credulity later, humanity is at the brink of destruction. Along the way there’s enough profanity, perversion and scatology to make Bernard Manning blush - plus an alarming foray into hi-tech animation, and a glimpse of Kenny sans hood. General release.

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.

Stop Making Sense (PG) (Jonathan Demme, US, 1984) 88 mins. There’s plenty of quality in Stop Making Sense, the film of Talking Heads’ 1984 stage show. The songs, the band's original musicians enjoying themselves tremendously and Demme, who has a radar like eye for the little smiles and exchanges between band members. But the element of Stop Making Sense that arrests the attention from beginning to end and makes this film unforgettable is the scintillating, mesmeric David Byme. Glasgow: Odeon Quay. Edinburgh: Cameo.

Strangers On A Train (PG) (Alfred Hitchcock, US, 1951) Farley Granger, Robert Walker. 101 mins. Hitch’s appropriation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, the conceit for which is two strangers getting chatting aboard a long train journey and both admit to people they would like to kill one is joking, the other is deadly serious. With it's climax aboard an out-of-control fairground ride and two superb central performances, this is one of Hitch's best. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Strictly Ballroom (PG) (Baz Luhrrnann, Australia, 1991) Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice, Bill Hunter. 94 mins. Dancefioor hopeful Scott Hastings incurs the wrath of the Australian Dance Federation by using his own steps in competition, loses his partner and his friends, but finds love and artistic integrity with the local wallflower. The ultimate fcelgood movie, it is crammed with colour, glitter, music and spectacle. Glasgow: GFT.

Swingers (15) (Doug Liman, US, 1996) Vince Vaughn, John Favreau, Ron Livingston. 96 mins. A wannabe actor Mike and his pal Trent drive to Vegas to play the tables and pick up some babes. Later, in LA, the boys hang out with their friends, wandering the trendy bars, generally being young, single and without love. Which is just about all there is to Swingers - a heap of talking, the odd homage (Scorsese and Tarantino) and lots of male’ bonding. A highly watchable, very funny and entertaining piece of low-budget filmmaking. Edinburgh: Cameo.

Tango (12) (Carlos Saura, Argentina, 1999) 117 mins. Apart from virtuoso cinematography, you won’t find a great deal more here. Veteran director Carlos Saura has become something of a Hispanic cultural authority after films like Carmen and Flamenco, and he explores a similar theme in a similar way here, clearing the decks of virtually everything else (plot, characterisation, location) for a passionate celebration of the tango tradition. Edinburgh: Lumiere. Kirkcaldy: Adam Smith. Stirling: MacRobert.

Taxi (15) (Gerard Pires, France, 1999) Samy Nacéri, Frédéric Diefenthal, Marion Cotillard. 85 mins. Part of The Martell French Cinema Tour. See preview. Glasgow: Odeon. Edinburgh: Odeon.

The Theory Of Flight (15) (Paul Greengrass, UK, 1999) Kenneth Branagh, Helena Bonham Carter. 100 mins. A real cinematic oddity, by turns entertaining and embarrassing, sarcastic and soft-centred, as it charts the efforts of a disabled and terminally-ill woman to experience sexual intercourse. Struggling, rebellious artist Branagh is sentenced to 120 hours of community service and moves to an isolated farmhouse in Wales. There he attempts to build a primitive flying machine whilst undertaking his first social work job is to look after a young woman (Carter), who is suffering from motor neurone disease. Unfortunately, sentimentality eventually overwhelms the black humour as the script crudely spells out its ideas on ’taking flight’ and 'handicap’ metaphors. See review. Glasgow: Odeon Quay.

The Third Man (PG) (Carol Reed, US/UK, 1949) Joseph Cotton, Orson Welles. 100 mins. Set in an unstable post-World War 11 Vienna, Holly Martins has been invited to the city by his old churn 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-layered cat and mouse scenario is triggered. So, what’s so good about it? Well, you have a stirring zither score by Anton Karas, the ferris wheel and the ’cuckoo clock‘ speech yet possibly it's greatest triumph is to cram so much wonder into so little time. Glasgow: GFT.

The Thomas Crown Affair (15) (John McTieman, 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. The film’s two heist scenes are expertly executed by McTieman, while no less riveting is the interplay between the leads‘. General release. Time Regained (18) (Raoul Ruiz, France, 1999) Catherine Dcneuve, John Malkovich, Emmanuelle Béart. 158 mins. Part of The Martell French Cinema Tour. See preview. Glasgow: Odeon. Edinburgh: Odeon.

The Trench ( 15) (William Boyd, UK, 1999) Paul Nicholls, Daniel Craig, Danny Dyer. 98 mins. Naivete might be the word. But it cannot capture the innocent ignorance that engulfed the British teenagers who flocked to enlist in World War One. Boyd traces the demolition of this innocence amongst 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. The stylisation seems at odds with the bulk of the film. Nevertheless, worthy stuff. Glasgow: Showcase. Edinburgh: UCl. Grecnock: Waterfront. Paisley: Showcase.

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23 Sep—7 on 1999 'l'llEIJST 31