widowed Deveraux has

Boy with toy: Jean-Claude Van Damme and big gun in Universal Soldier: The Return

become a father and is helping the government develop a new breed of soldier. Unfortunately, the soldiers’ super computer SETH gets ideas of its own and marks

Deveraux for termination.

Sequels are rarely as good as the original and Emmerich is not on board second time around. This is what some of the Stateside reviewers had to say: ’Not a movie for anyone with measurable brain activity. It's essentially one long, drawn- out series of fights and explosions, occasionally interrupted by embarrassingly bad dialogue.’ Or: ’Has all the sick trimmings a lonely boy could want: steroid- enhanced freaks, silicone-enhanced boobs, an enormous body count.’ And: ’If The Return isn’t the dullest, most derivative, unimaginative, noisy, repetitive, mind-numbing and generally imbecilic movie of the year, it isn’t because director Mic Rodgers wasn’t trying hard enough.’ Ouch. (Miles Fielder)

I General release from Fri 17 Sep.