Danquart, Germany, 1998) 97 mins. 1935 in a Black Forest valley where Levi, a cattle dealer, comes once a year to sell livestock and win the heart of his beloved Lisbeth. On this particular year, however, he is met with swastika flags and refusals from the locals to do business with a Jew. Glasgow: GFI‘. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Jungle Book (U) (Zoltan Korda, US, 1942) Sabu. 107 mins. Not the Disney animation, but the live action original classic. Adapted by wolves, the young man cub, Mowgli grows up in the Indian jungle to face the trials including his enemy Shere Khan the tiger and white hunter. Part b&w, part Technicolor and with Oscar-winning special effects. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Kes (PG) (Ken Loach, UK, 1969) David Bradley, Lynne Perric, Colin Welland, Brian Glover. 109 mins. In the run-down industrial north, a young boy learns some harsh lessons about life from the fate of his pet bird. Classic piece of British realism which showed that Loach’s television work could transfer to the big screen. A very humane sense of humour leavens what is in effect a tale of some desolation. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

The King And I (U) (Richard Rich, US, 1999) Ian Richardson, Miranda Richardson, Martin Vidnovic. 87 mins. Animated version of the true story of Anna Leonowens and her experiences as a teacher for the royal family in 19th Century Siam. Great songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein and, being animated, the facility for more active roles to be taken by talking elephants, sentimental chimps and proud panthers. It’s a cracking ride. Ayr: Odeon. Kilmarnock: Odeon. Kingpin (12) (Peter and Bobby Farrelly, US, 1996) Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Bill Murray. 115 mins. Bowling’s golden hope Roy Munson (Harrelson) loses his hand when a hustle goes badly wrong; seventeen years later, he’s an alcoholic sleazebag, but with Amish protege Ishmael (Quaid) by his side, he’s got a chance to win back his self-respect at a competition in Reno. Bad taste humour hits at too many easy targets, and the gag rate isn't as fast as the Farrelly's debut, Dumb And Dumber. Dull, unfunny stuff. St Andrews: New Picture House.

Koyaanisqatsi (U) (Godfrey Reggio, US, 1983) 87 mins. Philip Glass” soundtrack and Ron Fricke's cinematography are the twin pillars of the narrative voice in this first film of Reggio’s ‘qatsi' trilogy. It opens with a single deep red word, some archaic cave drawings and a moumful hum. All of which represents our collective ‘lifc out of balance‘, a translation from the Hopi Indian word ‘koyaanasqatsi’. Perfect filmmaking in harmony with all its creative elements. Edinburgh: Lumiere.

LA Without A Map (15) (Mika Kaurismaki, US, 1999) David Tennant, Vincent Gallo, Julie Delpy. 106 mins. LA Without/t Map has all the elements of an ‘indie’ classic: a cult source novel, star (Johnny Depp) and cult (Warhol performer Joe Dallesandro) cameos, super cool LA all sun-bleached boulevards and advertising billboards - and a suitably wacky story involving a Scots lad working as an undertaker in Bradford, who falls in love with an American actress, follows her to LA, gets married and unwittingly becomes a Hollywood screenwriter. And yet, virtually every scene falls flat. Nevertheless, this is an oddity of the required viewing variety. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

The Last Days (PG) (James Moll, US, 1999) 87 mins. Any Holocaust documentary is inevitably a footnote to Shoah, Claude Lanzmann’s exhaustive 1986 study of guilt and the process of remembering. The Last Days takes a similar approach with its in- depth interviews, but its claim to have captured the truth, to have created a definitive record, is to be regarded with caution. Still, this Oscar-winning first release from Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation adds a further chapter to the dossier of testimonies; that of the Hungarian Jews, who were amongst the last to be rounded up by the Nazis and taken to the camps. See review. Glasgow: Grosvenor. Last Night (15) (Don McKellar, Canada, 1999) Don McKellar, Sandra Oh, David Cronenberg. 94 mins. There are six hours left until the world ends, but there’s no

Bruce Willis blasting asteroids here: Last Night is about real people experiencing real emotions. As their particular brand of anger, grief, wonder or frustration works its way towards a resolution, each character fulfils his or her dream in an against-the-clock scenario. Stirling: MacRobert.

Life Is Beautiful (PG) (Roberto Benigni, Italy, 1998) Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi. 116 mins. A comedy about the Holocaust? Surely not. Well, that's what Italian writer-director-star Benigni has done in fashioning a poignant comic fable about the resilience of the human spirit and the power of the imagination. A humane and moving film. Dunfermline: Carnegie Hall. East Kilbride: East Kilbride Arts Centre. Life (15) (Ted Demme, US, 1999) Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Ned Beatty. 109 mins. Well, it ain't Cool Hand Luke and it ain’t The Shawshank Redemption, but this prison comedy drama is a worthy addition to the genre. The focus is less on the harsh realities of life in a Mississippi State Prison than on the lifetime love-hate relationship between Ray (Murphy) and Claude's (Lawrence) inmates over the course of a 60- year prison sentence. With a pair of committed central performances, Life is never in danger of becoming a mere comedy vehicle. Irvine: Magnum Theatre.

Live Flesh (18) (Pedro Almodovar, Spain, 1997) Javier Bardem, Liberto Rabal, Francesca Neri. 100 mins. Based on 3 Ruth Rendell story, Almodovar’s most rounded attempt to enter the mainstream follows the fate of a wheelchair-bound policeman, the young man responsible for the bullet that put him there, and his wife, with whom the recently released convict is in love. Any message waiting to be read is drowned in the brightest and deepest of cinematographic experiences, and the pleasures here are several. But there‘s a hint that the director has slipped into middle-ground mediocrity. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

Love Letter (15) (Peter Ho-sun Chan, US, 1999) Kate Capshaw, Tom Selleck, Ellen DeGeneres. 87 mins. A familiar kind of story, this romantic comedy of errors has its moments, but they are few and far between, as various characters in a small American town find their lives brightened by a letter they believe was written by a secret admirer. Bookshop owner Helen (Capshaw) wonders if it might have been the hunky fireman (Selleck) who, ironically, is an old flame. Or maybe it’s a young employee (Scott), who has started acting a little oddly. The Love Letter is slight, and deals in roughly drawn characters who merely make up in quirkiness what they lack in depth. Glasgow: Showcase. Edinburgh: UCI.

The Man Who Knew Too Much (15) (Alfred Hitchcock, US, 1956) PG. 120 mins. Not thel934 original with Leslie Banks and Peter Lorre, nor the Bill Murray spoof with the ‘Little’ appendix, but Hitch's remake of his own film with the monumental James Stewart as the doctor on vacation in Marrakech who witnesses a murder and thereafter gets into all kinds of trouble. Glasgow: GFT. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

The Match (15) (Mick Davis, UK, 1999) Max Beesley, Laura Fraser, Richard E. Grant. 96 mins. In a Highland village, Wullie Smith carries the physical and emotional scars of a childhood tragedy. His only way to salvation seems to be through his childhood sweetheart, Rosemary who has returned from the Big City. Or he can manage Benny ’5 Bar football team to glory in their annual clash with Le Bistro, coached by the sleazy Gorgeous Gus. The result of all this is not exactly a tale of the unexpected. Falkirk: F'I'H Cinema. Matilda (PG) (Danny De Vito, US, 1996) Mara Wilson, Danny De Vito, Embeth Davidtz. 98 mins. Capturing the delicious _ wickedness of Roald Dahl’s writing, director De Vito fully exploits exaggeration and playful camera work to tell the tale of a gifted child who uses her super brain to outwit her neglectful parents. Offsetting the loveable Matilda against a series of horribly inflated bad characters, the film’s empowering message for children will appeal to the mischievous kid in everyone. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. Stirling: MacRobert.

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